Question: Managing Odor in Ostomy Care with a Hollister System

I’ve been using a Hollister system for my ostomy and generally have been satisfied. However, for the past few months, I’ve encountered issues with odor, even though I’ve been using the recommended drops. A fellow ostomate suggested that this might be due to changes made by the manufacturer. What steps can I take to address this odor issue effectively?

Response: Strategies for Controlling Odor in Ostomy Care

Identifying Causes:

  • Food and Diet: Maintain a log to track the types of food you consume and the times when odors intensify. Some foods, especially those high in soluble fiber, sugars, beans, broccoli, and carbonated drinks, can increase gas and subsequently odor in the pouch.
  • Air Swallowing: Activities like smoking, chewing gum, using straws, or eating and drinking too quickly can lead to swallowing air, contributing to increased odor.
  • Pouch Usage Duration: Using a pouch beyond the manufacturer’s recommended time can lead to odor issues.
  • Environmental Factors: High body temperatures, especially during warmer months, can affect appliance odor.

Odor Reduction Strategies:

  • Timely Pouch Emptying: Aim to empty the pouch when it is one-third or half full.
  • Consultation with Ostomy Product Stores: Speak with stores specializing in ostomy products for advice and product recommendations.
  • Odor-Eliminating Products: Use deodorizer drops specifically designed for ostomy pouches. Experiment with products from various manufacturers. Free samples are often available upon request.
  • Room Fresheners: Utilize sprays to freshen the room during appliance changes, but avoid spraying directly into the pouch.
  • Innovative Solutions: Products like Poo-Pourri for toilets can be helpful. An unapproved, yet sometimes effective method, involves placing two Tic Tac mints in the bottom of the pouch, though discretion is advised.
  • Exploring Different Appliances: If other methods are ineffective, consider trying different appliance brands or types.

Final Thoughts: Odor management in ostomy care is a common concern and can often be resolved with the right strategies and products. If the issue persists, it’s advisable to seek professional guidance.

Karen Bruton, RN BScN MCISc-WH WOCC(C)
Nurse Education Consultant – Interprofessional Practice Support
Indigenous Services Canada, Government of Canada
Ostomy Canada (Volunteer)
Medical and Lifestyle Advisory Team Lead


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