Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert

Flange Edges Lifting

Question:

I’m sure this question has been asked before, and I thought I had clipped out an answer and filed it somewhere, but now can’t find it. After about 4 days of wear, the edges of the appliance flange/faceplate start to lift.  I have used Op-Site FlexiTape to hold down the edges, but it can make my skin itch. Do you have any suggestions as to how to keep the edges from lifting, and/or how to stick them down with something that won’t make me itch? (And the lifting edges have nothing to do with the frequency of showering).

Response:

Having an appliance that refuses to stay stuck is frustrating. There is always a cause for adhesives failing, it’s a matter of finding that cause.

Following are some possible problems and solutions:

Problem

Our skin chemistry is different from person to person. Some people may have dry skin, while others have oily skin. Sometimes, our individual skin is simply not compatible with the adhesives of certain wafers, and they don’t stick well or will fail.

Possible Solutions – Sample products to find the one that works best on your skin. The manufacturers and suppliers offer free samples – tell them your problem and they will assist you with products for you to try.

You can consider using adhesive products, protective sheets or tape to keep your appliance working for you. These are temporary fixes, they are not complete solutions, but they will help you while you find the product that works best for you.

Problem

Skincare products. Ingredients in many soaps, moisturizers, shampoo/conditioner, baby wipes, and creams may contain ingredients that interfere with the adhesives in the wafers. For example, oils, in particular, can cause issues, even if your skin does not feel oily after using a product, it can still create problems.

Possible Solutions

Avoid the use of these products around or near your stoma. Try another brand of soap that doesn’t have extra moisturizer. Mild soaps are likely to work better.

Wafer extenders (also referred to as flange extenders) are handy. Wafer extenders can help keep your ostomy equipment secure during physical activity. They can be used to protect the wafer from water. They may also be used to protect the edges of your wafer from peeling. Wafer extenders come in many different styles and types. There can be “films, tape, and elastic tape”. There are full extenders that cover the entire wafer, or segments, which you can apply to a specific area on your wafer. Most wafers are waterproof, but some do not handle water well, so their edges will peel or become sticky.

Problem

Body hair, especially on the fellas, can create a challenge. When hair gets too long on the skin that your wafer is on top of, it can impact the adhesive, even creating tunnels for output to leak.

Possible Solution

Shave the area around your stoma before putting on your appliance. Change your appliance more often if you find that hair grows back quickly

Problem

Applying the wafer onto wet skin. Ostomy wafers and other ostomy supplies such as barrier rings, need to be applied to dry skin.

Possible Solutions

Be sure to dry your skin before applying any of the ostomy products to your skin. If you like to have showers before an appliance change, make sure that you have gotten rid of as much humidity from the bathroom as possible. If you live somewhere that is humid, this can have an effect.

Problem

Not using enough pressure or heat on your wafer when applying to your body. Some wafers require heat and/or pressure in order to properly activate the adhesive.

Possible Solutions

Gently heat your wafer before applying it to your skin. This can be done by putting it under your arm, rubbing it between the palms of your hands, or even using a hairdryer on warm. After applying your wafer, use the palm of your hand to apply gentle pressure to your wafer, (for a minute to a couple of minutes). In addition, to get good adhesion, you can run your fingers gently and vigorously on the flange around your stoma causing some friction heat.

Problem

We all sweat, sweat under the wafer can cause issues with the adhesive.

Possible Solutions

Try using an extended wear wafer, or one that is suited to excessive moisture. Remember to call the manufacturers and get your free samples so that you can determine what brand works best for you. You can change your appliance more often. If you’re only sweating during certain times such as during a workout, you might want to change your appliance after those activities.

Problem

Using expired products or improper storage.

Possible Solutions

Keep an eye on the expiry date on supplies and use them before they expire. Store your products according to the instructions found on either the box and/or product insert.

Problem

Adhesive remover residue

Possible Solution

If you use an adhesive remover to help your wafer or medical tape off of your skin, you may not be aware that it can leave a residue that makes it hard for the next wafer to stick properly. Some adhesive remover products can leave an oily film on the skin and must be cleaned off before applying your wafer.

I recommend that you contact the manufacturer of your current specific equipment. Explain your issue with them, and ask for sample products to help you find the one that works best on your skin. If you are not satisfied with that particular manufacturer, call other ostomy manufacturers and suppliers that offer free samples – tell them your problem and they will assist you with products for you to try.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
THE OSTOMY FACTOR Blog-joannltremblay.wordpress.com
FACEBOOK – Author Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
TWITTER @joanntremblay
Author of “The Self-Coaching Toolbox” , “Better With A Bag Than In A Bag”

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