If you have a urostomy, then I am sure you’ll also do the 'little pat and wipe' with your hands over your clothes throughout the day, just like me. I call it the "Just To Check" pat.
No matter how much of an expert you are or how long you’ve had your stoma, you will at some point experience leakage.
This can happen at any point, place or time and there doesn't really seem to be anything you can do to stop them. In my experience they usually happen when I’m feeling a little smug or over confident (I should really pay attention to my own words here).
I know just how embarrassing it is, how mortified we feel, as the warm trickle of pee spreads onto our clothes, soaking them within seconds.
If you’re lucky, you will catch the leak early and find a loo in order to change your bag and your clothes. However, if you’re more like me, it’s normally too late and the leak is of epic proportions.
Sometimes the reason for the leak can be attributed to a ‘bad batch’ of bags or maybe you were in a hurry to change your pouch and it didn’t stick properly… or maybe you forgot how long you had your bag on for and it was time for a change anyway. This always happens to me as I am a lazy changer, only changing my bag when I absolutely have to change it!
In the early days of having your stoma, you’ll likely try out a few brands of bags to find what works for you.
I use convex urostomy bags because I have a bit of a belly on me. This type of pouch helps with recessed, retracted or poorly-sited stomas. I found these bags tended to leak around my ‘sit down crease’ so was advised to try a barrier ring. This is an oval or ring shaped item that fits around the stoma. The bag can then be placed over it, giving a more secure and fitted feel.
Another thing that I tried was a stoma belt, which is basically a belt made out of cotton with a Velcro fastening at both ends. You can loop the belt through the plastic handles on your stoma belt and pull it snuggly to fit your body. I normally use this when I first change my bag in order to help it stick to my body without the fear of gaps.
A friend recently sent me some stoma tape - curved pieces of silicone which you place around the bags edges. These are great and have currently replaced the Velcro belt for me. The only problem I have is that they really do stick to the skin and I’m starting to get a little sore around my stoma, even though I use my barrier wipes for protection.
Leaks are a common part of living with a urostomy and it’s something we have to get used to; I think the trick is to be prepared for them, in whatever situation you are in.
Have a bag with all your supplies in, as well as a change of clothes. Make sure that you replenish what you use, when you use it. Don't be like me and leave your bag at home, as it isn't going to help you there!
Acceptance is vital, we need to accept that no matter how often we change our bags, or how many times we check it, leaks are inevitable, they can’t be helped (okay, so sometimes they can) it’s how we deal with it that matters.
Would you like to sample products to help with stoma leaks? SecuriCare’s sister company, CliniMed, have a variety of options that may be suitable for you, including: