How I look after my stoma and surrounding skin

How I look after my stoma and surrounding skin

It can be very difficult to keep the skin around your stoma pain free, especially if you have other issues like fistula or uneven skin. It can be trial and error with solutions and bags. One tends to carry on with whatever bag is offered in hospital and struggle through because we don’t know any different. But, the truth is there are lots of different bags/appliances/pouches available to try, you just need to do some online research and then order some samples. I started off with a two piece system but began to get itchy skin that caused soreness, which is so uncomfortable and can be dreadful for a lot of ostomates.

I went to see my stoma nurse who suggested a one piece system with an Eakin seal. The seal was because I have a fistula right at the base of my stoma where poo comes out of, so I have to be extra careful with the fitting of the bags. The bag was a mini size which is fine for me, it is neat and I just empty the same as before. This might not be suitable for everyone because they may have high output, but for me it was wonderful.

I like to change my bags every 2 to 3 days, I can usually tell that it’s time because I start itching a bit again. I sit up on the bed with all my kit beside me and get to work. I use an adhesive remover spray to remove the bag, if I didn’t I would definitely get sore.

I use tissues and luke warm water to clean the area, then I like to use an adhesive remover wipe to get the sticky residue from the seal off my skin. I rinse the skin again to get rid of the chemicals (you don’t have to do this but I have very sensitive skin).

The next important step if I have time (and I usually do this when I have plenty of time) is to air the skin for a good half hour, even an hour if I can. Yes I get through some tissues if my stoma is active, but most times it isn’t too bad.
This gives my skin lots of time to breathe and repair if problems. I will spray a barrier spray twice and leave it to dry.

Then I will put the seal on and the bag. I am lucky that I manage to keep things pretty healthy, whether that’s pure luck with good skin and shape of tummy etc or if it’s because I take the time to prepare etc I don’t know, all I can say is try different things to suit you, don’t be afraid to order samples and change your prescription.