Please note – this post talks about ostomy output (poo) and there are some photos showing it.
Happy pancake day! This is one of my favourite days of the year – I love pancakes! Unfortunately, pancaking for an ostomate can mean something very different…. so I thought today was the perfect day to share some tips on how to avoid it!
What Is Pancaking?
Pancaking can happen to both people with an ileostomy like me, or a colostomy. A vacuum occurs in the bag which means the bag sticks together. The ostomy output is unable to fall to the bottom of the bag, causing it to sit around the stoma. This can cause soreness and is also a major cause of bag leaks.
What Causes Pancaking?
A colostomy output is thicker than that from an ileostomy so it tends to pancake more often.
Tight clothing around your bag can prevent output from sliding down the bag, causing it to pancake. This can also happen if you are wearing some form of support belt.
Filter working ‘too well’
If your bag filter works a bit too well it can remove all the air from your bag causing it to pancake!
What Can I Do To Stop This?
Watch what you wear
Obviously looser clothes will not restrict the output from moving down your bag. If tighter clothes such as jeans are causing an issue, size up or go for jeggings as these have a little more stretch to them but still look like jeans.
Use a lubricant
There are a few on the market and I think one of the most popular I have seen is the Brava one. Some people also use baby oil or similar, but you have to be careful that these don’t irritate your stoma or skin and don’t compromise the adhesive of your base-plate.
Cover the filter
If your problem seems to be because your filter is too effective you can use the stickers that come in your box of bags to cover the filter.
Dehydration can be one cause of thicker output, so ensure you are drinking enough. Ostomates are advised to drink around 2.5l of fluid a day – about half a litre more than the average person. This is obviously person-dependent and some people may need more than this.
Take a laxative
If thick output is a regular issue for you, you may want to try a laxative. This should always be done on the advice of your stoma nurse or doctor, so speak to them about it if you think it might help.
Change your bag
It may be that the type of bag you use isn’t right for you. There may be one which suits you better with different materials, shapes and sizes available. Most companies will happily send you some sample bags to try if you want to.
Rinse out your bag
This is a tip I learnt from Bag Daddy Steve! If you have had some pancaking that hasn’t caused a leak but does feel a little irritating around your stoma – give it a rinse. I can’t describe the amazing feeling of the cool water swishing around your stoma and the relief you get! When you empty your bag, open toe spout pour some water in and ‘swish’ it around the bag and stoma to clear away any output which may be stuck around it.
Don’t be scared to squash your output down your bag manually – this is especially helpful if you notice it happening due to tighter fitting clothes during the day.
Watch your diet
You may find certain foods that affect your output and thicken it up. Avoiding these could reduce the risk of pancaking occurring. You should also try increasing your vegetable intake if your output is often thick. The insoluble fibre in these will help and is why people with constipation are always advised to eat more veggies!
Put some air in the bag
You can try inflating the bag a little before you close the spout. Some people also pop a little tissue in their bag to keep the bag from creating a vacuum.
I hope these tips will help you if you re struggling with this at the mon=ent. If you have found anything else that heps pleaseadd it to the comments so we can all see it! I do hope your pancake day is full of pancakes… just the sweet ines we love to eat/1
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