Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert

Sensitive Skin Issues

Question:

I had my ileostomy operation in 1971 and I am now 74 years of age. About six years ago, I noticed that my abdominal shape was changing, presumably losing some muscle tone with age. My skin is super sensitive to any adhesives and for all these years I have been using Torbot colly-seels on the skin with a “traditional” Marlin flange and bag and, of course, a belt.  I’ve always had occasional problems with leaks but the last six years with my abdominal shape changing, the leaks are much more common. I actually have been able for a few years to use 3M micropore tape, picture framing the flange except I can’t use it on the bottom as my skin will become irritated within a few weeks. I also have had some success with Skin Tac H to improve the seal between my skin and the Colly-seel, thereby cutting down on leaks.

I am currently trying the Coloplast system but they forgot to send me adhesive remover wipes so the first time I changed it, I basically had to rip it off and the skin was badly damaged. On the positive side, I’ve never had anything stick that well to my skin and I have had no leaks with this system over the last 16 days but my skin is still suffering despite using their powder and barrier wipes. In my searches online I found out about the Windsor ostomy support group (I was in Montreal for 45 years and just moved to Windsor for years ago) and I attended their meeting a couple of weeks ago and through Beth Reitsma a company called Salts, a British company contacted me and are sending me their products which are infused with aloe vera and may help my skin to tolerate their sealing system.

My question is basically, given my super sensitive skin, is there any other system that is worth trying. I have really appreciated not having any leaks the last 16 days and I’m sleeping better as I gain confidence that I won’t have a leak in the middle of the night so I’m hoping I don’t have to default back to the Colly-seel system. I know ultimately I could have an internal pouch but I’d really like to avoid surgery and would probably just put up with the leaks.
Any help you can give would be very much appreciated.

Response:

Thank you for your excellent question.

You bring up many good points.  Our bodies do change as we age.  When someone has a stoma for many years, sometimes they do not see the subtle changes to the abdominal contours around the stoma.  It can be difficult to see and assess these changes yourself.  

We have NSWOC nurses (nurses specializing in wound, ostomy, and continence). You can find one of these specialized nurses in your area by following this link https://memberscaet.ca/find.phtml    

You can also start to assess your abdomen and skin and stoma by using this assessment guide which also provides suggestions.

http://psag-consumer.wocn.org/#home

Ostomy manufacturers and NSWOC nurses acknowledge that peoples’ skin can react to different ostomy products and pouching systems.  

There has been a lot of development of ostomy pouching systems since when you first had surgery in 1971.

You can call the manufacturers and ask for samples.  (A list is under resources in the above-mentioned assessment guide http://psag-consumer.wocn.org/#question-one). You can test patch the products to see how they react on your skin.  To test patch, cut a piece of the barrier and tape if it has it and place it on the other side of your abdomen from your stoma.  See how it reacts, if no immediate reaction, remove that test patch piece after 3-4 days, wash and dry your skin and reapply another test patch.  If your skin reacts, you know it is not the product for you.  If it does not react, you may want to try it around your stoma. 

We hope this information will be helpful.

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.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: