When you first get an ostomy, the world of products available can be a very disorientating and intimidating place. Do I need a ring? What is a flange? I decided to put together a glossary type guide to let you know what everything is, and what may be available that could solve a problem you are having.
ADHESIVE REMOVER SPRAY/WIPES
This is one of the products your stoma nurse should introduce you to. Adhesive remover will help you remove your bag with minimal pulling which should help protect your skin. Most companies offer their own versions of this and you can get it in spray or wipe form.
I find the spray better for removing my bag, but then use an adhesive remover wipe to get rid of the sticky residue left on my skin.
Probably the most obvious product you will need! But whats with all the options? Here is a brief description of the different stoma bags which you can use, which are also called pouches.
- DRAINABLE or CLOSED – This describes the opening at the bottom of the pouch (or lack of one). As a general rule if you have an ileotomy, you will use a drainable or one piece bag. This is because your output is higher and more liquid. The bottom of the bag will unfold and open for you to empty the contents into the toilet. A closed bag is part of a two piece system and is usually used by people with a colostomy. as they have thicker, less frequent output. The bag comes in two pieces. You attach the base-plate to your skin around your stoma and the bag clicks onto this. When the bag is full you take it off the base-plate and pop on a new one.
- CONVEX, CONCAVE or FLAT? – Everyone will generally start with a flat bag, and you should only try a convex or concave bag under direction of your stoma nurse. Convex bags can help with stomas which are flat/flush to the skin or retracted and also if you have uneven skin around your stoma. The concave bags are new and available from Coloplast. They are designed to help fit better over hernias and curves.
- Check out my review of the Salts Confidence BE bags
- Check out my review of the Coloplast Sensura Mio bags
- Check out my review of the Pelican Platinum bags
Barrier rings can also provide a level of convexity, helping with low profile stomas. They can help fill uneven skin and scar areas around the stoma to prevent leaks and protect the skin. Barrier rings are often available in round and oval shapes and can be moulded to fit any size and shape of stoma. They can be applied directly to the skin before you place your bag on, or onto the bag itself before you put it on.
BARRIER SPRAY/WIPES/CREAM/SPONGE APPLICATORS
Another product your stoma nurse should automatically provide you with. Barrier products should be applied after you have cleaned and dried your skin and then allowed to dry before putting on your bag. They not only help protect your skin but will help it heal if it does become sore. There are lots of different options out there and different ones work for different people. It is basically trial and error to find which product and in which form it best protects your skin.
There are so many companies out there offering a whole range of products. What works for one will not work for all so having such a vast choice is great but can be a little overwhelming. Here are as many of the ostomy companies I could think of and links to their websites for you to explore their products and services. Many have stoma nurses and product specialists on hand to talk to you should you require advice and can send out samples so you can try out products before adding them to your prescription.
- SALTS HEALTHCARE (website)
- COLOPLAST (website)
- TRIO (website)
- CONVATEC (website)
- HOLLISTER (website)
- DANSAC (website)
- PELICAN (website)
- WELLAND (website)
- CLINIMED (website)
- EAKIN (website)
- OAKMED (website)
- OPUS HEALTHCARE (website)
- PEAK MEDICAL (website)
- NA’SCENT (website)
Again, there are a large number of delivery companies and your stoma nurse will allocate you one and help you place your first order. You may be contacted by others and can change if you wish but don’t feel pressured to if you are happy with the service you are getting.
- BULLEN (website)
- ALPHAMED (website)
- SALTS MEDILINK (website)
- SECURICARE (website)
- AMCARE (website)
- RESPOND (website)
- CHARTER (website)
- AINSWORTH (website)
- BRUNLEA SURGICAL SUPPLIES (website)
- CLINIDIRECT (website)
- EMERALD PRESCRIPTION SERVICE (B BRAUN) (website)
- FITTLEWORTH (website)
- OAKMED (website)
- PATIENT CHOICE (website)
- MOORLAND (website)
- SELECT (website)
- RAPIDCARE (website)
These are usually a complimentary item offered by the delivery companies. They are used for drying around your stoma to help make sure it is completely dry before applying a new bag.
The filter is part of the ostomy bag. It is designed to help with the build up gas produced by your ostomy, so your bag doesn’t ‘balloon’. Some work better than others!
Respond also offer the EZ Vent which is an air release device designed to be used with any brand of bag. Stephie over at Colitis To Ostomy reviewed the Osto EZ vent here
An alternative to rings and pastes, these can be used to fill creases and folds in the skin around the stoma, where leaks may occur. They can be stacked until the desired depth is achieved. Also an alternative for providing convexity.
The baseplate or flange (I personally hate that word!) is the sticky part of the bag that adheres to your skin around the stoma. Some are oval, some round and some petal shaped, designed to better move with your body. Some also contain things like Vitamin E, designed to help people with sore skin. You can cut your baSeplate to fit your stoma yourself, or ask your delivery company to pre-cut them for you before they deliver them. Ask your stoma nurse to help you measure your stoma correctly before telling them what size you need them cutting to.
Extenders are strips you can place around your bag (usually in two or three pieces) to give you some added security. I use them if the edges of my baseplate sticks up a bit (otherwise I pick and then hate it when it gets fluff from my clothes on. I also use stronger ones when going to the gym or swimming for example.
Check out my review – Stripping Down Baseplate Extenders – Worth The Hype?
Gelling agents can be popped into your bag when you have very loose, liquid output. They help[ thicken the output into a gel like substance, controlling the consistency withouyt needinbg to make dietary changes. Some also claim to help control odour aswell.
HIGH OUTPUT BAGS
These bags are designed for people with extremely high, pure liquid output. They will ned to be ordered by your stoma nurse if you are struggling with this. They are larger in size and have a soft tap on the bottom which can be connected to a collection device.
Pancaking occurs when a vacuum happens in the stoma bag and the output can not drop into the bottom of the bag. Output will collect at the top of the bag, potentially blocking the filter, causing soreness and pushing off the bag causing a leak. Lubrication products help the output slide down to the bottom of the bag, especially good for when your output is thicker. Some also claim to aid with odour.
Odour can be one of the biggest concerns for ostomates and there are lots of products available on prescription and to purchase to help control this. Some work better than others, but different things work for different people so give everything a try and see what you prefer.
Check out my post – Stinky Stanley – Coping With Smelly Output
Ostomy belts work with convex bag systems and help pull these further into the abdomen. This increases the tension and helps prevent leaks. They can be especially useful at night time with frequent rolling and movement in bed.
The Brava Protective Sheet is designed to be an extra protective layer under the base plate. It is skin friendly and also helps provide a smooth surface to apply the bag to. They are available in three different sizes.
See a video on how to use them here
You can test out most items offered by a company by requesting a sample. This is a great way of seeing whether a product suits you before adding it to our prescription. You can call a company to request samples and some may be requested online.
Collars are suitable for all round shaped stomas and help give a stoma more shape and direction, resulting in a better spout. This will help prevent output from coming onto contact with the skin and heading straight into the bag.
Stoma paste is used to fill gaps and creases in the skin around the stoma. It helps provide an even surface to adhere your bag to, helping get a better seal and preventing leaks.
A stoma guard helps protect your stoma and can be held in place by form fitting clothing or a belt.
You can get some support wear on prescription and some you can purchase. They can be used daily but are especially good for if you exercise and use the gym for example, as your stomach will need more support with an ostomy following surgery. Always consult with your stoma nurse/surgeon before returning to any exercise regime to make sure you do not increase your risk of hernias and other issues. They can advise on how to gently get back into workouts. Some companies that offer support wear include
- RESPOND HILINE (website)
- COMFIZZ (website)
- VANILLA BLUSH (website)
- SALTS (website)
- PELICAN (website)
- CUI WEAR (website)
- O BELTS (website)
- SUPPORTX (website)
- WHITE ROSE COLLECTION (website)
- TYTEX (website)
UROSTOMY NIGHT BAG
A night drainage bag is available for urostomates to help them get an undisturbed and restful nights sleep. The bags are attached to the urostomy pouch and collect the urine while you sleep.
Find out more about urostomies over at Rocking 2 Stomas
Another complimentary item provided by stoma delivery companies. These are fragrance and nasties free, so you can clean the stoma and surrounding skin when doing a bag change.
I hope this has been really helpful in explaining some of the products and services available. It will not be an exhaustive list, although I have added as much as I can. Please let me know in the comments if you know anymore! This is also a UK list (although some of the companies are active in other countries) as a worldwide one would just be MILES long! Hope you all have a fantastic week,