What is an Ostomy Bag?
An ostomy bag, also referred to as an ostomy pouch, is a medical device used to capture and collect body waste from an individual who has had an ostomy or ileostomy procedure. Ostomy procedures involve surgically creating an opening in the abdomen called a stoma. This stoma provides an exit route for body waste, such as urine or faeces, to be released from the body into a pouch or bag that is attached to the stoma.
Types of Ostomy Bags
There are many types of ostomy bags or pouches, but all are designed for the same purpose: the most common types are one-piece drainable, and two-piece closed bottom systems.
A one-piece system is a single unit that consists of a bag and adhesive flange that are already attached and is designed to be used for numerous days, before changing. This type of bag may be easier to use, but it is messy and exposes all the content of the pouch to the surrounding atmosphere when emptying. This is one of the major problems that most ostomates struggle with as it is very odorous. I have been told by many people who have an ostomy, they just stay at home, rather than take a chance at emptying their pouch in a public washroom.
Another disadvantage of this system is you still have residue left over in the pouch, which adds to odour and leaves most people feeling unclean and uncomfortable.
This is not a way to live. You do have options!
A two-piece system consists of two separate components: a pouch and a flange. The flange is a circular or square piece of plastic that is adhered to the skin around the stoma. The pouch is then attached to the flange and sealed around the stoma. This type of system is more customizable and allows for more flexibility in terms of size, shape, and materials. While this system may be more flexible, it also has it’s draw backs. One is cost, as these pouches are designed to be used only once, and then discarded. This is very expensive and not an environmentally friendly design, as it adds a huge amount of plastic waste to landfills. Some people will try washing the pouch after emptying, but this is not practical, unless you are in the comfort of your own bathroom. This is not something you would be doing in a public washroom, or a friend’s house. Another issue is that this system also requires that the user always carries extra set of supplies when they leave the house, in case they need to empty their pouch while they are out (i.e. spare pouches, air freshener, zip lock bags to dispose of used pouch, handy wipes etc.). This adds to the inconvenience, stress and the expense of this system.
The good news for the 2-piece system users, is that all the above issues can be resolved with the help of Colo-Majic Lines.
With Colo-Majic liners, your pouch stays perfectly clean, as no waist material touches the inside of your pouch. All you need is a few extra environmentally friendly biodegradable liners in your shirt pocket, or your purse and you are good to go anywhere, any time. It’s just that easy.
Ostomy Bag Supplies
When caring for an ostomy, there are some supplies you will need to have on hand. These include:
Pouches, wafers, pouch deodorant, air freshener, stoma cleaning wipes, barrier rings, stoma paste, just to name a few. There are many more ostomy products on the market for you to choose from. Colo-Majic offers the variety of products for most your ostomy needs.
Caring for an Ostomy
Caring for a stoma and the skin around it, is an important part of living with an ostomy. It is important to keep the skin around the stoma clean and dry. This can be done by gently washing the area around the stoma with warm water and mild soap. There are many products on the market to help with this. Additionally, it is important to change the wafer regularly, usually every 4 to 7 days. If you are using the Colo-Majic Liners with your pouch, you can reuse the same pouch as many times as you are comfortable with. This helps to reduce your costs, boost your confidence and helps saving the planet by reducing amount of plastic that is going into the landfills.
When attaching the pouch to the wafer, it is important to ensure that the pouch is properly secured to the wafer, to avoid any leaks. This can be done by starting to connect the bottom of the pouch ring to the bottom of the wafer ring. Then working your fingers up both sides of the ring at the same time. You should be able to feel it click in. There is usually a little air inside of the pouch after this process is completed. Gently push on the pouch. If no air escapes, you have a good seal. If the pouch flattens, you need to repeat this process to insure a tight seal.
Living with an ostomy can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and supplies, it doesn’t have to be. Understanding the basics of ostomy bag types, supplies and care, is the first step in managing your ostomy. With the right support and information, you can live a full and active life.