Question: Seeking Solutions for Ostomy Bag Fit and Seal Challenges Post-Colostomy Surgery

I’m three weeks into recovery from colostomy surgery and facing challenges with ensuring a secure fit and seal of my ostomy bag. While the initial application at the hospital was successful, I’ve been experiencing difficulties and skin irritation since returning home. My stoma is recessed, which complicates the fit. Despite efforts by my stoma nurse, regular care nurse, and myself, we haven’t found a successful solution. Could you provide tips or advice to help improve the fit and seal of my ostomy bag?

Response: Strategies to Ensure Secure Fit and Seal for Ostomy Bags

Ensuring a secure fit and seal for your ostomy bag is crucial for comfort and skin health. Here are several strategies you can consider:

  1. Correct Barrier Fit: It’s essential that your skin barrier fits properly around your stoma. Use the template provided with your ostomy supplies to measure your stoma accurately and adjust the barrier size accordingly. This helps prevent leakage and skin irritation.
  2. Gentle Removal Technique: Removing your skin barrier should be done gently to avoid skin damage. Slowly peel the barrier, starting from the top and gently pressing the surrounding skin.
  3. Regular Pouch Changes: Regularly changing your ostomy pouch before it becomes too full can prevent leaks and reduce strain on the skin barrier.
  4. Managing Skin Irregularities: If you have creases or folds near your stoma, consider using products like barrier rings, paste, or strips to even out the skin surface and achieve a better seal.
  5. Securing the Pouch During Activities: If you’re active or exercise, use specific clothing or accessories to secure your pouch and prevent displacement.
  6. Consult Manufacturer Specialists: Reach out to your ostomy equipment manufacturer for personalized support. They often have specialists who can suggest suitable products and may provide free samples for you to try.
  7. Explore Diverse Products: Don’t hesitate to try different products from various manufacturers. Finding the right combination of products that work for your unique stoma and skin type might take some experimentation.
  8. Leverage Manufacturer Resources: Many ostomy equipment manufacturers offer support programs and educational resources on their websites. These can be valuable in finding the right products for your needs.
  9. Collaboration with Healthcare Professionals: Continuously work with your stoma care nurse and explore the latest products and research. With some trial and error, you can find a mix of products that prevent leakage and maintain skin health.

For further assistance and personalized advice, please do not hesitate to reach out to ostomy support groups and healthcare professionals who specialize in ostomy care.

Warm Regards,

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