Question: Persistent Leakage Problems with Ileostomy Appliances

I received my ileostomy in December 2019 and am struggling to securely attach the flange without experiencing leaks. Despite trying products from ConvaTec, Hollister, and Coloplast, and even with assistance from home care and educational videos, I’m facing continuous leaks. I’ve had to change the appliance eight times in the last eight days. The financial burden and fear of going out are escalating. The leakage often occurs near my navel, though not always. Can you offer any advice or solutions?

Response: Expert Strategies for Effective Ileostomy Appliance Management

Your situation is understandably challenging, but there are several steps you can take to improve the seal of your ileostomy appliance:

  1. Consult an NSWOC Nurse: Arrange a visit with an NSWOC (Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy, and Continence) for a professional assessment and product recommendations. Find a local NSWOC at Find a NSWOC.
  2. Evaluate Skin and Stoma Condition: Examine the condition of your skin and the placement of your stoma. Check for any allergic reactions, protruding stitches, or belly cavities that might affect the appliance’s fit.
  3. Experiment with Different Products: Try various products to find the best fit for your body’s contours. Free samples from manufacturers can help you test without financial commitment.
  4. Consider Convexity: If you have an uneven skin surface around the stoma, a convex flange might provide a better seal. Contact ostomy product manufacturers for recommendations and samples.
  5. Flange Application Techniques: Pay attention to how you apply the flange. Ensure the skin is clean, dry, and free of any products that could interfere with adhesion.
  6. Seek Peer Support: Connect with local or online ostomy support groups for additional tips and moral support.
  7. Medical Review: If the problem persists, consult your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying medical issues that might be contributing to the leakage.
  8. Regular Monitoring and Adjustment: Be vigilant in monitoring the fit and condition of your appliance, making adjustments as needed.

Remember, achieving a reliable ileostomy appliance fit often requires trial and error. With persistence and the right support, you can find a solution that works for you.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
Ostomy Lifestyle Expert Author and Member of Ostomy Canada Society
Medical Lifestyle Advisory Committee Member