The A to Z Of Stoma Products

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.

BAGS/POUCHES

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.

BARRIER RINGS

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.

COMPANIES

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.

DELIVERY COMPANIES

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.

DRY WIPES

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.

FILTER

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!

Osto EZ Vent

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

WEDGES

Peak Medical

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.

FLANGE/BASEPLATE EXTENDERS

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

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.

LUBRICATION

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 ELIMINATORS

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 BELT

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.

PROTECTIVE SHEETS

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

SAMPLES

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.

STOMA COLLAR

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

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.

STOMA GUARD

A stoma guard helps protect your stoma and can be held in place by form fitting clothing or a belt.

SUPPORT WEAR

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

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

WET WIPES

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,

Ordering Stoma Supplies

I recently saw a post on Facebook with a lady saying she had finally got around to sorting and organising her stoma supplies.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t the  tidiness that caught my eye – but the sheer amount of products she had stockpiled.  Me and Ste both have ostomies and have nowhere near that amount and I thought I would address why and how we manage our supplies in this post.

My Delivery Company – Bullen

I get my stoma supplies delivered from Bullen.  I have previously written a review on them so won’t go on too much, but find them fantastic!  You can check out my review here

Bullen call me every month so I can place an order.  Sometimes I ask for an extra 2-4 weeks till I order if I have plenty of stock.  They are brilliant and don’t ever forget to call which means I don’t run out.  This definitely takes the pressure off me trying to remember, which is good as I have a memory like a sieve!

How Often and What I Order

So I place an order roughly every 1-2 months.  I normally get two boxes of bags – I use Salts Confidence BE bags and order whichever two colours I am short of.  I change my bag almost every day and get thirty in a box.  I will then order three packs of wet and three packs of dry wipes which are supplied by Bullen.  I get two or three (depending on my stock) each of adhesive remover spray and barrier spray.  I use the Salts adhesive remover and the Trio barrier spray.  I also order a box of the Trio adhesive remover wipes as find this is good to remove any sticky residue when I take off my bag,.  I will also order two or three packs of the Trio baseplate extenders.  There are twenty in a packet so there are ten uses in each as you use two.  I don’t use these every day and so order as and when needed.  I also occasionally use the Brava ostomy powder but I literally only need to get one every siz months roughly as they last ages!  That was one of the things that stood out to me in the Facebook post I mentioned at the start of this post – the lady had about 15 bottles of this which would take years to use, even if you use it every day!  I also get a pack of disposable rubbish bags from Bullens.

I am very grateful for the NHS who supply my ostomy products and feel this system should not be abused.  Over ordering happens so often in the ostomy community and it is something ostomates need to be aware of.  With so many cuts happening we need to ensuyre that this can stay in place, so ordering just the items we need is very important.  I always suggest having a little spare stock, just in case your delivery is delayed for a little while which could be due to a number of reasons (holiday, snowy weather, prescription issues etc).  But please don’t be stockpiling years worth of products – so much can change including the products we use and I hate to see things going to waste.

OstoBuddy App

The OstoBuddy app is an app designed for ostomates to help them monitor their ostomy and supplies.

Check out the OstoBuddy website for links to download on Apple App Store and Google Play

There are sections in the app to document your supplies so you can keep track of the stock you have.  You can enter when you have used products so it is easy to see when you need to re-order and what you need to re-order.  You can also track your output and remind yourself of when you last did a bag change.

It’s so good and helps remind me when I need to change my bag and how many I’ve left.  You can add photos to it to track your skin if it is sore.  You can write down little notes on it too.  The new version that is out now lets you track your output, it’s consistency and the amount.  My memory is awful and this app is amazing and helps me remember when it is time to change my bag, how many bags I have left and when it’s time to order.

Lisa

This is definitely worth a try if you struggle to keep track of your stock and it is free to download.  

Christmas Order Date

Last but not least I wanted to share the final dates to order your stoma supplies to guarantee delivery before Christmas.

Trio Ostomy Care – Wednesday 19th December (UK only)

Coloplast Charter – Friday 7th December

CliniMed & SecuriCare – Friday 14th December

Medilink – Friday 14th December

Bullen – Wednesday 12th December (stoma producst/medication orders) and Monday 17th December (stoma products only)

Respond – Monday 17th December

Pelican – – Wednesday 19th December

I hope this has been helpful and gives you an idea of how to go about ordering your supplies. Please feel free to message or comment if you would like help with anything I have mentioned above and don’t forget to get your Christmas orders in ASAP!

Handy Hacks For People With Arthritis

Good morning all, happy hump day!  I have been planning this post for a little while as wanted to share a few of the products I have found which make life a little easier when you have arthritis.  I really hope you enjoy a read and the things I use help some of you too.

This post has been kindly sponsored by Millercare, who provide living and disability aids to help those with disabilities, chronic illness and mental health achieve the best quality of life they can.

Kitchen Chopper

I have mentioned my chopper before but I couldn’t be without this little gadget.  I struggle with arthritis in my hands – wrists, thumbs and fingers.  When trying to use a knife my hand often seizes, meaning it stiffens up and is very painful until it ‘clicks’ back out.  Trying to finely chop things like onions and garlic when cooking can be really difficult due to this.  With this however, I only have to slice my onion and then let this do the fine work.  I bought mine many years ago but have seen them recently on sale in Asda and I am sure places like Amazon will have them too.

Weeding Tool

roundup

 

I was sent this to try from the lovely people at Roundup and it has been a blessing to use while trying to sort my garden out.  Bending down is a real struggle but with this I am able to stay standing while de-weeding my garden following the months of winter neglect.  The Roundup Gel simply attaches to the extendable tool and dispenses with a click.   The handle is extendable to suit everyone and to help reach near and far.  The wand has a RPP of £22.99 including the Total Gel.

Pen Grips

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I have purchased two different types of these from Amazon.  Both arrived really quickly and were inexpensive.  I often like to use chunky pens as find them easier to grip but also struggle with calluses on my ring finger because of the dodgy way I hold my pen.  These have helped turn my ordinary BIC pens into chunkier versions which are easier to hold and they are super soft meaning no more calluses and blisters!  Win win!  There are different shapes and materials available so it might be a bit of trial and error to find out what works for you and which you find comfiest, but they are well worth it!  I used to use these in school and they really helpful when writing in any capacity.

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Stick on Heat Pads/Hot Water Bottle/Warming Bags

Ste often grabs the stick on heat pads from Poundland.  They are really handy, cheap and most of the time work well on tired and aching joints.  I find my hot water bottle and heated microwave pad really helpful too, and when at home are just as easy to use.

wheat bag

Millercare have the Lavender Scented Wheat Bag on their site, which is similar to mine (without the Unicorn cover mine has).  It is a great shape and can be used on all different areas of the body.  Click here to find out more

One Cup Kettle

A purchase that wasn’t intended to be handy but it really is.  I no longer have to pick up a heavy kettle when I make myself a drink, and I save on electricity!  These types of kettle are great for those that struggle with grip and lifting heavy objects like me.  Just a click of the button and it dispenses the perfect amount of water for my cuppa with no hassle.  Rather than picking it up to fill it, I use a jug with a smaller amount of water in and do two or three trips to fill it up.

Perching Stool

My perching stool is used in so many different ways!  Currently it is upstairs, as I use it in the bathroom and when getting ready in the morning to sit on.  I have also previously used it downstairs in the kitchen when cooking/preparing food and while doing the ironing.  If, like me, you will be using it in multiple areas of the house I suggest getting two, so you don’t have to keep moving one around.  I have the one with arms as it makes it easier for me to stand up from.

Check out Perching Stools at Millercare

Iron With Separate Steam Chamber

I bought my iron in the sale and it also wasn’t purchased with this handy intention but it has been extremely useful.  Rather than filling the iron with water which makes it heavier and more difficult to use with my wrists, hands and elbows being bad, I fill the base unit.  This means the iron still produces steam and does everything it needs to do but is easier and lighter to use.  These irons often aren’t cheap but as I said, I got mine in the sale so if you keep your eye out it is possible to grab a bargain!

Bath Boards

I have had these for years, since being a child at home in fact.  They are an invaluable help for getting in and out the bath.  I often shower now as it is easier, and use my bath board to sit on if needed.

Millercare have a wide range of different options from seats for in the bath as well as those which go over the bath.  Have a look here

Stair Basket

This is a trick I learnt a couple of years ago and can’t for the life of me remember where from!  I keep a small basket/bucket at the bottom of my stairs and if I have anything I need to go upstairs, I place it in there.  Once it is full, or I am heading upstairs anyway, I take it with me.  Saves multiple trips up and down the stairs every day!

Electric Tin Opener

Another handy kitchen gadget.  I really struggle with tin openers, they just don;t like to work for me (I swear it’s them, not me).  My electric tin opener was a cheap purchase which has saved me many tears over the years!

Long Handled Toe Nail Scissors

When I looked through the Millercare website I found a product I didn’t know existed but has made me extremely happy!  One job I struggle with immensely is cutting my toe nails.  I often go and get a pedicure just to have my nails sorted out and nail polish neatly applied.  Trying to cut them with clippers myself ends up with a messy hack job at best and a blood bath and sore toes for days at worst.  I am going to give these long handled scissors a go and give my poor feet the pampering they deserve!

long handle

Long Handled Nail Scissors

DenTek Teeth Flossers

I got sent these to try out and what a brilliant invention they are!  My dentist is always telling me I need to floss but I just can’t get my hands to work properly to hold the string, get it in my mouth and do the job intended.  These are super easy to hold and make the job a million times easier for me!  They also do kids ones which are bright and colourful and really good to encourage healthy habits early on.

So that is my round up of a few things I use to make my life with arthritis a little easier.  I hope you enjoyed reading and that some of you have found something that may help you.  Please let me know your handy hacks in the comments beliow, I am always on the look out for things to make life that little bit easier!  Ciao for now!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

 

Stripping Down Baseplate Extenders – Worth The Hype?

So any one who follows me on Instagram and Facebook will have seen my sore skin photo caused by my use of the Brava Elastic Tape Extenders. If not here is what happened to my skin after wearing them for three days.

nor

My skin was weeping, extremely dry and bleeding in places, I even had some blisters form. I generally only use these every once in a while when I want some extra support, when swimming for example, and never had this issue from a one off use.

After my review of the Salts Confidence BE I have now swapped to them full time from the previous Salts bag I was using. No longer needing the Brava Protective Sheet under my bag saves a lot of time but I do find that on these bags, when the edges peel up a little the glue dries really hard and can become irritating. So I started using baseplate extenders just to keep it stuck down and solve this problem.

After my skin got in such a state I thought I had to change from my favourite Brava ones. Not only do these make me feel extra secure but they are great when you leak, giving you some vital extra time to get somewhere and clean up. I was pretty gutted and rather grumpy and sore.

So I set about searching out some samples and was recommended Salts, Pelican, Trio and Convatec ones. I have now tried them all so thought I would share my views on them with you.

BRAVA

 

PROS

  • They are comfy to wear
  • Very supportive and definitely give you extra confidence when doing more active things like swimming
  • Give you extra time when having a leak, I can spot it coming but the extender helps hold the output at bay so it doesn’t end up all over you
  • Come in different shapes – Y, curved and straight

CONS

  • Difficult to remove, even with lots of adhesive remover
  • Skin irritation, obviously this may not happen to everyone but I was very sore from them

Order your samples from the Brava website

TRIO

trio

Pros

  • See through, not noticeable when wearing
  • Very thin and flexible so you don’t feel them
  • Half circle shapes so two go round the bag nicely
  • Easy to remove

Cons

  • They peel up after a shower but I have found I can take them off easily and replace without affecting the bag. I change my bag after a shower every day anyway, but someone who wears a bag for two or more days may want this information!
  • They don’t give any extra protection when you leak, the output seeps straight underneath them

mde

Trio Baseplate Extender post shower – note the wrinkling, although they were easy enough to remove and replace

To order your samples check out the Trio website 

PELICAN

 

Pros

  • Petal shaped like the Salts bags which give greater flexibility
  • Sample came really quickly, the day after I ordered them. Very impressive
  • They felt much securer, almost like the Brava Elastic Taoe

Cons

  • More noticeable than the Trio ones, especially with my new coloured bags
  • Peeled at the edges a little on occasion but would stick back down

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Salts Confidence BE Bag with Pelican Contour Flange Extender

To find out more and order your samples check out the Pelican Healthcare website

Convatec

I wish I could say something nicer about these but no. I will never use them again. Sorry!

 

Pros

  • Contain Manuka honey so may be good for those with problem skin

Cons

  • Very brown in colour so stood out on my skin very noticeably
  • Uncomfortable on the skin
  • They seemed to dry up and after only having them on 24 hours, when I went to change my bag they were literally cracking as I pulled them off. Came off in pieces

I was unable to find a link to order samples of these so they may have been discontinued but you are probably better off trying the others anyway!

Salts

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Pros

  • Comfortable on the skin
  • Contains Aloe so good for problem skin
  • Good for if you want to stick down one section of the baseplate as are smaller than other extenders

Cons

  • You have to use three rather than two to make them fit around your whole baseplate (and I use Salts bags). This is a bit faffy but I suppose handy if you just want to anchor down one section of your baseplate
  • Not the greatest adhesive, they lifted easily

Order your sample from the Salts website

The Verdict

Overall I’ve really enjoyed testing these out, even though some haven’t worked out so well. Everyone’s skin is different and we ostomates know that we all have our personal favourite products. You may like some of those that I didn’t so much on here and that’s ok, we are all different. But if you are looking at trying some of these or need to switch from your current product, I hope this has given you a good idea of what’s out there. All the ostomy companies offer samples so that’s a great place to start with trying them and I have included all the links to their websites so you can order these if you want to give them a go.

For now I’m sticking with the Trio ones on a daily basis and will either use up my Brava ones when I need the extra support as one off uses before have seemed ok. I think if my skin reacted the same way again though, I would probably go for the Pelican ones. Which ones do you use? Let me know in the comments below!

BlogMas Day Eight – Unboxing Stoma Supplies (video)

So thought I would mix it up a little bit and make a video instead of a written post for you all!  The link is

And I hope you all enjoy it!  Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to see more videos from me and please feel free to ask any questions in the comments or by messaging the page

Happy Friday to you all xx