Ostomy Odor Control

Odour is one of the first significant concerns new ostomates experience. You should not experience odour unless you are emptying or changing your pouch.

Colostomies

Colostomies

tend to emit more odour than ileostomies because of the abundance of bacteria in the colon. The smell is much less evident when sigmoid and descending colostomies are irrigated.

Ileostomates

Ileostomates

experience almost continual peristaltic waves, which sweep the ileum and prevent stagnation of the intestinal contents, thereby eliminating much of the bacterial growth that occurs with colostomies.

Urine

Urine

has a characteristic smell, but a foul odour could be a sign of infection.

Certain foods

Certain foods

will affect the odour of both feces and urine, which includes eggs, onions, spicy foods, cabbage, and fish, to name a few. You may want to cut down on your consumption of these if the odour is bothering you.

Proper appliance application

Proper appliance application

is critical to avoid odour-causing leaks.

Emptying regularly

Emptying regularly

is essential, but just as crucial to odour control is wiping out the inside of the end of the pouch tail before you close the pouch.

Pouch Deodorant

All the major companies offer bottles of liquid ostomy deodorant. Different products as individual body chemistry make a difference in how well each brand works. A few drops in the pouch can help dispel unwanted smells. Several ostomy manufacturers also offer gels and liquids that lubricant and deodorizer simultaneously.

InternalDeodorant Products

  • Devrom (bismuth subgallate) is a popular over-the-counter tablet available through your ostomy products supplier or at some pharmacies. Take these chewable tablets right after you eat a meal or more frequently throughout the day, depending on how much effect you want. Devrom is pretty effective if you take it regularly. Most people report it eliminates or reduces gas and stool odour. The drawbacks are you have to carry and remember to take the tablets.
  • Chlorophyll capsules also produce a similar effect, neutralizing the bacteria, which produces excess odour in fecal matter and gas. Devrom can turn your stool very dark, and chlorophyll can turn your stool green, which is harmless. You’ll need to experiment with internal deodorants to find which works better and how much to take.
  • Powdered Charcoal supplements are ineffective and can contribute to blockages in some individuals. Do not take these internally for odour control.

Food that may help:

Cranberry juice may help reduce odour for urostomates.

Parsley is one of nature’s best deodorizers. Next time you get a sandwich with parsley garnish, don’t throw it away!
Probiotic yogurt may cut down on odour in some individuals

TIME & PATIENCE

Some people find that their appliances develop an odour that they dislike despite their best efforts. Body chemistry is different, and some people can wear one brand without annoyance while others think it smells. Perhaps your appliance fits you well, you’re not getting leaks, and nobody else can smell anything. Changing the pouch more frequently often helps. Ask a family member to tell you if they think you smell. At first, you’ll be more self-conscious about ostomy scent, and this is perfectly normal. Give it time and patience to get used to your ostomy.
Source: A Handbook for New Ostomy Patients. Used with permission from Debra Rooney, Vancouver Ostomy Chapter.
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