Patients new to ostomy care often find themselves with questions and concerns. Here are some Ostomy FAQ to help alleviate some of the common questions patients have:
1. When should an ostomy pouching system be changed?
Select a time that is convenient to change the ostomy pouching system based on your daily routine. For example, many ostomy wearers change theirs in the morning during shower or bath time prior to breakfast. If a later time of day is selected, it is advisable to wait at least 2 hours after mealtime.
2. How do I dispose of my soiled ostomy supplies?
Empty the ostomy pouch into a toilet and put the soiled system into a plastic bag for disposal. Use soft paper towels to clean the skin after removing the pouch and throw them into the plastic bag as well. These items can be disposed of with household garbage.
3. Can I swim or shower with my ostomy pouching system?
Ostomy supplies are designed to be waterproof. It is perfectly acceptable to get your ostomy system wet, however, any seals or adhesives may soften due to the water. It is recommended to empty your pouch prior to any water-based activities and dry them with a hair dryer on cool or a towel after. After a change, it is recommended to wait at least an hour before getting the system wet.
4. Can I shower without my ostomy system?
It is safe to shower without the ostomy system in place, however, there may be some drainage from the stoma. Avoid excessive water pressure directly on the stoma, but it can be rinsed using a gentle spray.
5. How do I deal with skin irritation from my ostomy pouching system?
Using the correct pouching system will minimize any skin irritation. It is advisable to use a wafer barrier no more than 1/8 inch from the stoma for the best protection. When applying the barrier, smooth the skin in order to provide the best seal and prevent leakage. Monitor any changes in the stoma size as this may affect the barrier used. Continue to check for any leaks and, if necessary, use a skin adhesive or paste to provide a more complete seal.
6. Are there best practices for keeping my ostomy system from leaking?
Shaving body hair around the stoma should help to reduce leakage and irritation. If you tend to perspire, there are ostomy powders that can be used to absorb moisture but they must be used in conjunction with an adhesive so the pouching system will stick. Make sure to empty the pouch when it is half full, and release any excessive gas buildup. There are adhesives and skin barrier pastes that may be used if there are persistent leaks.
Find more information about ostomy care and ostomy supplies online at Mountainside Medical Equipment, or call to speak with one of our helpful customer care associates for ordering information at 1-888-687-4334.