Living with a colostomy bag is like changing your life completely. You not only have to look after your overall health and well-being but also maintain good health and hygiene of your colostomy bag. Proper and frequent cleaning of the colostomy bag is extremely crucial for individuals who have undergone colostomy surgery. Since the colostomy bag contains waste material and is connected to your stoma, there are likely chances of infection of your stoma.
This article will reveal all the basic and necessary information about colostomy bags which will be followed by a step-by-step guide on how to clean a colostomy bag, offering practical tips and advice for optimal hygiene and peace of mind.
These are special medical devices that are used to collect your bodily waste and gases from your stoma that is created in your large intestine. A colostomy bag is a combination of a pouch that collects fecal matter and a flange or wafer that is directly attached to the skin.
Colostomy bags can be categorized into different types based on whether the pouch is integrated as a non-detachable part of the bag or is designed to be detachable. These are:
One-piece bag:It’s the type of colostomy bag where the flange and the pouch are joined together. In this situation, it’s best to swap out the entire bag with a new one rather than trying to empty it.
Two-piece bag: This type of colostomy bag includes a flange that sticks to your skin and a pouch that connects to the flange. You only replace the pouch when needed. The flange can be used for about two or three days before it needs to be changed.
HOW TO CLEAN A COLOSTOMY BAG (Step by Step)
- Soft towel or baby wipes
- Warm water
- Mild non-scented soaps
- A clean cloth or toilet paper
- A plastic bag for disposing of used supplies
- Disposable or reusable gloves (as per your preference)
First of all, look for a well-lit and comfortable space for the process. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This crucial step helps prevent the introduction of harmful bacteria into the colostomy bag.
Empty the contents of bag
Start by emptying the contents of the colostomy bag into the toilet. To do this, open the clamp at the bottom of the bag, or if you have a one-piece system, detach the bag from the adhesive barrier and empty it.
You may sit forward or backward on the toilet seat. You may even sit squat in front of the toilet. You can use any position that seems comfortable to you.
Clean the colostomy pouch:
Once the bag is emptied completely, clean the inside and outside of the bag using wet wipes and then rinse it using warm water and soap. Be thorough but gentle, as rigorous scrubbing may damage the bag. Rinse the bag thoroughly, ensuring there is no soap residue left.
Add colostomy deodorant if you desire
If you are using a two-piece pouching system where you can replace the bag from the skin barrier, then it is recommended to carefully remove the bag from the skin barrier to avoid any irritation or damage to the surrounding skin.
Clean the skin barrier:
When you remove the bag you can now focus on cleaning the skin barrier.
Dampen a clean cloth or paper towel with warm water and a small amount of mild, unscented soap. Gently wipe the skin barrier and surrounding skin to remove any adhesive residue, fecal matter, or adhesive buildup. Ensure you rinse well and pat the area dry.
Dry the bag:
Once you’ve cleaned the bag, let it air dry while you use a towel to clean the skin around your stoma. Make sure that both the bag and the skin are entirely dry before putting them back together.
Reassemble the colostomy bag:
Reattach the bag to the adhesive barrier or close the clamp at the bottom of the bag. Make sure it’s securely in place to prevent any leakage.
Dispose of waste properly:
Dispose of all the cleaning supplies you’ve used, such as wipes and paper towels, along with any waste from the colostomy bag, into a plastic bag. It’s important to seal the plastic bag tightly to contain any odors or potential contamination. Once the bag is securely sealed, you can safely discard it in your household trash. Proper disposal ensures that everything remains sanitary and doesn’t cause any inconvenience or health concerns.
Wash your hands again:
After completing the entire colostomy bag cleaning process, it’s crucial to take the extra step of thoroughly washing your hands once again. This not only serves as a final assurance of cleanliness but also plays a significant role in preventing any potential cross-contamination. By carefully washing your hands one more time, you help ensure that no harmful bacteria or pathogens from the cleaning process are left on your hands, reducing the risk of any health issues. Proper hand hygiene is an essential practice to maintain your well-being and overall hygiene.
Keeping your colostomy bag clean is super important for staying clean and comfy. Regular cleaning doesn’t just stop smells and skin problems but also makes you feel better overall. Don’t forget to get all your stuff ready, find a good spot to clean, and always wash your hands. Just follow the steps we talked about, and after a while, cleaning your colostomy bag will be just another thing you do every day. It helps you stay active and feel great!