Laura shares her tips on changing your appliance

Laura shares her tips on changing your appliance

As ostomates, we all have our own individual technique when it comes to emptying and changing our appliance. We have our personal favourite brands and types of appliance, different showering methods, even preference for how often and when we change our bag.
Stomas come in all sorts of wonderful shapes and sizes (and also have minds of their own!). Some may need more attention than others or take a bit longer to work out and get used to, but they all need a bit of TLC!
We can be pretty particular and meticulous about how we each change our appliance, and that’s a good thing! There is no one correct way – it’s not an exact science! It is about trial and error and finding a system, products and routine that works for you.
Bag changes – when and how often:

  • I used to think it was gross if I didn’t change my bag daily, but that gradually stretched to every other day, and now I usually only change it 2-3 times a week!
  • Skin: The more frequently you change your bag, the more it can affect the skin, so often less frequent bag changes can help keep your skin healthy and not so raw.
  • Eating? I try not to eat just before a change to minimise the likelihood of a poo spew mid change!
  • When? Prime time for me is first thing after my morning shower.
  • Where? Majority of bag changes will be at home, over the sink in the bathroom. Not at home? No problem! On holidays, at a friend’s house – it might be smaller or less private than what you’re used to, but there are usually ways to improvise!


  • If the appliance you are using doesn’t work for you or you’re having recurring leaks – keep looking!
  • There are so many different options when it comes to type of bag, wipes, adhesives, powders, skin care and additional ostomy accessories. Persevere until you find the best fit for you and your stoma.
  • Most companies will send out free samples – check their websites.


  • Preparation – I get everything I need for a change out ready on the bathroom bench before I remove the bag, and keep my toiletry bag with extra wipes etc nearby just in case!
  • Naked? Some people opt to change their bag whilst nude. I normally leave on my undies and tuck a Dependunderpad (bluey) into the front of my knickers.
  • The whole process usually takes me 5-10 minutes max. You can watch here:

Other tips:

  • Use a perfumed bin bag (citrus or lavender is nice) to help hide the smell J
  • Strips to help with adhesion (or boomerangs as I call them) can be a lifesaver and enhance bag longevity by at least a few days!
  • Hairdryers aregreat for heating up the adhesive. The heat aids the sticking process and gives sturdiness and endurance to each bag for added security. They are also super handy for drying off after a swim or shower.
  • Talk to your Stoma therapy nurse for suggestions or if you have any concerns.