Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert

Pouch Size Problems

January 2018


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 no accidents happen and is not getting her proper sleep. She did arrange for another type bag which she said comes almost down to her knees – my question is “are there only two sizes? She did contact her ostomy supplier and this is what she was told. Can you give me more information or who we could contact to discuss this problem or a supplier that has various sizes

Thank you very much for any assistance you can give us


Ostomy pouches come in many sizes, the most common of these are as follows:

Small or mini – These pouches have a very small capacity and are best used in situations where you don’t expect much output in a short period of time (i.e. during intimacy). Ostomates who irrigate their stoma often use these smaller pouches more regularly.

Medium pouch (7 inches in length and approximately 400 – 500 ml capacity). This size pouch offers medium output storage.

Large pouch (12 inches in length and approximate 600-650 ml capacity). It is a common size used by many ileostomates.

X-Large (most have a capacity of 1200 ml). These larger pouches are used for high-output stomas. They are useful for ileostomates, for folks with short bowel syndrome, or jejunostomates. Most designs have a spout outlet convenient for handling a mostly liquid output.

Night drain pouches. Some manufacturers have designed a pouch for overnight use. (These pouches have a capacity of nearly 2000 ml). Ostomate with high-output use these pouches to help them get a full night’s sleep.

Basically, when deciding on a pouch, you will want to go with something that is large enough to hold enough of the output in order not to feel rushed to empty it.

Finding the right type of ostomy supplies:

Finding the right type of ostomy supplies is an essential element for living well with an ostomy. After surgery, we leave the hospital wearing a particular brand of ostomy equipment. Many people stay with their initial brand and live happily. However, there is more than one manufacturer of ostomy supplies. Your NSWOC is a good source of information on new products and for supplier recommendations. Your choice of both product type and place of purchase is limited only by your personal requirements.

Many of the ostomy equipment manufacturers are very helpful in choosing the equipment that may work for your sister. She has consulted with her ostomy nurse for information and recommendations for her particular situation. Remembering that every person is different she will need to find what works best for her. Many of the ostomy equipment manufacturers have specialists on staff who will discuss equipment issues, they will come up with a recommendation, and will send a sample supply for use, (free of charge), and then will follow up within a certain time frame. Most have knowledgable nurse(s) or other staff available to answer any questions. Call the manufacturer’s toll-free 800 number and request to speak with one of the professional representatives, after their recommendation, ask for a free sample.

Following is a shortlist of manufacturers, it is important to note that the list is not in any particular order of preference, nor are they an “Ask the Ostomy Lifestyle Expert”, recommendation of any sort. In my experience, all of the manufacturers and there are many, provide superior supplies and services. The following is a small list that has been compiled to be a quick resource list only to get you started, there are many manufacturers that you may prefer to contact. For additional manufacturers, check with your E.T. Nurse.

Sample Makers of Ostomy Systems:

Coloplast Canada
2401 Bristol Circle
Suite A205
Oakville, Ontario
L6H 5S9

ConvaTec Ltd
1425 Trans-Canada Highway, Suite 100
Dorval, Quebec
H9P 2V3

Hollister Incorporated Canada
95 Mary Street,
Aurora, Ontario
L4G 1G3
Tel: 800-263-7400 – 1-888-740-8999

B.Braun Canada
Suit 504
6711 Mississauga Road
Mississauga, Ontario
L5M 2W3
Toll Free number : 1 855 822 7286

Wishing your sister a full night sleep and sweet dreams.


Our friends over at Nurses Specialized In Wound, Ostomy And Continence Canada [NSWOCC] (formerly called The Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy (CAET)) have renamed their handy look-up page on their website. It was formerly called “Find An ET Nurse” and is now called “Find a NSWOC“. Click on the image to the left or link here to go to their site.

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