For many ostomates, minimizing ostomy bag odor can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Thankfully, there are products and home remedies available to help minimize pouch odor, ranging from using a pouch filter, trying a lubricating deodorant, or even putting a Tic-Tac in your ostomy bag. If you struggle with this issue, follow along as we look at six ways of minimizing ostomy bag odor.
1. Regular Pouch Maintenance
One of the best ways to reduce pouch odor is to regularly clean and maintain your ostomy bag. For new ostomates, this process may take some trial and error, like figuring out when is the best time to empty your ostomy bag. Emptying your ostomy bag regularly will help minimize ostomy bag odor by reducing the amount of time your output is sitting in your pouch. Typically, you should empty your ostomy bag when it is anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 full. If you are unsure or have any questions, consult your doctor or Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurse to figure out what will work best for you.
2. Be Mindful of Your Eating Habits
Some foods are known to cause gas to build up and ultimately worsen odor. These foods contain fructose, lactose, insoluble fiber, and starch that ferments within the large intestine, and gas is released as they are broken down. If you are worried about pouch odor, it may be a good idea to cut back or substitute some of the foods listed below.
If you have any questions or dietary restrictions, consult with your doctor or dietitian before starting a new diet or cutting back on any foods you regularly eat.
3. Try a Pouch Filter
Using a pouch filter is another way to easily prevent ostomy pouch odor. Ostomy pouch filters allow excess gas and air to be released, preventing your pouch from ‘ballooning’ too much, which can weaken the seal. Most ostomy bags allow for a filter to be introduced into the system. If you find that your pouch filter is failing, you may want to consider changing your pouch more often or using a 2-piece system, which we will go over in tip six.
4. Use Ostomy Deodorant
Ostomy pouch deodorant is designed to help eliminate or neutralize ostomy odor from the inside of your ostomy pouch. There are a variety of pouch deodorants on the market, typically liquid or gel, that can be poured into your ostomy pouch every time you empty your pouch or change your pouching system. At Medical Monks, we recommend using a lubricating deodorant which not only helps eliminate odor but also helps to reduce static and sticking during the emptying process.
Remember odor is a normal occurrence that everyone experiences, but it doesn’t have to reduce your quality of life. There are several products available to reduce ostomy bag odor and ensure that you can keep the details of your private life a secret.
Essential Odor-Eliminating Products
Formulated to eliminate/neutralize ostomy bag odor without any added fragrances to mask odor, Vitus Ostomy Lubricating Deodorant can help lubricate your pouch while eliminating odor. Available in three convenient sizes.
5. Emergency Deodorizers
If you’re in a pinch, using an everyday deodorizer can help minimize pouch odor. In emergency cases, ostomates have been known to try air fresheners, Tic-Tacs, and Poo-Pourri to minimize pouch odor, but any deodorizer, like body spray, may help. While these DIY methods can help in the short term, we don’t recommend routine use of them, as they often use perfumes and artificial scents to only mask odor in the short term. They may also cause skin irritation for those with sensitive skin.
6. Try a New Ostomy Bag
If any of the above methods don’t seem to work and your ostomy bag odor persists, it may be time to try a new ostomy bag. Many ostomates struggle with ostomy bags that don’t fit properly. An improper fit causes the seal between the body and the bag to weaken, which will inevitably cause odor and may even cause waste to leak out. At Medical Monks, we offer many varieties, shapes, and sizes of ostomy bags to choose from, but the most popular pouching systems include:
- 1-Piece Pouches: 1-piece ostomy pouches are a single appliance that includes both the bag and the skin barrier, also called a flange or base plate. The benefits of 1-piece pouches include less bulkiness, easier securement, and quicker application.
- 2-Piece System: A 2-piece ostomy system comprises a skin barrier – aka base plate or flange – that attaches to your stoma and a separate pouch that affixes to the barrier. Ostomates with sensitive skin tend to prefer 2-piece systems since you don’t have to remove and replace the base plate as often as a 1-piece pouch.
Choosing a 2-piece ostomy system over a 1-piece is entirely a personal decision, as both pouching systems are equally effective. You may want to talk with your doctor or Wound, Ostomy and Continence nurse about which pouching system is best for you.
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