Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert

Ballooning effect in pouches during flights

January, 2017

Question Message Body:

I’ve had an ileostomy for almost 20 yrs and I’m wondering if there are any tips or tricks that you are aware of that can reduce the ballooning effect in pouches during flights. I’ve flown quite a few times and I always have issues with ballooning during take off and reaching cruising altitude depending on how long you have to remain seated some times causes issues with trying to release the air from the pouch…


Ballooning can be worrying when you are flying in an aeroplane, and in everyday life. The following are some suggestions that will help reduce ballooning:

• If possible visit the toilet next to the departure gate to burp your bag and get it as flat as possible before the flight.

• Avoid carbonated drinks (fizzy drinks) 24 hours before flight and during the flight.

• Some ostomates have suggested drinking peppermint tea is a good preventative measure. They claim a cup of the tea disperses the gas without it coming out via the bag.

• Avoid gulping, slurping, drinking from a straw, not chewing well, or even eating too fast can cause air to be swallowed and gas to develop.

Common foods you may want to avoid 24 to 48 hours before your flight are:

• Beans/legumes
• Onions
• Artificial sweeteners
• Carbonated drinks
• Cabbage
• Broccoli
• Beer
• Sugars (either from fruit or refined)
• High-fibre foods

• In addition to how we eat, smoking and chewing gum can also cause air to be swallowed.

Pouches with filters are an ideal way of solving problems with ballooning. There are quite a few pouch styles with filters available from each pouch manufacturer. Ostomates will have to do some experimentation to find one that works best for them.

Bon Voyage!


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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