After you’ve undergone a procedure to have a stoma created, you’re recommended to use an ostomy system. This system consists of a pouch, a barrier plate or wafer, and supplies used to secure it to and around the stoma.
Ostomy pouches take a number of forms. In general, pouches are drainable, equipped with an open end requiring a clamp or clip to close, or they feature a closed design, which is fully sealed at the bottom and will be discarded during emptying.
Beyond these general differences, ostomy pouches use a one- or two-piece design. One-piece pouches structure the pouch and barrier together, requiring the full system to be detached during changes. Two-piece systems separate these components into a pouch that secures often with a snapping mechanism into the flange.
As well, barriers are shaped to offer a more secure fit around the stoma. Flat accommodates most patients, while convex is ideal for stomas requiring additional support. As well, explore barriers varying in flexibility to find what works for you, pre-cut and cut-to-fit solutions, and options with and without adhesive backing.
Regular ostomy use, as well as exposure to bodily fluids, has potential to irritate the peristomal region, resulting in broken, weeping, eroded or otherwise damaged skin. Beyond discomfort, these changes can affect the barrier’s security. Barrier sprays and wipes create a protective film that lessens irritation, allows the skin to heal and helps the wafer remain in place.
A secure fit can depend on how well the barrier plate aligns with the peristomal skin. Assistance may be needed, with ostomy paste helping fill in folds and cracks to create a flatter surface for the barrier.
Ostomy rings, seals and tapes provide a range of solution for helping the barrier stay in place, preventing leaks and detachment in the process. Solutions can be stretched or molded to create an even surface for the barrier plate.
Especially for re-used ostomy pouches, deodorant assists with reducing or eliminating odors and may prevent them from occurring in the first place. Solutions add a scent, help kill bacteria or provide a degree of lubrication.
Rather than use a pouch, individuals may opt to irrigate the stoma, which removes any bodily waste from the colon through the opening created. This process is often done on a schedule with a method similar to performing an enema. Supplies include an irrigation bag, catheter, cone and sleeve, along with lubrication.