Ostomy 101 – How I Keep The Skin Around My Stoma Healthy

One issue that many people struggle with is keeping the skin around their stoma happy and healthy. Constantly being covered and having an adhesive baseplate put on and ripped off regularly can create a number of skin issues for ostomates.

I am very lucky to have never experienced any particularly serious infections or skin problems which some people can. This advice is general and not for if you have anything more serious going on with your skin. I am not medically trained and these tips are just things I have picked up through experience. Please always consult your doctor or stoma nurse if you need any more specialist advice or have an issue!

How I Keep My Peristomal Skin Healthy

  • ALWAYS use adhesive remover

Ripping off your baseplate is bound to irritate the skin and it is something we have to do over and over again. Using an adhesive remover to help remove your bag will make the process much gentler. I choose to use a spray as find it easier to remove with my bag with as opposed to a wipe but most companies offer both sprays and wipes so see what works best for you and which you prefer

  • Barrier spray

Another essential item when it comes to my bag routine – I will never put a bag on without using a barrier product. I again use a spray, but there are also wipes and sponge applicator stick versions available.

I feel that barrier spray is even more of a unique to you product than an adhesive remover is. You will need to try out as many as you can – most companies are happy to send out samples – to see what suits your skin and what works best with your bag. A barrier product does exactly what it says on the tin – helps create a barrier between your bag and skin to keep it protected and healthy.

  • Bag free showers

The highlight of my day is getting to take off my bag and jump in the shower! If I have a bath I will leave my bag on as Stanley is far too active to trust in there, but I love the feeling of a bag-free shower. Any output that does come out just washes down the plughole and with one in 30 people claiming to poop in the shower the ‘normal’ way – I feel like we can give ourselves the break!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Giving your peristomal skin some time without a bag on and get some air to it is amazing and will really help your skin. I just let the shower spray the skin and don’t use any products on my stoma itself or the skin around it, just the clean water. If your stoma is less active, it can also be great to take a little time before popping your new bag on so it can get some air.

  • Adhesive remover wipes

I use an adhesive remover spray to remove my bag but also order adhesive remover wipes to help get the sticky residue sometimes left by the bags adhesive on my skin after taking a bag off. I found that using wipes left my skin sorer as I was having to scrub and almost pick the residue off, whereas a quick wipe round with the adhesive remover wipes gets it off easily with no scrubbing needed!

I then clean my skin really well with at least a couple of wipes to ensure I have removed all the adhesive remover, as this could affect the adhesion of your new bag if left on the skin!

  • Don’t ignore the itch

Everyone with an ostomy will know that feeling. That itch that starts to creep at the side of your stoma that indicates you may be starting to leak. Don’t ignore this feeling as the longer you have output in contact with your skin, the worse damage it can cause. Our output is much more acidic than usual stool and will burn the skin when left in contact with it! Get to a bathroom and change your bag as soon as you can!

  • Know your skin

Getting used to your stoma and bag routine is one of the most important first steps after surgery. Not every bag or product suits every ostomate, so take advantage of the samples that companies will send out for free to find out what works best for you.

Check out my post – The A To Z Of Stoma Products – for a list of products and company websites you can visit to order samples!

These are a few, simple tips that you can use to help your peristomal skin stay healthy but I hope you find it helpful! Healthy and happy skin is more comfortable for you and makes bag adhesion so much easier, so taking good care of your skin is so important! Do you have any tips to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below! Take care and enjoy the sunshine,

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