Helpful Hints for Ostomy Care

  • Change your pouching system in the bathroom where you’ll have running water, toilet paper, a wastebasket, etc…
  • Empty your pouch when it’s one third full so it’s not too heavy.
  • If the pouch fills with gas, “burp” it or empty (flatten) your pouch so it doesn’t “blow” off.
  • Do not poke holes in your pouch to let the gas out, you will no longer have an odor-proof pouch.
  • It’s not recommended to rinse your pouch out while wearing it. But, if you feel you need to do this, keep the water in the lower two thirds of your pouch when “swishing,” while holding your other hand over the upper one third of your pouch. This way, water won’t get near the stoma and break the seal of your skin barrier.
  • Change your pouching system every 3 days or as needed.
  • To prevent your peristomal skin from breaking down/becoming irritated, use a protective barrier wipe to help protect your skin.
  • If you’re using powder on broken or irritated skin, dust away the excess so your skin barrier will stick to your skin.
  • When cutting your pattern in the skin barrier, it should be 1/8” larger than your stoma. This allows the stoma to expand when passing urine or stool.
  • If you’re using paste in the tube, apply a thin, flat bead right around the pattern opening and wait about 3-4 minutes for the alcohol content in the paste to evaporate away.
  • If you have a urostomy you may want to consider connecting your pouch to a bedside drain bag at night. Then you’re connected to gravity drainage and the pouch itself isn’t filling while you sleep.
  • Pouch covers are ideal for intimate times.
  • For people who are visually-impaired or arthritic and unable to cut their own pattern, there are pre-cut and moldable skin barriers available.
  • One Inch wide ostomy belts are available for people who want to “cinch the sides” of their pouching system for added security.
  • Wide hernia belts (4”, 6”, 9”, 12”) are available for people who want to support the hernia behind their stoma.

Author: Patrice Rennick, R.N., W.O.C.N.