tle: Tips for managing Ostomy

The skin around one’s stoma should look similar to the skin anywhere else on the abdomen, but ostomy output can make that skin tender or sore. There are many ways to keep that skin healthy. 

One involves using the proper size pouch and barrier opening. Too small of an opening can hurt the stoma and make it swell; too large of one may irritate it. If this is happening, it’s important to replace it with the right fitting. Pouching systems should be changed regularly, so schedule changes before you experience problems like itching or burning. Unless there is a problem, one should not remove their pouching system more than once a day, and they should always be careful when pulling the system from the skin. Simply push the skin away from the skin barrier rather than pulling it. Always clean the skin around the stoma with water, and dry it thoroughly before putting on a skin barrier or a pouch.

There can be sensitivities and allergies to the many components having to do with stomas. Whether that be a reaction to the adhesive, barrier, paste, tape, or pouch, these responses can occur after weeks, months, or even years. In some cases, it can be as simple as trying out different pouch covers or brands of pouches. Ask your stoma nurse for ideas. Be sure to test many different products to watch how your skin reacts, and know that you can also make your own pouch. 

Some with stomas practice colostomy irrigation, which involves putting water into the colon through the stoma to normalize bowel movements. The practice has been used for a number of years, but less so now thanks to the improvement in pouch systems.

Talk to a doctor before deciding to try irrigation. The choice to irrigate depends on factors such as lifelong bowel habits, activity level, skill and comfort level with irrigation, and personal feelings about the colostomy. 

If you do decide to irrigate, here are some tips. Use the time of day during which you had bowel movements most often before the colostomy. Watch for a squirt of gas to know that the irrigation process is complete and know that it won’t often take longer than an hour. If it does, bring it up with your doctor or nurse. 

One must change the pouching system at regular intervals. Depending on the pouch, you may want to change yours out every day, three days, or once a week. It may help to change the pouch out during periods of low bowel activity. 

It’s important that the pouching system stick to the skin and that it’s changed before loosening or leaking. The stickiness of a pouch depends on many things such as the weather, skin condition, scars, weight changes, diet, activity, and body shape. 

Stomas are not harmed by water and soap, but soap can interfere with the skin barrier. Due to unwanted fecal output, removing the pouch for a bath or shower is not recommended. 

It may sound odd, but spots of blood on the stoma are not a cause for alarm. Cleaning around the stoma during pouch changes can cause slight bleeding. 

All You Need To Know About IIeostomy Absorbent Gel Packets

When suffering from Ileostomy, absorbent gel packets are essential. The Absorbent Ileostomy Gel Packs transform the liquid output into a uniform gel. The small packet helps in the dissolution process to avoid opening them up. You only need to put the packet into your unsoiled ostomy pouch. Once the gel pack gets into contact with the liquid output, it affects the output to transform into a gel. As a result, this affects the stoma bag to easily drain to support the output at the bottom of your bag.

In case of a spilling output inside your stoma bag risks of leaking is higher since the bag becomes clogged with your sieves. Therefore absorbent gel packs help fight the leaks by dissolving quickly and forming uniform stability. Gel packets support the output at the bottom of the ostomy bag, drawing it away from the flange and barrier, which enables a faster wear period. Having the gel packs prevents the barrier ring come into contact with liquid slowing down the erosion period.

Are you looking forward to purchasing an absorbent gel? You should understand that absorbent gel for ostomies is also present in a non-packet scoopable formula that is not in pre-measured packets. The absorption grains come in a jar, and it is always recommendable you stick to the given directions to place the granules in your pouch yourself. Absorbent gel packets and absorption grains only differ in their packaging but similarly, serve the same purpose. However, the packless absorbent granules have an added advantage as they are absorbed instantly, reducing the little pouch’s wait time to dissolve. You also have the ability to manage the number of granules landing in your pouch through a scoop.

How to get started with absorbent IIeostomy gel packets

  • Get rid of your ostomy pouch when uncomfortable or drain in case you using a drainable ostomy pouch
  • Avoid opening the packet as it dissolves on its own
  • Put a new absorbent gel packet into the new sealed end pouch or the drained pouch
  • Fasten the ostomy pouch to the wafer
  • Once the output is released, the absorbent packet gel dissolves, and the liquid transforms into a gel

If you have an ostomy, it’s always recommendable to place things in your pouch specifically aimed to cater for ostomy pouches. Avoid attaching products in your ostomy pouch unless it is prescribed and certified as safe for ostomy. Using uncertified products on your stoma can lead to skin damage or stoma. With the new error of digitization, solving problems have become easier. The internet has hundreds of life hacks on how to handle your stoma, which might not be an effective procedure for you. Always consult your doctor or certified medic on how to take care of your stoma. A doctor will advise you on the safest ostomy treatments cares that are harmless. There are several ostomy accessories to choose from, and seeking advice from a doctor will help you choose the best that will help you with your ostomy with no skin irritation problem.

What to Do if the Ostomy bag Keeps Leaking 

For those who have an ostomy, one of the biggest nightmares and challenges is ostomy leakage. Those who live with this can feel embarrassed, and it might be a nightmare. You have to deal with changing not just the pouch, but also the bedding and clothes, and is a bit scary if you’re in public. But we’ll discuss some tips to try if you find your ostomy bag leaking in public or even in the comfort of your own home, so you can handle all of this immediately. 

Ge the Skin barrier 

Make sure that the ostomy barrier is right for your stoma. The right type and size of the wafter will sit next to the skin, keeping it protected from leakage and irritation, since you want to make sure that the stoma output that flows into there goes into the bag and not the barrier. 

If you have a stoma that’s recessed or flushed, ask your doctor about how you can change to a different kind of skin barrier.  Abdomens which are rounded, hernias that occur, skins that have creases or folds, or stomas that are flush or recessed do need special kinds of barriers. 

Measure the stoma 

If you don’t think you have the right size for your stoma, make sure that you do this. A skin barrier that’s not snug enough does cause leakage and other problems. Even if you’ve had the same stoma skin barrier, it may not be the same as it was say…a  few months ago. That’s because the stoma does change slowly but surely over time, but usually the biggest changes are right after you get ostomy surgery, which is why you need to make sure that you properly measure ethe stoma, to ensure that it’s a fit that’s good for you. 

Keep the Skin Dry and Shaven 

To make sur that the ostomy pouch stays secure, you should make sure that you’re applying this directly to the skin that‘s clean and shaven. If you’ve been swimming or seating, or you’ve taken a shower, you should make sure to pat dry the skin there before you’re looking to apply a new barrier. 

Don’t use lotions, hair removal creams, or soaps that are scented around there, and only use products that are safe for that area. If you do have body hair near that area, shave it carefully. You may need to shave it frequently, since the regrowth of hair does affect the seal of the stoma barrier. 

Keep it Healthy 

You should also be mindful of the peristomal skin that’s around there. If you notice that it looks raw, irritated, has rashes, or is weepy, this is a sign that the skin is not healthy, and there are problems with this. First, you should talk to the doctor or the nurse about your problems, since they are more qualified than just an article to give you the advice on your skin issues. They may look into this for you and may tell you whether or not it’s due to a reaction of the skin, or if there is a bad-fitting ostomy pouch, or leakage and irritation from too many changes to the barrier. You should talk to the doctor about different ways to reduce the irritation of the skin. For example, ostomy powder is a good way to help make sure that the barrier is nice and dry, helping to keep the health of the peristomal skin, while also making sure that you increase the wear of the ostomy pouch as well for you. 

Skin irritations in Ostomates 

You may notice that there is a bit of reddish skin around your stoma after an ostomy, such as an ileostomy, and it may itch.  If you’ve never had this beforehand, you may wonder what to do. 

The answer is interesting, since you may not know what the reasoning being for this.  Here, we’ll dive into what you can do to possibly help with skin irritations as an ostomate. 

The Reason Why 

Usually, if you experience redness around where your stoma is, there are a few reasons for this. Usually, it involves one of the following:

  • stool irritating this area 
  • A sensitivity and allergy to the products used 
  • Yeast 

Usually, if there is something that you’re using, it can actually cause itchiness over time. 

The most common reasons for ostomates to have this, especially if it’s red skin along with itching and burning, is because you have stool that’s directly contacting the skin. Stool in ileostomies usually tend to be more corrosive than other surgeries, and it can actually damage your skin really quickly. A sign of damaged skin usually involves burning and itchiness, especially when your stoma is working fine.  You also may notice bleeding if the irritation has been going on for an extended period of time. 

Exposure to Stool 

If your skin is irritated due to stool exposure, there’s a few reasons for this one to happen. usually, this is because the flange opening is too big, and you may have cut it too larger. If it’s too large, the peristomal skin does get exposed to the stool, and it isn’t protected by your barrier and paste. You should make sure that the opening is correct, and you properly measure this. You should make sure that you do this over the opening, checking the mirror to make sure that the gap is about 3-4 mm at most.  You should ask the nurse to help you if needed. 

Wrong Appliance 

You may have the wrong appliance on your stoma, and those different characteristics do prevent you from getting the proper seal, which will cause this to leak.  You may want to get a convex flange as needed if you’re looking to use this and getting a barrier ring as well if you struggle with exposure and leakage to help you protect your skin from irritation. 

Product allergies 

The irritation also may be due to irritation because of the reaction to a product.  If you have a product that’s causing this, you will probably see a reaction in the area, and it might be due to certain chemicals or something in the product. 

If you are using paste, it might be due to the paste, and the chemicals within it. 

Yeast Infection 

And finally, it might be due to a yeast infection. Usually, they’re bright red, and the color may change over a bit, have edges and borders that are irregular, and you may notice pink dots where the yeast is growing. This is because it grows in dark, moist, and warm places, which is pretty much the underside of an ostomy appliance. 

It may happen after someone starts antibiotics, or if they start to soak in baths, hot tubs, and sweat a lot, such as due to hot weather or exercise. This is treated with a powder that’s silver-based, applied underneath the skin area, and the barrier will then be treated effectively as well. You should make sure that the powder is sealed. This is very common but knowing why it happens will help you take care of it better and treat the problem before it gets worse. 

What Can You Eat After An Ostomy

As someone who had to undergo an ostomy a few years ago, I get asked a lot of different questions. Ostomies are kind of a funny subject because a lot of people don’t really know a lot about them, and they sometimes get curious about living with a stoma. Among other various questions about life with a stoma, one of the questions I get asked fairly frequently is about my eating habits with a stoma. Now, eating is obviously going to have a direct impact on people who wear ostomy pouches, since all of our waste and output is funneled through the stoma and into the ostomy pouch.

It makes sense that people are curious about what happens to the food that I eat and if there are certain foods that I should avoid. Well, I am here to tell you all about my food journey after getting an ostomy and don’t mind answering questions like these. After all, I am definitely someone experienced and knowledgeable in the world of ostomy and not just some random guy on the internet ranting about ostomies and stomas for seemingly no reason. Anyways, in this article I will be telling you about what you can and can’t eat after an ostomy and my overall thoughts on eating before and after undergoing my surgery. 

The first thing that I would like to talk about is my eating habits directly after surgery. When I first woke up from surgery in that hospital bed, the last thing I wanted to do was eat any food. In fact, I can remember feeling like I never wanted to eat food ever again. It is true that you barely even have an appetite after undergoing an ostomy, and I was feeling that exact same way. While I recovered in the hospital, I ate very little; on top of this, all that I ate was very bland food that the doctors basically forced me to eat. I was still pretty much in the same boat once I finally got discharged from the hospital and headed home with the addition of my stoma. I was instructed to eat little portions at least 5 or 6 times throughout the day, but even that was a tall order because I was just not hungry. My appetite used to be an insatiable monster that could devour entire nations all in one sweep. After surgery, however, I was left in shambles of who I used to be in that regard.

Once things got better and I started to recover a little bit more from surgery, I started to reintroduce foods that I used to eat back into my diet to see how they would sit and work through my stoma. The good news about getting an ostomy, and what the doctors had informed me of before surgery, is that once you have gotten more adjusted to your body and having a stoma, you can pretty much go back to eating the same foods that you used to. However , it is worth noting that gas becomes a bit more problematic when wearing an ostomy pouch, so naturally I try to avoid foods that make me gassy if at all possible. Some foods that I try to avoid are cabbage, beans, spicy food, and chewing gum, because these can cause a lot of gas.

Swimmer with ostomy

Growing up, I loved being in the water; it was very calming and relaxing. As a swimmer with an ostomy bag, I get many odd looks any time I am about to dive in. not many people have seen a swimmer with s pouch attached to the abdomen wall. I can not say I blame them either. I have received some rude remarks with my ostomy terrible, but I just block them out. When I was in the seventh grade, I had a very had accident that left traumatic damage to my large intestine.

As a child, I loved the water being in it was very relaxing and made me feel calm. When I was in the seventh grade, I joined our school’s swimming and diving team. I was a strong swimmer growing up, and as much as I love the water, it seemed like a good idea. Before I could even begin my new swimming journey, I got in a bad accident. My father and I were going for a drive in his nineteen sixty-nine Camaro like we always do on Friday evenings. It’s a bonding time for us. When we got to a stoplight, we slowed down and came to a complete stop. When the light turned green, we gave it a second to two before my dad floored it. As soon as he did, I saw headlights on my right coming at us fast. We got T-boned very hard, and I was severely injured. 

We were rushed to the hospital, where the doctor told me after looking at my injuries, I will need a temporary colostomy; otherwise, I will have improper bowel movements. I was devastated, but I knew it would only be temporary. After my procedure, I talked with my doctor and told him that I had just gotten on the swimming team for my school and affected my ability to swim. He began to say to me that I could still do that if I wished, but I would need to leave the bag on just in case. When I got back to school a week after my accident, I told my swimming coach what had happened, but I still wanted to be on the team. He accepted me with open arms sill. It felt good to be still wanted by them. My teammates were devastated. I got in the crash but was thrilled I was standing firm. I soon became the best swimmer on the team only a few weeks after my accident. 

When I got to high school, I joined the team immediately, and everyone I swam with a few years ago in junior high was also with me. It felt good to have familiar faces around me. I slowly became one of the best swimmers the high school had in its lifetime. Whenever I’m at a meet, I get odd looks because of my ostomy bag, but my team has my back, and I generally come out on top in my section, so I like to let that do the talking to the naysayers and judgers. 

I never expected to be on a swimming team, but I am glad that I joined it. When sophomore year came around, there was another person who joined the team that was just like me. I was there for him and had his back as my team had mine. I am getting my ostomy procedure reverted soon, so I am looking forward to that, and I want to see how that will affect my swimming. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people who always are looking out for me and standing up for me. I need to find a way to repay them someday. 

6 Tips To Take Care Of Your Ostomy Stoma

When it comes to having an ostomy for the first time, it will be a learning process in order to maintain it starting from the moment surgery has been completed. Regardless of the reasons for an ostomy, the amount of problems one could experience may be the same. It is important to take the advise of your ET nurse seriously when it comes to the care and maintenance of your ostomy supplies and stoma. However, there are a few other tips to consider as you go about your day such as these six.

1. Preventing Messy Backsplashes

Having a potential mess on your hands is bad enough, so you shoudn´t have to worry about making more of a mess with a backsplash occuring while emptying. To prevent it, you can simply flush the toilet simultaneously with emptying. Besides this method, you could also straddle the toilet facing the wall and then empty. Make sure to place toilet paper into the bowl first and then empty on the toilet paper. 

2. Eliminating Hair at the Stoma Site

An ostomy patient will typically use an electric shaver to eliminate hair at the stoma site. The best benefit to this is not having a blade to worry about. With that, you eliminate any chance of cuts ocurring around the stoma. If you clean the stoma while showering, then you can shave the area at the same time. Just make sure to be gentle so that skin irritation does not occur. 

3. Replace the Bag Before Eating

To get the best results it is best to replace the ostomy bag before you eat or after waking up. By not eating before you go to bed, you shouldn´t have to worry about the output before changing. If you are too hungry to wait for a change, then eating something that is full of nutrients is recommended so that the output will not occur quickly.

4. Replace Following Your Shower

If you don´t want to change your bag while showering, you can do it afterwards. Now that your stoma area is nice and clean and shaven, you can easily attach a wafer and bag. By waiting after, you are getting more use out of the bag by not having it attached, thus keeping it cleaner longer. Plus, having fresh air on the stoma keeps it at its healthiest. 

5. Making a Bump Work

Every stomach is not going to be a flat surface if you have had multiple surgeries. So if you have issues with a bump in the stoma region and are unable to place the wafer flat, you can make a slit that will make it more flexible. Only one slit should be sufficient so that you don´t run a risk of a leak.

6. Using Chemical-Free Wipes

Your ET nurse should remind you to only use wipes that are chemical-free, such as saline wipes. If you use baby wipes, then you will run a risk of having residue left behind. If this happens, then you will also have a harder time with the wafer sticking to your skin. In order to achieve a truly clean area it is best to use just water. However, you can use saline as well as an option. Normal saline can be found in any pharmacy.

Taking Your Ostomy for Granted

After the madness of 2021, we all know the need to be healthy. Health is something absolutely everyone takes for granted until they’re forced to confront their own mortality. Let’s face it we don’t generally talk about it that much. Or, at the very least, forced to confront something that is somewhat wrong with their bodies. And when it happens, you realize that you have taken for granted your health for the majority of your life. Now, this is just a truth of life. 

So be careful not to get caught off your feet.  Unfortunately, what happens thereafter is you end up taking health for granted yet again. Not because you didn’t learn your lesson, but simply because you just DON’T think about your body or something going awry when you’re healthy because, well, everything is functioning correctly and you’re spending time thinking about other things.

Not all of the time will our healthcare systems work for our benefit.  So, imagine how it would be to have everything so fine in life, and suddenly something is wrong with your excretory system. The fact that now you have pain or complications or even life-threatening problems with your bladder or digestive tract means that every single day you’re thinking about a natural human function: to get rid of your body’s waste.

Now, we are going to get into a new area.  So imagine then what it would be like to have an ostomy. You’d be thankful, absolutely grateful in fact, that you had an option that could relieve you of your pain or discomfort. Sure, you may not like learning how to go to the bathroom all over again, but at the very least your life would be much better than it would be otherwise. You wouldn’t even bat an eye at your new ConvaTec ostomy supplies if you had to get used to them. And that’s because, yet again, you’re grateful for your health and sorry you ever took it for granted. But in some ways, this can be a huge benefit just to be able to feel no pain again. in that area. 

Now we all know where this kind of feeling can go.  And so the cycle goes with our health, mortality, and abnormalities. It can be easy to get swept up in life and forget to take care of yourself, but the fact of the matter is so many people could be doing more to take care of their bodies in all aspects possible. I’m sure no one out there with some ConvaTec ostomy supplies and a stoma actually wanted that to happen in the first place, right? Right. It was something that was the last resort to make their lives more comfortable or even save their lives.

Really we don’t want to go too far and to let ourselves go.  We need to be wise in how we think about our bodies and how we are willing to deal with it.  So the lesson I hope you’ve learned today is to take care of your body. And to care about what you put in your digestive system. What nutrients you need. What exercise you need. Without a care in the world for these things, something could easily sneak up on you and change your life forever. Be safe and take care. 

Things That Can Go Wrong With Your Stoma

Let’s all be a little honest right now – life is pretty tough. No matter who you are or what you do, you’re going to be met with a whole array of problems that will just need to be solved as you go at them. Now I am a person with lots of life experiences, and I can say from firsthand experiences that some problems are worse than others. If you have had an ostomy and are living with the new addition of stoma, you’ve clearly already had some pretty serious problems.

However, today I am writing about the possible subsequent problems that can occur when you are living with a stoma. Most people become more familiar with their stoma overtime and are able to tell when things are not exactly going well. However, I know that some people out there could be dealing with some fairly serious stoma problems and not even know it. Hopefully I’ll be able to address a few mainstream problems that can happen for ostomates, and also bring up some new ones that you may not know about. 

The most notorious and probably most common problem for people with stomas is when the ostomy bag starts to leak somehow. There is nothing worse than stinking up an entire room with the odor of your bowel movements because there is a bad seal on your skin barrier, or the ostomy pouch is not functioning properly. While there are a few different reasons for ostomy pouch leakage, a lot of them can be attributed to the size of your stoma changing here or there after surgery or with weight gain and loss.

If the size of your stoma is changing, it is important to change your ostomy pouch size as well so that you can prevent leakages that way. An ostomy pouch that does not fit you well will also cause some discomfort with your stoma, and nobody wants that. Also, keep in mind that it is imperative to clean out your stoma thoroughly before putting your new ostomy pouch on. (Don’t forget to dry it off as well!).

Another problem that is pretty common is ballooning, which basically means that your ostomy pouch is getting completely filled by gas. This is a super frustrating problem because it means that you have to spend more time and energy trying to change your pouch more frequently. Nobody wants to deal with this, and you especially don’t want to have the people around you smell the gas leaking out of you through an ostomy pouch.

So the main way that you can avoid ballooning is to avoid foods that make you gassy. In most cases, foods that made you gassy before getting a stoma put in will likely still make you gassy now; the difference is that people with stomas cannot control the output of their gas, and therefore it becomes more important to be careful with the amount of gas that you are allowing to be created in your body. Avoiding certain foods like cabbage, cauliflower, beans, and chewing gum is a good step to take to avoid a lot of gas on a regular basis.

Other things that you can avoid include chewing gum and drinks with a lot of carbonation. Those things will also cause more gas in your system and lead to your ostomy pouch ballooning up.

Life With A Stoma

Surgery to treat Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may result in the surgeon pulling a part of the bowel through a cut in the belly. This end sticks out on the abdominal wall, forming a stoma, which is an opening to allow the patient to expel body wastes. The surgeon will choose to give you a stoma if the lower section of your GI tract is unable to perform its function due to the impact of the disease.

There are two types of a stoma that you can get in this regard.

  • Ileostomy
  • Colostomy

Ileostomy

An ileostomy is formed when your surgeon pulls out the end of the small bowel through a cut in the belly. This way, the entire colon is bypassed. The stoma you get as a result of this procedure is usually on the lower section of the abdomen.

The stool you pass out through an ileostomy usually has the consistency that of porridge. That is because the stool hasn’t passed through the colon, which absorbs water and digestive enzymes from fecal wastes. Stools that come out prematurely are mostly liquid and irritating to the skin. That is why individuals with ileostomies are generally instructed to ensure a proper seal between the skin barrier and the peristomal skin.

Colostomy

A colostomy is created by pulling a part of the colon through a cut in the belly. This way, the patient retains a part of the colon. It means that fecal wastes passing out through a colostomy allow the active part of the colon to absorb some of the water content. Depending on the location of the stoma, fecal wastes can be semi-formed or fully formed.

Why would you need a stoma?

Your doctor will opt to give you a stoma if your body is not responding to the medical treatment to control symptoms resulting from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. In some cases, the disease may cause perforation of the bowel. It is a life-threatening condition, which is treatable only through surgery. Bowel cancer is another reason why you may need an ostomy.

In some cases, people with mild conditions opt to have a colostomy or ileostomy to improve their quality of life.

Looking after the stoma

You can look after your stoma by using the right ostomy pouch. Stoma care significantly involves caring for the skin around the stoma. For this purpose, you have to ensure a proper seal between the ostomy pouch you use and your abdominal skin.

You will get the initial training on how to take care of your stoma from the ostomy care nurse at the hospital. At home, you will have to take care of your stoma yourself. You will need to learn how to apply the ostomy pouch, how to empty it, and how to discard it after a few days of use. If you have any questions, you can speak to your ostomy care nurse or doctor.

Living with a stoma

A stoma doesn’t leave a significant impact on your lifestyle. You can eat whatever you want once your bowel recovers full from the impact of surgery. You can also engage in all sorts of physical activities. You may, however, need to discuss with your doctor, though.

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