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How to Eliminate Ostomy Odor

Colostomy is an effective solution that improves the quality of life for many individuals struggling with bowel-related diseases. Embracing colostomy comes with numerous advantages; however, one of the biggest challenges every ostomate faces is managing and eliminating ostomy odor.

No doubt, a frequently asked question is, “My colostomy bag smells, how do I get rid of it?” While modern colostomy bags are designed to minimize odor, certain situations can still cause unwanted smells. Nobody wants to smell their body waste. This isn’t very pleasant and reduces ostomates’ confidence, leading them to avoid social gatherings.

This article will discuss the causes of ostomy odor and how it can be eliminated so that ostomates can maintain confidence and comfort in daily life.

What causes Ostomy Odor?

Ostomy odor can be a concern for many ostomates, and understanding its causes is the first step in managing and eliminating it effectively. Various factors contribute to ostomy odor, including dietary choices, hydration levels, the condition of the ostomy appliance, and overall stoma care. Let’s delve into these factors in more detail.

  1. Dietary Choices

Foods that Cause Odor:

Certain foods are notorious for causing strong odors in colostomy output. These include:

Garlic and Onions: These contain sulfur compounds that can lead to strong-smelling waste.

Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts can produce gas and strong odors.

Fish and Eggs: as they are protein-rich foods, so they create a very distinct smell.

Asparagus: consuming it produces lots of smell in your waste as it is known for its strong odor.

Spicy Foods:  Spicy foods do not produce odor but yes they are effective in increasing the intensity of odor.

Gas-Producing Foods:

Foods that cause gas can also contribute to odor issues such as beans and frizzy drinks.

Related: How to Use Adapt Ostomy Pouch Lubricating Deodorant

  1. Improper Bag Maintenance

Infrequent Bag Changes:

Not changing the colostomy bag frequently enough can lead to a buildup of waste, which intensifies the odor. Bags should be changed as recommended by your healthcare provider, usually every 3-5 days or as needed.

Leaks and Poor Adhesion:

If the bag is not properly sealed, there are bright chances of output leakages which is one of the major causes of ostomy odor. Always make sure that the bag fits well and adhere correctly to the skin,

  1. Dehydration:

Due to lack of water in the body aka Dehydration, your urine and stool become more concentrated which leads to a stronger odor. Adequate hydration helps dilute the waste, reducing odor intensity.

  1. Stoma Site Infections:

One of the possible reasons for ostomy odor is the infection at the site of the stoma. This creates unusual and strong odors. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, and unusual discharge.

  1. Poor Personal Hygiene

Not cleaning the skin around the stoma properly can lead to odor. It’s essential to clean the area thoroughly with mild soap and water, ensuring it is dry before applying a new bag.

How to Eliminate Ostomy Odor

To be honest, an Ostomy bag will produce a smell because it holds bodily waste material that has different chemicals and waste products in it.  So, arousal of smell from ostomy bag is genuine. We can’t completely get rid of the smell, but yes we can manage the odor by applying different tips and tricks and using different products. Here are some of the effective ways that are pretty proven to eliminate ostomy odor.

  1. Avoid odor-producing foods:

After ostomy surgery, it’s crucial to monitor your consumption of different kinds of foods and beverages. The foods and drinks you consume can significantly impact the odors and gas produced, affecting your overall comfort and confidence.

Avoid gas-producing foods such as beans and frizzy drinks. Also, it’s best to avoid alcohol.

  • Avoid High-Fiber, Spicy, and Acidic Foods as they can lead to excessive gas, thereby, contributing to ostomy odor. Foods like beans, broccoli, onions, cabbage, dairy products, and certain fruits like apples, peaches, and mangoes should be consumed in moderation.
  • Reduces intake of odor-intensifying foods. Foods like asparagus, fish, garlic, and onions are known to intensify urine odor and should be consumed in moderation if odor is a concern.
  • Staying hydrated dilutes the concentration of your urine, reducing the pungency of odors.
  • Incorporate Odor-Reducing Food such as yogurt, parsley, and cranberry juice can help neutralize odors.
  1. Empty Your Ostomy Pouch Regularly:

To effectively manage ostomy odor, make it a habit to empty your ostomy pouch regularly. Allowing waste to accumulate will result in stronger odors. Always empty your pouch when it is about one-third to half full. Don’t wait for the bag to fill completely as it will cause the bag to become heavy and there might be chances of loosening the seal leading to leaks and increased odor.

If you are a new ostomate it’s better to consult your doctor or nurse about the best practice for emptying your pouch. Based on your food and beverage consumption, you should expect to empty your pouch one to three times a day. Some types of ostomies may require more frequent emptying and care.

  1. Use of Ostomy Deodorants:

We understand that a smelly ostomy bag can be very distressing. However, there are several ostomy deodorants available online that can effectively neutralize the odor inside the colostomy bags. These deodorants are a fantastic invention, providing ultimate confidence and peace of mind for ostomates.

These deodorizing products come in various forms such as drops, sprays, and tablets. Above all, they are really very easy to use. Deodorizing products are used for all types of ostomy pouches such as colostomy, urostomy, and ileostomy. Some of the best ostomy odor eliminators include:

M9 Odor Eliminator Drops: A few drops in the bag effectively neutralize odor.

Devrom Chewable Tablets: Internal deodorant that reduces odor from the inside out.

Na’Scent Odor Eliminator: A spray that eliminates odor without masking it with fragrance.

  1. Use a filter for pouch:

One of the effective ways to manage odor control is to use filters in the pouching system. These filters work by absorbing odor while allowing gas to escape from the pouch. Most ostomy pouches are designed to accommodate these filters directly. If your pouch doesn’t have this feature, you can easily attach a filter before wearing it, ensuring it works just as effectively to keep odors under control

  1. Check for Leaks and Proper Fit:

When you feel any smell from the ostomy bag, the first and foremost thing that you have to do is to check the seal of the barrier ring to the peristomal skin. If the skin barrier doesn’t fit properly to the skin, there will be a high chance of output leakage.

Before applying the barrier ring, always make sure that the skin around the stoma is dry and clean. Never use any oily product around the stoma as it will interfere with the adhesion of the barrier ring. It is advisable to use ostomy protective powders around the stoma that will absorb moisture and increase the wear time of your stoma bag.

Conclusion

In conclusion, managing and eliminating ostomy odor is vital for ostomates to maintain comfort and confidence. While complete odor elimination may not be feasible due to the bodily waste nature, effective strategies can control and minimize it. Using high-quality medical-grade ostomy supplies and pouches with filters can prevent leakage and enhance the ostomy experience. Just as we use deodorants and perfumes to mask body odor, incorporating ostomy deodorants into the maintenance routine is essential for odor control and improved quality of life.

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