Sore Skin With A Urostomy

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I’m in my third year of living with 'Sally stoma’. You might think that I’m almost an expert on living with a stoma... BUT just when I think I have cracked the early morning leaks and successfully wearing a bag out and about (without leaks), something always seems to happen. I think they call it Sod’s Law!

From sore skin around the stoma area, to bumps and crystallisation of urine on the skin. Living with a urostomy isn’t as easy as it should be.

We need to take care of our stomas and the area surrounding it, including the skin on our stomachs where the bags attach – known as the peristomal skin. Otherwise, we can get all sorts of irritations, lumps, bumps, and infections.

Throughout 2020 I noticed these things appearing around the edge of my stoma. They looked like little lumps with bits on them. The first time they appeared I very softly and carefully cleaned around the area as it is extremely close to where the stoma was stitched to my skin. That area is super sensitive and can bleed very easily. I decided to keep a close eye on it. Unfortunately, it didn’t get any better and more crystals appeared.

I sent a photo to my Stoma Care Nurse, who saw the photos and replied to say,“It looks like over granulation and crystallisation of urine on the skin,” she suggested washing the area with a 1:1 vinegar and water solution.

I had no idea this could happen, and duly followed her instructions. I am pleased to say it helped. It seems that we need to be on the lookout for changes in, on and around our stomas.

A tip from me for taking your bags off when you have run of out remover spray, is to have a bath (with or without bubbles, your choice... I always have bubbles) and soak a flannel or sponge in the water then place it over the flange area, or just 'dunk' it a few times. Then start to peel the flange away. I guess it may be different with different types of bags. I use the Welland Manuka honey bags (available through SecuriCare’s sampling service) which are designed to be gentle on the skin. I also find that using a barrier wipe is so much easier than using the barrier spray. For me, the spray takes too long to dry whereas the wipe dries in seconds. I say this after chopping and changing over the years, but at the moment they are suiting my needs!

Keep a lookout for even the smallest of changes to the skin and stoma area.

Lookout for growths or swelling. Is it bleeding? Does it hurt? These would be warning signs to me and I would immediately contact my Stoma Care Nurse. If you try something different like a new product, it would be wise to do a test patch. A friend of mine recommended a product to help my bags stick firmly and securely to my stomach as I was having awful problems with my bags staying attached in the heat. It was a glue type solution. Did I read the instructions? Or did I just plaster it on my bag? (Hangs head in shame...) so after plastering the bag with the glue brush, I placed it on my tummy... within seconds it started to feel hot, very hot, and painful, really painful! After reading the instructions I should have done a test strip to see if it suited me. It had burnt my skin. It took agggeesss to feel better and I had to use lots of barrier spray.

Look out for changes in the colour of your stoma too.

Anything other than usual, could mean something is wrong, so seek medical attention as soon as you can. If you feel bulges around the stoma, this could be a hernia and you should also get this checked out.

Here’s to wishing 2021 is a lot better than 2020 (the year from hell)! I hope your Christmas was a nice one, however you celebrated. I guess we will remember Christmas 2020 as the ‘not normal one’. Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions? I’m going to try being more patient with everyone - 2020 has been a good year to learn patience and gratitude!

Wishing you a happy and joyous New Year,

Love and hugs,


“Keep a lookout for even the smallest of changes to the skin and stoma area.” - @big_british

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by Anita Brown

Anita Brown

About the author

Hi I’m Anita Brown. Diagnosed with terminal small cell bladder cancer in April 2016. I've had palliative chemo and radiotherapy, and a radical cystectomy and urostomy in August 2017.

I've had problems with my bladder all my life, from incontinence, to kidney and bladder stones, and now cancer. I would like to share some of my experiences - follow me on Twitter.

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