Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert

Ask An Ostomy Lifestyle Expert

Jo-Ann provides a fresh and candid outlook, through valuable tips and perspectives about how to live with an ostomy, from her own experiences.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

As part of Ostomy Canada Society’s dedication to continually grow our resources and support, we are pleased to welcome you to the “Ask The Ostomy Lifestyle Experts” feature.

People with an ostomy, those with surgery pending, ostomy caregivers and healthcare professionals are encouraged to enjoy this column for education, inspiration and a healthy dose of optimism from Jo-Ann L. Tremblay, Ostomy Canada Society Medical Advisory Committee, Ostomy Lifestyle Experts.

To ask a question of the Ostomy Lifestyle Experts, send an email to:

By sending an email, you are agreeing to letting your question be used in the Ostomy Canada magazine and/or on our website. All replies will be through the column, general in nature, and anonymous.

Question & Answer Section

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  • Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
  • ileostomy
  • Leakage
  • ostomy clothing

How does a person empty their pouch? Both at home and out?

Emptying your ostomy pouch seems to be an individual thing. Whatever way you have discovered, it’s okay. You do have a few options when emptying your pouch at home: You can sit far back on the toilet seat. Kneel on the floor beside the toilet. (Use a towel or pillow to protect your knees.) You … … Continue reading

Reversal – Yes or No?

Question: Hi…looking for suggestions on how to handle a very difficult decision. I am 70 and have a temporary ileostomy. The surgeon is willing to do the take down, but all I have heard is horror stories about the long recovery process. A year at this stage of my life is a long time. I … … Continue reading

Rectal Discharge

Question: I am three weeks post surgery. My ostomy is to be reversed in three months. I was told to expect some rectal discharge and did have some. However yesterday I experienced some uncontrollable brown discharge. Is this normal and will it subside? Response: People who have an ostomy and have an intact rectum and … … Continue reading

Stoma Revision Fears

Question: I have had my ileostomy for 40 years. During the past 2 years my stoma has shrunken to 1/4 inch on good days and is usually flush to my skin. I also have a hernia around it, and a very tight opening through the stoma. I do suffer from cramps but no real blockages. … … Continue reading

Abdominal Tightness

October 2017 Question: I have had my ostomy since surgery Nov. 2015. For the last 6 months to a year I feel that I have a tight belt around my stomach. I’m not constipated and I don’t have a blockage. Is this normal? No pain, just very uncomfortable. It’s not the belt because I’ve loosened … … Continue reading

Stain Removal

October 2017 Message Body: I hope you include information for caregivers in your service. My husband has an ileostomy and I’m his caregiver/helper. Can you help me with advice for doing laundry after leaks producing strong stains on white underwear and sheets? Thank you. Response: Caregivers are vital and dedicated members of the recovery and … … Continue reading


September 2017 – Probiotics Question: Thank-you for being available to take questions. I am 65 and have had an Ileostomy for 6 yrs. I have had Crohn’s for 35 years and Ankylosing Spondylitis for 5 or more years. So, I face many indirect over-the-counter pharmaceutical costs that I try to struggle to manage. There has … … Continue reading

Ostomy Bulge

July, 2017 Question: My colostomy bulges out like a large breast from my stomach. Is there a product made that can hold in this bulge even for an hour or so when I am out doing errands? Is there any harm in wearing such a product? Response: When you mention your colostomy bulges out like … … Continue reading


July, 2017 Question: I have an ilesotomy and do have a hernia, have had 4 blockages this spring and am nervous about diet and different food’s effects with regard to blockages or diarrhea. Response: Illeostomy – Dealing with a potential blockage: After an ileostomy is created, it may be harder to digest foods that are … … Continue reading

Stoma Length Change

July, 2017 Question Is it normal for a stoma to change in length over time? Response No two stomas are exactly the same. But, all stomas do share similarities. They have the same basic shape – round or oval, and most stomas either protrude from the skin several centimetres, or are flush with the skin. … … Continue reading

Reversal Surgery Delays

July, 2017 Question: I am a 46 yrs old single white caucasian male EMS/EHS professional who had been injured several yr’s ago, I developed intra abd abscess’s and hernia’s chronic bowl obstruction’s etc, In Oct 2015 physicians operated on me and gave me what was only supposed to be 90-120 day Ileostomy and to have … … Continue reading

Support for Elderly Patient

July, 2017 Question: I am searching for information/help/support for an 80 year old friend who has just had her bowel and bladder removed and now has two ostomies that she is totally unaccepting of or prepared to look after. She is presently 6 weeks post-op and still quite frail and in a rehabilitation unit at … … Continue reading

Getting a Good Seal Around the Stoma

July, 2017 Question: Hello, I have a temporary ilio ostomy. My surgery was in December. I have been dealing with stabbing pain since. My surgeon doesn’t know how to help. The surgeon and ET nurse talked about granular tissue around the stoma. In January they cauterized the red lumps/ granular tissue. The pain has come … … Continue reading

The affect of stress on an ostomy appliance

July 2017 Question: Does stress cause an ostomy to leak or affect the adhesiveness of the bag opening? Response: There are times when all ostomates encounter appliances that just won’t stick, and this is frustrating to deal with. We have all shared these experiences. There is always a cause for adhesives failing, and once you … … Continue reading

Question about an ostomy shield

June 2017 Question: I have a colon ostomy bag and I’m trying to find a Canadian company that sells some type of shield to place over the bag so I can put my belt over the opening. Response: Great news! The company Convatec has a free stoma guard you can try. You simply need to … … Continue reading

Ostomy Alert System

June 27, 2017 Question: Hello, Is there any kind of device that exists to alert me that my bag needs to be emptied – it doesn’t fill up at the same speed and I’m just wondering? Thank you Response: An ostomy bag alert system is a very good idea! After extensive research I have found … … Continue reading

Hip Replacement with an Ostomy

Question: I have had an ileostomy for 39 years I am now 80 yrs old and need a hip replacement has anyone else had this surgery at my age I am fairly healthy? Response: Hip replacement surgery is a common enough procedure today. Your responsibilities will be to work closely with your healthcare team, don’t … … Continue reading

Support for a Blind Ostomate

March 2017 – “Ask the Ostomy Lifestyle Expert” Question: I am a CCAC care coordinator and one of my clients is losing their vision due to macular degeneration. I am wondering if there are resources to allow her to learn how to do her own colostomy care at home. She has had the ostomy for … … Continue reading

Ask the Ostomy Lifestyle Expert – March 2017

Question: I do have a question, been using the one piece system on our son, he’s had a new ostomy now for about a week, I put it on correctly, but it doesn’t seem to hold for more then 8 hours at a time. He does pull his sweat pants upward, and sometimes grabs a … … Continue reading

Ask the Ostomy Lifestyle Expert – February 2017

Question: Is it common or unusual for waste to come out of both passages? I had an incident where I had been having cramping for a few days and then I passed a small amount of poop through my anus and also through the stoma. I have had my ostomy for about 10 months and … … Continue reading

Pouch Size Problems

Question: Information or who we could contact to discuss pouch size problem or a supplier? My sister had cancer and is having problems. Currently her bowel movements are during the night and using the “bag” she originally started out with, is not large enough so she tries to stay awake during the night to ensure … … Continue reading

Dealing with Leakage

Message Body: I’ve been suffering with Crohn’s for over 10 years. I just recently had the ostomy surgery in Oct 2016. It’s been a very big lifestyle change and my incision still has not healed. My stoma is sinking in and on 1 side causing leakage every day, which has my entire tummy inflamed with … … Continue reading

Ballooning effect in pouches during flights

Question Message Body: I’ve had an ileostomy for almost 20 yrs and I’m wondering if there are any tips or tricks that you are aware of that can reduce the ballooning effect in pouches during flights. I’ve flown quite a few times and I always have issues with ballooning during take off and reaching cruising … … Continue reading

Info about living with an ostomy in Canada

Questions: I’m a 30-year colostomate and in about a week’s time I will presenting a 30-40 minute program about living with an ostomy in other countries for our Northern Virginia Ostomy Support Group. Can  you help me by answering any of the following questions? 1) Where do ostomates in Canada obtain supplies? 2) Who pays for … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (December 2016) – Reversal Surgery Concerns

Subject: reversal of stoma surgery Message Body: I have had a ostomy for 8 months and now looking at a reversal surgery. What are the things I should be concerned about? What is the recovery time? Is this procedure common? Answer: Stoma reversal depends on the individual and the nature of the surgery. Colostomy and … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (November 2016) – Skin around Ostomy Care

Question: My skin around my stoma is blistered (but not the stoma) I have used the stoma powder but that is not helping.  Should I make an appointment with the doctor? Response: Healthy skin around your stoma is very important, and should be consistently cared for. If the powder you have been using has not … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (September 2016) – Vision Problems and Ostomy Care

Question I have a question for you. I am a student Occupational Therapist working on a school project regarding ostomy care. I have a client who is having difficulty with putting on her ostomy bag due to progressive vision loss (macular degeneration). She finds that she has difficulty placing the wafer correctly surrounding her stoma, … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (June 2016) – Urostomy Night Attachment Device

Question I was wondering if you could help.  My mom has been living with an ostomy bag, (I hope I have the terminology right- it’s for urine) mostly changing it herself for about 15 – 20 years. We recently moved her from a retirement condo where she was living independently to a retirement home and … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (June 2016)

Question: I had my ileal conduit surgery Mar.2016, though the surgery was successful I am experiencing vaginal discharge, odourless , light brownish . Response: When we undergo surgery such as an ileal conduit surgery, it takes a while to heal, and no doubt your body is still healing. The surgeon did a lot of work in … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (May 2016)

QUESTION: I really hope you can give me some online stores from which I may purchase some ostomy-friendly underwear and an ostomy wrap. I just had my surgery two weeks ago and I am having trouble having ostomy clothing delivered to Canada, from over the internet. RESPONSE: Thank you for your great question. Unfortunately, Ostomy … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (March 2016)

Message Body: As a result of radiation damage from cancer treatment in 1990, I had a permanent colostomy in March, 2012 and I am scheduled to have an Ileal Conduit in April of 2016. I am kind of freaked out to know that I am going to have two ostomys to care for and would … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (February 2016)

Question: I had my ileostomy in Dec 2015. I have had the mucus from my anus but I am now experiencing hemorrhoids. It feels like I have the urgency to release from my bowels but I when I go to toilet its a liquid and I have red blood. Is this normal and why would … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (February 2016)

Question: Is it safe to take anti acids with my loop ileostomy? I take Tecta and I find that my output is mostly mucus and a horrendous smell afterward. Gaviscon isn’t as bad but still have mucus/sludgy output. Thanks for your time. Response: Yes it is safe to take antacids with an ileostomy. Antacids can … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (February 2016)

Question: My depression around my stoma is at the bottom and both sides. Hernia is at the top. I now use a coloplast or salts ring rolled into a worm shape. My wear time is not good lately. Should I use a full convex ring or try to double up at the depression. I think … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (January 2016)

Question: Hi my husband had a oleo stormy on Jan.5/16. Everything is going well but a couple of times he as the feeling he wants to move his bowels. The doctor told him that was normal and to go ahead. So when he did he had a lot of blood is this normal or should … … Continue reading

Ostomy Lifestyle Question (September 2015)

Question: Hi I have had mine for 8 years but in the past 3 weeks it is putting out more than u can imagine. The pain comes and goes drinking lots. I have no large bowel left and not much of small. Had to have rectum removes as well. I have a diease called DIGITS … … Continue reading