Question: Seeking Advice for Post-Colostomy Surgery Concerns

I had permanent colostomy surgery in May this year and have been doing well, except for a few minor issues. I find that there’s a subtle odor after a day with a new pouch, the vent clogs quickly, and the stool doesn’t slide down into the bag despite using various lubricants and deodorizers. The bag also collapses, making emptying difficult, and the stool consistency is soft and muddy. I use Coloplast products, including a one-piece pouch with strip paste or protective rings. Can you provide any advice to address these issues?

Response: Tips for Managing Post-Colostomy Surgery Challenges

It’s great to hear that you’re doing well post-surgery. Let’s address your concerns:

  1. Odor Management: Good adherence to the pouch typically prevents odors. If you detect an odor, check for leaks under the flange. Sometimes, the area near the flange can absorb fecal material, causing a subtle smell. Regular pouch changes are essential.
  2. Proper Skin Barrier Fit: Ensuring a proper fit around your stoma is crucial. Regularly measure your stoma using the provided guide and ensure no skin is exposed between the skin barrier and stoma.
  3. Regular Pouch Changes: Changing your pouch regularly before it gets too full can help maintain its integrity and prevent strain on the system.
  4. Pancaking Issue: The problem you’re experiencing, known as pancaking, occurs when the output gathers around the stoma rather than dropping into the bag. This can be due to a lack of air in the bag or wearing tight clothing around the stoma. Try wearing looser clothes and ensure your waistband or belt isn’t restricting the flow. Blocking the filter on your pouch might help retain air inside.
  5. Dietary Considerations: Your output consistency suggests that dietary adjustments might be helpful. Consult a dietitian for personalized advice to manage your stool consistency.
  6. Consult an NSWOC Nurse: For ongoing issues and personalized assistance, I recommend consulting a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy, and Continence (NSWOC). They can provide expert advice tailored to your specific situation.

I hope these suggestions prove helpful in addressing the minor issues you’re facing post-surgery. Remember, successful ostomy management often involves trial and error to find what works best for you.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
FACEBOOK – Author Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
TWITTER @joanntremblay
Author of “The Self-Coaching Toolbox”, “Better With A Bag Than In A Bag”, “Another BAG Another DAY”, “BAGs Around the World”, “Why Buttercup Wears a BAG!”, “The Sibs Gang Cave of the Golden Heart”,,
Member Ostomy Canada/Medical Lifestyle Advisory Committee Member – Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
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