Stoma bag ballooning – worse in the beginning
When I first got my stoma there wasn’t much that didn’t cause my bag to balloon, which is where your stoma bag blows up with wind or even blows off completely. But the good news is that, once my stoma had settled, the ballooning stopped happening so much. When you consider that the average human passes wind 14 times a day, ballooning is something that can be a daily occurrence but it’s rare to get it so bad that you look like you have an airship shoved down the front of your jeans. The majority of stoma bags have charcoal filters that deodorise and allow the escape of gas but these can easily become blocked with moisture from inside the bag.
Fizzy drinks and ‘burping’ your stoma bag
For me, something that is guaranteed to make my bag balloon is fizzy drinks. Quite aptly, the way to resolve this quickly is to ‘burp’ your bag. This can be done anywhere you wouldn’t be embarrassed to pass wind but I normally try to do it in a bathroom.
Remove your bag from your clothing and hold the outlet up towards you, so that your bag is in a U shape, open the outlet and slowly press down on the bag so that only the air is expelled.
Ballooning and flying
Ballooning can be worrying when you are flying in an aeroplane; my first thought was “will my stoma bag expand in the air like an unopened crisp packet does” (yes I was ‘that’ person who called the Ostomy Helpline to ask that question). The good news is it doesn’t, so you don’t have to worry about becoming known as a poop bomber, because your bag has exploded. To be on the safe side, and also for comfort, I always visit the toilet next to the departure gate to burp my bag and get it as flat as possible before my flight.
Dealing with day-to-day ballooning
For day-to-day ballooning, a good pair of support pants like Comfizz, a belly band or hernia support belt will hide any ballooning under your clothes without compromising the bag. At no point will it look like you have ‘Alien’ trying to escape from the side of your abdomen.
A common home remedy is peppermint tea which is a good preventative measure for when you are feeling gassy or like you have trapped wind. A cup of this seems to disperse the gas without it coming out via the bag. If you can’t stand the taste of peppermint tea then peppermint capsules are available and just as effective.
I hope that some of these tips which have worked for me will be of help to you too!