Common Stoma Problems

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Preventing and helping the less desirable outcomes of living with a stoma and using a stoma pouch 

Many people find that, once their stoma settles after surgery, they can continue life with few issues. However, there are a couple of less desirable outcomes of living with a stoma that you may experience and which are quite common. 

The good news is that most of these can be helped, or even prevented, through a combination of product and diet or lifestyle choices and good stoma care.

Stoma Odour

If you find yourself worrying about smells coming from your stoma pouch, it might help to remember that you're probably much more conscious of this than anybody else is. If you feel like it may be a problem, you could try asking somebody you trust, like a close friend or family member. There are a few ways you can try to decrease or cover any stoma pouch odour, though.

Some people find that particular foods can increase odour from their stoma pouch - these foods include:

  • Fish, eggs, asparagus, onions, green vegetables, cheese, baked beans, cucumber

You might want to use trial and error to see whether any other foods cause problems and then avoid them if necessary.

Finding an ostomy deodorant spray that you like the smell of (there are a number available, in a variety of different fragrances) might help you feel more confident after emptying your stoma pouch. You can call the SecuriCare team any time on 0808 256 5400 (for new customers) or 0800 318 965 if you already use SecuriCare if you'd like to learn more about these. 

Wind with a stoma

Everybody passes wind - sometimes in embarrassing situations! - whether or not they have a stoma. It can make you feel even more self-conscious, though, when you have a stoma, especially if you have a particularly active and 'vocal' stoma. Here are some tips which may help you take control of the amount of wind you produce:

  • Chew your food properly instead of gulping it down - this means you swallow less air while you eat
  • Don't talk while eating
  • Fizzy drinks and beers have a lot of bubbles in them that introduce gas into your system. Gently shaking fizzy drinks, pouring them into a glass or letting them stand for 10 minutes before drinking can help reduce the amount of bubbles
  • Avoid irregular meal times
  • Be aware that there certain foods that are notorious for causing wind, particularly for ostomates: green vegetables, fruit, nuts, peas, onions, sweetcorn, eggs and beans 

Diarrhoea with a stoma

Watery, loose output from your stoma can be caused by certain foods, such as highly spiced foods, beans, peas, chocolate, prunes, spinach and raw fruit. However, diarrhoea can also be triggered by factors other than food, such as drinking a lot of alcohol, emotional upset, stress or strain. It can also be a side-effect of some medication. In addition, certain bacteria and viruses can give you diarrhoea. Whilst you might want to address temporary diarrhoea with a motion management product to thicken up your output, if the problem persists with no obvious cause, you should always see your doctor to check for any underlying issues and avoid dehydration.

Our SecuriCare bloggers have plenty of first-hand advice and support for living with a stoma and dealing with stoma bag problems. Read some of their top tips for coping with common stoma care challenges.

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