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Ostomy Education

An ostomy refers to the surgically created opening in the body for the discharge of body wastes. The most common types of ostomies are colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy. Routine Care of Your Ostomy is important. See below for tips on pouching system, skin care and daily care tips:

Pouching System Tips

  • Prepare your new pouching system before you remove your old pouching system.
  • Empty your pouch when it is 1/3 to 1/2 full of discharge or gas. Do not let the pouch overfill.
  • Empty your pouch before activities and before bedtime.
  • If you notice that you have a lot of gas in your pouch (colostomy or ileostomy) you may want to consider a pouch with a filter.
  • The best time for a routine pouching system change is in the morning before you have had anything to eat or drink.
  • After you apply your skin barrier, press it gently against your skin for about a minute for best adhesion. Gentle pressure and warmth help with the initial contact.
  • If you wear a two-piece pouching system, try placing the skin barrier on your body in a diamond shape for a smoother fit.

Important Skin Care Tips

  • Remember, less is better when caring for the skin around your stoma.
  • For most people, water is sufficient for cleaning the skin. Remember to wash your hands after changing or emptying your pouch.
  • If soap is needed, use a mild soap without lotions or creams that may leave a residue or film on your skin. This can interfere with the adhesive.
  • Skin protective wipes are not recommended under extended wear skin barriers as this may decrease your wear time.
  • Make sure the peristomal skin is clean and dry before applying your skin barrier.
  • What is NOT recommended for routine skin care around your stoma: soap with lotions, creams, lotions, powders, baby  wipes, isopropyl alcohol, steroidal medications or ointments.
  • Skin irritation is not “normal.” If you discover you have red, broken or irritated skin, seek the assistance of a qualified healthcare professional like a WOC/ET nurse. (wound, ostomy, continence)/ enterostomal therapy).

Ostomy Daily Care Tips

  • Change your skin barrier on a routine basis. You will get more comfortable with this after you learn what works best for you.
  • Wear time is based on personal preferences and stoma characteristics, but three or four days is considered normal.
  • If your wear time becomes erratic or unpredictable, consult your WOC/ET nurse.
  • Skin barrier wear time may decrease during warmer seasons when you are perspiring more or during times of increased activity.
  • When traveling, plan ahead. Some suggestions include: take extra supplies, pack your ostomy products in your carry-on bag when flying, pre-cut your cut-to-fit skin barriers so you don’t need to carry scissors on the plane, and obtain a travel ID which explains your need for specific supplies when traveling.
  • You can shower or bathe with your pouch on or off.
  • If you use a two-piece pouching system, you may find it convenient to switch to a different pouch for the shower so that the pouch you wear stays dry.
  • When emptying your pouch, rinsing it out is not necessary. A lubricating deodorant may make emptying easier. DO NOT put oils or cooking sprays in your ostomy pouch.
  • Store your extra supplies in a cool, dry place.
  • Routine follow-up with your WOC/ET nurse is recommended.

Understand Your Body Profile for a Better Product Fit

Body shapes change over time. Your stoma has probably reduced in size and the area around the stoma has probably changed quite a bit. Now that you had time to settle in to your life after surgery, it is a good time to consider if your pouching system is still providing a good fit to your body. When the pouch doesn’t fit perfectly anymore it can lead to a number of issues, such as leakage under the barrier, which typically leads to skin irritation. By being aware of small changes to your body and adjusting your products to those changes, you can reduce the risk of leakage and skin irritation. 

The BodyCheck Tool allows you to find the best product to meet your needs and give you the option to sample that product. It’s very simple – you just go online and answer 8 visual questions. BodyCheck Tool.

Source: Courtesy of Hollister Incorporated

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