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Wed, Mar 6 6:07pm · Is your current pouching system right for your body type? in Ostomy


Our bodies change and with that sometimes our ostomy pouching system may need to change too.  There is no one size fits all for everybody or every stoma.  Gaining or lose of weight, abdominal surgery or even natural changes from aging can change our stoma and surrounding skin which can lead to a poor fit of a pouching system.  It is advised to have periodic reviews of your pouching system with your ostomy nurse to ensure consistent wear time and maintain intact peristomal skin.

There are many pouching systems available including one- and two-piece systems.  Skin barriers (the part attaching to the skin) comes in both flat and convex.  As your body changes due to weight, surgery or aging, the skin barrier you choose may make a difference in your wear time.

There are several considerations when deciding between a flat or convex skin barrier.  Your ostomy nurse can help.  He or she will start by examining your abdomen for the presence of creases or folds.  If the area is flat in all positions, a flat barrier may provide a good fit.  If there are creases or folds in the area, a convex barrier can help to flatten the creases providing a good fit.  A second consideration for a convex barrier would be when a stoma does not protrude above the skin and the waste leaks under the barrier.  Finding the most appropriate type of skin barrier and amount of convexity depth can be overwhelming.  Your ostomy nurse will help with this.

If you have any questions or concerns about the fit and wear time of your pouching system, please see your local ostomy nurse for help.

Tue, Jan 8 12:58pm · Patient Story: Improved Quality of Life in Ostomy


written by J. Stanhill

My Ostomy Improved My Quality of Life

My story goes back to 1974. I had just graduated from culinary school in Los Angeles. I was having digestive issues, and on the advise of my parents, went to see a gastroenterologist. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. A year later, after many prescriptions, the diagnosis came in with Crohn’s disease. At that time not much was known about Crohn’s, only to treat it with diet and medication. At one time I was taking thirteen pills three times a day. The worst of it was prednisone. 50 MG a day. For those that have been on it, you know what it does to you. Not pleasant!.

For three years, I saw my doctor monthly and stayed on the meds as I was told. I stayed on the diet (no fresh fruit or fresh veggies, no milk as they thought I was lactose intolerant. I was a regular at the local hospital. At least once every two months from bad cramping and spasms. Demerol was the only thing that would ease the pain.

Finally in April of 1978, I went in for a colectomy. In those days, the surgery took 7-8 hours and left me with a twelve inch scar from below my chest to my groin. A year later the Crohn’s reappeared. The rest of my large intestine was removed and an ileostomy was put in place. Fortunately I have not taken any medication for Crohn’s since then.

During my illness I was blessed to have met my beautiful wife. We actually met before my first surgery. I must tell you that there is no way I could have made it without her. She was my rock then and is still today. This August we will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We have also been blessed with two beautiful children and now two amazing and loving grandkids.

Fast forward 35 years. I had a few visits to the hospital due to adhesions, but managed to only be in for a few days each time.

I have been dealing with bowel obstructions and a Stomal hernia for the past four plus years. Twice the hernia has been repaired. Since the obstructions started, I have had to remove items from my diet. The doctors at Mayo have been amazing. And I can’t say enough about the nurses and the quality of care that I have received each time I had to be admitted. They are the BEST! Each time, my wife would stay with me. It is so important to have an advocate with you while you are a patient.

During my recent visit, one of my nurses was Teddy. He also has an ileostomy. He shared with me about a support group that was being formed at Mayo for Ostomy patients. I was very excited to hear this and told him that I wanted to be part of it. To say the least, I look forward to helping other Ostomy patients with their issues and just being there to listen to what they have to say.

I am currently a culinary arts teacher the Peoria Unified School District.

Thank you for letting me share my story.

Meet other people talking about living with an ostomy on Mayo Clinic Connect. Join the conversation, share experiences, ask questions, and discover your support network…


Dec 13, 2018 · Finding Your Support in Ostomy

MCC Support

Many patients undergoing ostomy surgery find that surrounding themselves with support can aid in their recovery. This support can be found through caregivers, family, friends, medical professionals and others facing the same surgery.  There are many caring people that can help you to manage life with an ostomy.

Family members and caregivers play a vital role in the life of a person with an ostomy. They can offer support and encouragement.  Encourage family members and caregivers to educate themselves in order to understand and accept this new life.  Adequate information and a positive outlook is the basis for recovery and acceptance.

You may also seek support through your medical professionals. Your ostomy nurse, physicians and other healthcare professionals can help with education and skills needed for everyday life with an ostomy.  They can also connect you with others who have had ostomy surgery to build friendships with those experiencing the same feelings you may be having.

Your new life with an ostomy takes time to adjust. Talking with someone who has faced this same experience helps you to share your feelings.  Many find it helpful to talk with others about these new struggles and share success stories.  There are many ways to find support from others sharing your experience.  Online and in-person support groups are offered throughout the United States.  Talk with your ostomy nurse for more information.

Many people with ostomies feel alone in the world. According to the United Ostomy Association of America, there are between 725,000 to 1 million Americans living with an ostomy in the United States.  You are not alone.  Together, we can live a happy and fulfilled life with nothing holding us back.

Meet other people talking about living with an ostomy on Mayo Clinic Connect. Join the conversation, share experiences, ask questions, and discover your support network…

Oct 23, 2018 · Traveling with Your Ostomy in Ostomy

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The holidays are about family. Seeing our families sometimes means travel.  Are you nervous about traveling with your ostomy?  Don’t let your ostomy get in your way of your fall travel plans.

Preparing for travel can help put your mind at ease. Create a checklist of supplies.  Ensure you have packed enough supplies for your trip.  The best way to do this is to count the number of pouches you would normally need and double that.  This way you will ensure you have enough supplies for anything you need.  Some other considerations for your packing list may include disposal bags, cleansing wipes and other ostomy accessories such as stoma powder and skin protectant.  Bringing a handheld mirror is a good idea, just in case you need to change your pouching system on the go.

When packing supplies, make sure to pack some supplies in your carry-on bag. The remainder can be put into your checked luggage.  It is a good idea to pack some supplies in your companion’s luggage.  That way, if a bag is lost, you will still have supplies in the other bag.

If traveling abroad, it is a good idea to know where you can buy supplies if needed. The United Ostomy Association of America has information on suppliers abroad.  This list includes ports of call for cruise ships.  It is a good idea to have a travel communications card when going through customs.  This card explains why you need pouches, ostomy supplies and medications as you pass through checkpoints.

Maintain your normal diet while traveling. It is tempting to eat and drink less to lower your output.  This is not recommended.  To ensure confidence and prevent leaks, change your pouching system right before departure.  During travel make sure you are staying hydrated.  Drinking plenty of fluids is important for any type of ostomy you may have.

Some air travel restrictions may not allow scissors or adhesive removers. Plan ahead for this by checking with your airline or pre-cutting your wafers.

Car travel and seat belts should not cause any problems with your ostomy. Ensure you are taking frequent stops to get out the car and stretch.  Try to not place your seat belt across you stoma.  Lower the angle of the seat belt to ensure proper fitting.  You can purchase optional accessories to make seat belts more comfortable.

When you travel this fall, you want to relax and enjoy yourself. Preparation before travel can lead to a very confident and enjoyable time.  What are some of your tips for traveling with an ostomy?

Oct 18, 2018 · Peristomal Skin Care in Ostomy

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The skin around your stoma is called your peristomal skin. Maintaining healthy skin in this area is very important.  Most people do not think about skin health when they think of ostomies.  However, the skin surrounding your stoma can have a great impact on your quality of life.  Healthy peristomal skin should be intact with no signs of redness, warmth, itching or pain.

Poor skin health surrounding your stoma can lead to leakage, odor, additional healthcare costs, pain and discomfort.   Prevention is the key.  There are many things you can do to keep you peristomal skin healthy.

Skin Care Tips

  • Less is better. Water alone is enough for cleaning your peristomal skin. If soap is preferred, use a mild soap without added lotions or creams.
  • Ensure your pouching system has a secure seal. To protect the skin, the opening in the skin barrier should fit snugly around the stoma.
  • Change your pouching system when needed. Talk to your ostomy nurse for guidance on how often you should change your pouching system.
  • Urostomy patients should connect pouch to overnight drainage system to prevent urine from undermining the skin barrier and causing leakage on the skin.
  • If concern for allergic reaction, talk with your ostomy nurse to find appropriate pouching system.
  • Remove pouching system gently to avoid adhesive skin injury. Pouching system without tape borders can also be considered.
  • Consider permanent hair removal for ostomies that are problematic or permanent for persistent folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles).

Peristomal skin complications are not a normal part of life with a stoma. You do not have to accept the pain of peristomal skin complications.  If you have red, broken or irritated skin, seek the assistance of your healthcare professionals.