Red and irritated skin is not a normal part of having an ostomy. Ideally, your ostomy appliance should fit well and you should have healthy happy skin under and around your ostomy. If your skin is damaged, it is a great idea to contact a professional. The best place to go when you have a problem with your ostomy is of course your WOC nurse and your medical team. They are familiar with your individual challenges and can tailor a treatment that is perfect for you. The most important thing is, don't settle for painful and irritated skin! There is a solution out there and I hope you can find the best one for you!
There are many things that can cause skin problems around your ostomy. Some of the common culprits are: leakage of stomal discharge, wearing the wrong barrier or flange size, sensitivity to a product that was used, and frequent ostomy pouch changes. Personally, I think that a "Cut to Fit" ostomy pouch can be very helpful for a lot of ostomates. Our bodies aren't uniform and your stoma is not factory made. Your stoma is a unique part of you and it will change in size and shape after your initial surgery and it can also change whenever you gain or lose weight. The "Cut to Fit" ostomy bag style can be cut to fit perfectly, even if your stoma is not centered or if it is oval.
When you are wearing your ostomy bag and you feel burning, tingling, tightening, itchiness, or any kind of discomfort, do not ignore it! Check your skin as soon as you can, look around and under the flange. The best way to treat skin problems around your stoma is to catch it early!
Some tips for treating redness and irritated skin with Stoma Powder:
- Apply stoma powder to clean dry skin. Do not use harsh soaps or products with perfumes.
- Apply a light dusting of the powder to red and irritated skin. Gently brush off excess powder with a soft clean cloth.
- Gently dap a skin prep OVER the powdered area, this seals the powder in place and promotes healing.
- Baby powder is not the same thing as Stoma Powder. Baby powder can interfere with pouch adhesion and it will not absorb moisture as well as stoma powder.
- If there is no improvement, contact your WOC nurse he or she can help you troubleshoot the irritation and hopefully find another solution.
- Never give up! You deserve healthy happy skin!