Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert

Allergy to Appliances – April 2019


Perhaps you can shed some light on how I should handle this ongoing problem.

I have an allergic reaction to the adhesive on most appliances.
How am I to handle this? Not wearing a bag is not an option.

Any thoughts?

Thank you


My first recommendation is to contact a NSWOC (Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence), in your area. If you do not already have a NSWOC, you can find a nurse closest to you by the following instructions:

  • Go to Ostomy Canada Society official website –
  • When the webpage opens you will notice the banner at the top of the page, look for “Support”, and click on it.
  • Another window page will pop up on the screen.
  • Click on “Find a NSWOC”
  • A subsequent page will pop up on the screen indicating – “Find a NSWOC”, click.
  • A “search form” page will show, follow the instructions on the form.

When you have a consultation, the NSWOC nurse will examine you to determine if in fact you are experiencing an allergic reaction, or if you are experiencing a yeast infection for example, and so on. Depending on the outcome of an examination, the NSWOC professional will then provide you with recommendations such as; skin prep products that may help you.

If you are taking particular medications they can cause side effects such as itching, this could be another potential source of your skin sensitivity issue.

Use plain soap and water (no perfumes), to clean the area. Also, make sure the area is dry before applying the appliance wafer. You may want to try keeping it simple around the stoma sight until you have researched your options and change your wafer every few days until the problem is under control.

The various ostomy equipment manufacturers are very helpful in providing free samples of their products and will ship them to you free of charge. When you contact the companies they will provide you with a knowledgable professional who will discuss your sensitive skin issue with you. Depending on the outcome of the consultation, they will then recommend various appliance samples that you can try. Possibly they have an appliance that you will not be as skin sensitive to.

Wishing you the best in finding the most effective approach for supporting the health of your sensitive skin.


Our friends over at Nurses Specialized In Wound, Ostomy And Continence Canada [NSWOCC] (formerly called The Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy (CAET)) have renamed their handy look-up page on their website. It was formerly called “Find An ET Nurse” and is now called “Find a NSWOC“. Click on the image to the left or link here to go to their site.

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