Question: Seeking Suitable Ostomy System for Sensitive Skin at 74

I am 74 years old and had an ileostomy operation in 1971. Over the past six years, I’ve noticed changes in my abdominal shape due to age-related muscle tone loss. I have super sensitive skin, particularly to adhesives. For years, I’ve used Torbot colly-seels with a Marlin flange and bag, supported by a belt. Despite occasional leaks, my condition has worsened recently due to the abdominal changes. I’ve had some success with 3M micropore tape and Skin Tac H, but I can’t use tape at the bottom as it irritates my skin. I am now trying the Coloplast system, which has adhered well but damaged my skin upon removal due to the absence of adhesive remover wipes. Their powder and barrier wipes haven’t fully alleviated my skin issues. Recently, I connected with the Windsor ostomy support group, and Salts, a British company, is sending me their aloe vera-infused products. I’m seeking advice on any other suitable systems for my sensitive skin, as I wish to avoid the default back to the Colly-seel system or an internal pouch surgery.

Response: Navigating Ostomy Care with Sensitive Skin

Your concerns highlight the challenges faced by long-term ostomates, especially with changes in body and skin sensitivity over time.

  1. Consulting a Specialized Nurse:
    • I recommend consulting a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy, and Continence (NSWOC) for a professional assessment of your abdominal contours and skin condition. Find a local NSWOC nurse through this link: NSWOC Nurse Finder.
  2. Abdominal and Skin Assessment:
  3. Exploring Various Ostomy Products:
    • Ostomy manufacturers have significantly advanced their products since 1971, acknowledging varied skin reactions to different pouching systems.
    • Request samples from manufacturers (list available in the assessment guide) to conduct patch tests on your abdomen. This will help determine compatibility with your sensitive skin.
  4. Patch Testing Method:
    • Cut a piece of the barrier and any associated tape, then place it on your abdomen away from the stoma. Observe for any skin reaction over 3-4 days, reapplying a new patch after cleaning the area. This method will help identify suitable products for your skin type.

Your proactive approach in seeking out support groups and exploring new products is commendable. We hope these suggestions provide a pathway to finding a comfortable and leak-free ostomy system that accommodates your sensitive skin.

Warm regards,

Andrea Manson
Retired Healthcare Professional