SecuriCare and Colostomy UK (link to www.colostomyuk.org) have teamed up to bring you our ‘Stoma Care Nurse Says’ blog series. In this series, SecuriCare’s Stoma Care Nurses will be giving you specialist advice about caring for your stoma.
In this blog, Helen Disley shares her top tips for ‘Finding The Perfect Stoma Products’…
“There are so many different stoma products on the market. Manufacturers are constantly updating and innovating new product ranges, which is great for the consumer but can make choice overwhelming especially for new ostomates.
In the early days after surgery, your Stoma Care Nurse will use their expertise and clinical judgement to help you find the most appropriate products for your needs. Achieving a good seal to the skin is top priority when choosing the correct pouch to reduce the risk of leakage and sore skin. Pouch security and comfort are vital during that early adjustment phase to help ostomates develop confidence and speed their journey towards acceptance.
However, the ability for an ostomate to browse or try different products is now easier than ever with social media and online sampling. Once recovered from your surgery and resuming normal activities you may wish to have a look at alternative appliances, so here is an overview of pouch features to look out for and compare, to help you find the right one for you.
Most pouch ranges come in various capacity sizes (usually ‘mini’, ‘midi’ and ‘maxi’). While the standard ‘midi’ size suits most, smaller sized people may prefer a smaller pouch. The ‘mini’ appliances may also be worn for swimming or intimate moments (bearing in mind that capacity will be reduced so the appliance may need emptying more frequently). A larger size can be useful for travelling or overnight.
We are all different shapes and sizes so you may wish to choose a flange that best fits your individual body shape. Convex shaped flanges are useful for poorly spouted stomas and concave pouches for those with outward body shapes such as parastomal hernias. There are also flanges in different sizes or with petalled edges that can mould better to your shape, especially if the skin contours around the stoma are uneven.
Manufacturers have modified the adhesives too, many have added skin friendly properties such as Manuka honey, aloe vera or vitamin E. So, if you find an appliance causes irritation you may prefer to try a product from a different range.
Some ostomates experience ballooning of their stoma appliance (when the bag fills with air). Although dietary adjustments may help to reduce ballooning it may also be helpful to try a pouch with a different filter.
The fabric covers of stoma appliances are now available in various textures and a choice of colour, too. This is very much personal choice so you may wish to look at alternative black, grey or white, which are designed to coordinate better with your clothing/underwear and make you feel confident.
Flushable colostomy pouches go a long way are a convenient way of managing your colostomy especially when travelling or at work.
1-piece vs 2-piece
1-piece ranges are more commonly chosen by ostomates because of their flange flexibility and low profile. However, newer 2-piece ranges are much less rigid than they used to be and are easier to put together. The baseplate can remain in place for 2-3 days providing the option to change the pouch without the need to clean and prepare the skin each time. It’s a balancing act between comfort and convenience which, once again, is down to personal choice.
Various accessory products can be used to protect the skin, prevent leaks, aid pouch security and increase comfort. These include powders, washers, pastes and flange extenders. Other accessories include deodorants, lubricating gels and stool thickeners. Discussion with your Stoma Care Nurse will help target your search for a suitable accessory product depending on your individual concerns or management issues.
It is advisable to wear a hernia support belt for sporting activities and you may use a stoma shield to protect the stoma during contact sports.
It is fantastic that there is so much choice – but please ask your Stoma Care Nurse (or stoma supplier) for guidance if you would like to try a new stoma pouch or accessory. They can provide appropriate samples from the many different ranges available which will help you to find your perfect products.
Need some advice? Contact S.T.A.R.S. today and we can arrange for you to speak with a Stoma Care Nurse within one working day of your call. Call 0808 115 5647 (9am – 6pm, Monday – Friday).
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by SecuriCare Team
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