With so many products available for ostomy care, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The basic ostomy care necessities are ostomy wafers (skin barriers) and pouches. All other extra supplies are referred to as accessories.
We have chosen a few of the most common ostomy supplies and accessories for review: pouching systems, pouch support, stoma paste, skin barriers, skin protectors, and pouch deodorants.
This product guide covers:
Pouch Support Items
Barrier Rings and Seals
Odor Control Products
When Do You Need Ostomy Accessories?
While most ostomy care accessories are not necessary, they may enhance care for many.
Ostomy supplies and accessories can help ensure a secure seal. Some people may not need ostomy supplies, as they already have a great seal between the barrier and their skin. For others, however, this may present a challenge.
Ostomy accessories typically aim to further protect the stoma, secure a tight seal, and keep the skin around the stoma separate from bodily waste. Ostomy accessories are often chosen when users want a discreet, simple, and secure option.
You may choose to purchase an ostomy accessory if you notice leakage or if the skin around your stoma is red or irritated. Other reasons to opt for an accessory include a retracted stoma, open areas of skin around that area, or if you notice that the barrier does not adhere tightly to your skin.
The benefits of ostomy care accessories are determined by each individual and their personal needs.
What Are the Different Types of Ostomy Supplies?
The first step of taking care of your ostomy is to know and understand the different types of ostomy supplies, how they work, and the proper ways to use them. The biggest providers of ostomy accessories are Hollister, Coloplast, and ConvaTec.
Choosing the right ostomy bag depends on a number of factors, including the type of ostomy you have, as well as your personal needs and preferences.
An ostomy pouching system is used to collect bodily waste from a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy. It also protects the skin around the stoma (artificial opening) and helps to keep the ostomy pouch in place. The two main types of pouching systems are one-piece and two piece, but both include a skin barrier and a pouch.
In one-piece systems, the wafer is permanently attached to the pouch. One-piece pouches are generally easier for people with bad eyesight, arthritis, or conditions that require hand strength and dexterity.
With two-piece systems, the skin barrier and the pouch are two separate units (usually connected by a coupling system). A two-piece option reduces skin irritation by allowing users to replace their ostomy pouch without changing their barrier. Two-piece pouching systems are slightly more visible under clothing than one-piece pouches.
Different factors (such as the construction of your stoma and surrounding skin area) may have an impact on the security of your pouching system. Pouch support – also called support belts – attach to the wafer and ensure that the bag stays in place. Though they aren’t necessary, they can provide additional abdominal support and increase the feeling of security.
A belt may be needed if your wafer/flange is not tightly-sealed to the skin and you experience consistent leakage. The ostomy belt will snugly affix the pouching system to your abdomen, preventing the borders of the wafer from lifting.
Ostomy belts are beneficial for people who have hernia, as well as people who actively participate in sports.
Manufacturers like Coloplast, Convatec, and Hollister provide a range of pouch support belts available in three different sizes: small, medium, and large. It is important to choose the correct size, as wearing a too-tight ostomy belt may cause skin issues such as irritation and ulcers.
Stoma paste helps to create a better seal between the wafer (skin barrier) and the stoma. The paste fills in unevenness around the stoma, resulting in a more consistent and flat surface.
Stoma pastes typically come in squeezable tubes or strips. The product can be applied either to the wafer or around the stoma. To remove the paste, you can use an adhesive remover wipe, or simply warm water and a cloth.
Barrier Rings and Seals
Barrier rings and seals prevent ostomy leaks by filling in any gaps between the wafer and the stoma. Barrier rings are placed around the stoma before applying the wafer. Alternatively, you could attach the ring directly to the wafer. These rings should be applied to clean, dry skin.
There is a wide variety of barrier rings and seals available that come in different sizes and can easily be adjusted to fit the stoma.
Some of the most common skin protecting products include skin barrier film and wipes, adhesive wipes, and skin prep sprays.
Skin barrier wipes provide a thin layer of protection between the skin and adhesive of the pouching system. These wipes are often useful for people with sensitive or fragile skin (e.g. steroid users or the elderly). Adhesive wipes are another type of ostomy skin protector. While they are not required, they can help to remove adhesive buildup gathered around the edge of the wafer (skin barrier).
Depending on your personal preferences, you may choose to use a wipe or a spray. Skin prep sprays (such as the one offered by Smith and Nephew) help to protect sensitive skin while enhancing the tape adhesion.
Skin prep can keep your ostomy bag adhered and help skin heal from issues like irritation, redness, or sores. Skin prep should be applied on clean, dry skin. Be sure to clean the area with unscented, oil-free products, as this may interfere with your adhesives.
Ostomy deodorizing products are designed to eliminate odors. Though they are often found in bottles, they may also come in drops or tablets (like Parthenon’s chewable tablets). Odors should come from your (sealed) ostomy bag only when changing appliances or emptying the bag. Odors at any other time may indicate leakage or a problem with an ostomy appliance.
Ostomy pouch deodorants break down odors from inside the ostomy bag. Some deodorants are scented, but odorless products that kill odor-producing bacteria are also available.
Lubricating deodorants are intended to prevent stool from becoming stuck at the top part of the ostomy pouch (pancaking). Lubricating products make draining the pouch easier.
Ostomy bag deodorants are typically used by adding a few drops into the pouch every time you change and/or empty it. Each manufacturer will provide a guide for the quantities you are recommended to use.
Choosing Your Ostomy Care Supplies
While living with ostomy may be challenging at times, good ostomy care guidance and knowledge will provide a healthier, easier life.
Ostomy supplies and accessories are meant to make living with ostomy more secure and simple. Your ostomy care products will impact you every day, so it’s important to choose supplies and accessories based on your own unique needs.