Colostomy bags have indeed made life easier for ostomates. They can live their life freely without any fear of their ostomy output. But one thing that is challenging for ostomates is burping their colostomy bag to deal with the gas that collects in the colostomy bag. Accumulation of gas in the colostomy bag causes ballooning of the bag which means the colostomy bag will look like a puffer fish. This usually happens after waking up in the morning and can be embarrassing as it seems like the bag is full with the output.
Out of so many important aspects of colostomy care, one crucial aspect is to learn how to burp the colostomy bag which helps release gas and maintain a secure seal. Here we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to burp a colostomy bag, offering step-by-step instructions and valuable tips for a worry-free experience.
What is Burping a Colostomy Bag?
Burping in the context of a colostomy bag means, removing the gas manually from the bag. The gas which is produced by your digestive tract that would normally be released via a fart now has traveled into your colostomy bag and has accumulated there.
Ballooning is another term in the context of colostomy. Ballooning means the gas has accumulated in the bag which causes the bag the look like a blown balloon. Ballooning can not only cause the content of colostomy bags to leak but because the bag has inflated and become more noticeable it can make an ostomate more self-conscious of their bag.
Ballooning is also annoying, when you feel like your colostomy pouch has ballooned, you rush to the washroom with the plan of emptying your pouch but upon opening the pouch you find no output, only gas. Burping is a time-saving technique when ballooning occurs.
Burping a colostomy bag keeps your bag flat and safe against your body, this also reduces the risk of leaks and provides a high level of comfort and confidence.
WHEN SHOULD YOU BURP YOUR COLOSTOMY BAG?
You should burp your colostomy bag whenever you feel it becoming full or notice it beginning to balloon. Gas buildup in the bag can be uncomfortable, and if left unattended, it may lead to leaks or skin irritation. Listen to your body and pay attention to the signs that indicate it’s time to burp your colostomy bag.
HOW TO PREVENT BALLOONING?
Ballooning can be prevented by using a pouching system with filters. Filters reduce ballooning and have a deodorizing effect. One drawback is that they are effective only when they are new, with time they get clogged and stop functioning properly then you will have to change your pouching system.
Other than this, there are some useful tips and tricks to prevent colostomy bags from ballooning.
Do not consume gas-producing food:
Be mindful of your diet as it can play a significant role in minimizing gas production and bag ballooning. Certain foods tend to be more gas-inducing than others. These “culprits” include beans, specific fruits like apples and pears, certain vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, dairy products, grains, nuts, and fizzy drinks.
Chew your food properly:
If you have an ostomy your doctor will strictly recommend you to eat your food slowly and chew it properly. When you chew fast, air gets into your digestive system and causes bloating and flatulence. So to avoid this, eat slowly and peacefully.
Massage around your stoma:
An easy way to prevent bag ballooning is by gently massaging the area around your stoma to encourage any blockage to move. Another helpful method is to draw a warm bath or use a heating pad, which can relax your abdominal muscles and aid in passing a bowel movement.
HOW TO BURP A COLOSTOMY BAG- A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
BURPING METHOD WITH TWO-PIECE POUCHING SYSTEM:
First find a suitable and private location like a bathroom as the process can produce odors, and it’s essential to maintain privacy and dignity while performing this necessary task. Now unlock the click that holds together the wafer and the bag and carefully open the top to create a small space from which gas can escape. Before doing so, push the output to the bottom of the bag to avoid any mishap, also, apply pressure to the area around the wafer so that output does not leak out. This method really works best and is easier to burp a colostomy bag without any mess.
BURPING METHOD WITH ONE-PIECE POUCHING SYSTEM:
One of the simple and easy methods.
First find a suitable and private location like a bathroom as the process can produce odors, and it’s essential to maintain privacy and dignity while performing this necessary task.
Take your colostomy bag out from under your clothing and lift the outlet upwards.
This will shape your bag into a U. Now carefully open the outlet (at the bottom) and gently push down on the bag to release only the trapped air. Before doing so, push the output towards the top of the bag to avoid any mishap.
You can also do this method while lying on your back, as lying will prevent any output from coming out of the colostomy bag.
burping with both types of system is easy to do but if you are afraid of mess or don’t feel comfortable opening your pouch, then you can use Burp vents. These are small door-like valves, which you can easily open and close to easily let the gas out.
TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL BURPING
Listen to Your Body: Don’t wait until your bag is overly full to burp it. Pay attention to any discomfort or bloating, and burp the bag promptly.
Be Gentle: When opening and closing the end of the bag, handle it with care to avoid damaging the seal.
Use Deodorizers: If you’re concerned about odors, consider using deodorizing products designed for colostomy care. These can help reduce any unpleasant smells.
Regularly Empty the Bag: In addition to burping, empty your colostomy bag as needed to maintain comfort and hygiene. An empty bag is less likely to experience gas buildup.
Learning how to burp a colostomy bag is a vital skill for individuals who have undergone colostomy surgery. It ensures comfort, prevents complications, and maintains the security of the bag. By incorporating these helpful tips into your colostomy care routine, you can enjoy a worry-free experience and embrace a fulfilling life post-surgery.
Remember, everyone’s experience with colostomy care is unique, so it’s essential to adapt these instructions to your specific needs and preferences. Consult with your healthcare provider or a stoma nurse for personalized guidance and support on caring for your colostomy.