How To Change Your Ostomy Pouch System

It takes a while to develop a system that works for you. If you’ve been reading my other blogs then you’ve heard me say this a handful of times. I’ve found some things that work very well for me; my skin is perfectly in tact and I have only had one small leak (in the beginning of it all). Below is a brief, or at least I’m aiming for brief, guideline on how I change my 2-piece pouch system in case you are in need of some suggestions. For the record, my method is a combination of a few methods I’ve found online, shared by fellow ostomites.

I’d love to hear from others what their methods are.

  • Prior to starting, you should prepare all of your tools.
    • Gather all of your pouch equipment
    • Prepare your wafer by cutting the appropriately sized hole in the flange.
    • To catch any unaccepted leaks from the pouch, wafer or stoma itself, I like to tuck a paper towel into my pants immediately near my pouch system prior to removing anything.
  • Use an adhesive wipe (or whatever adhesive remover you prefer) to slowly take off your wafer. Once your wafer is in a disposable garbage bag, use the adhesive wipe to remove any remnants of adhesive material. For me, this usually involves gently rubbing off some small left over speckles of barrier ring near my stoma.
  • I prefer to shower immediately after removing my pouch system. If this sounds appealing to you, it is best to avoid eating a few hours prior to in order to avoid output while showering. If you do decide to shower with your pouch system off (though keeping your pouch on is a perfectly viable option), it is best to avoid using harsh soaps or fragrant soaps. These soaps have a way of irritating the skin. They also leave a layer of oil on your peristomal skin that makes it difficult for the adhesives to stick. Once done with your shower, be sure to gently but thoroughly dry your skin before continuing.
  • If you are not showering in between pouch system changes then you will need to clean the skin around your stoma before continuing. Often, a baby wipe or moist paper towel is enough. I use unscented baby wipes for all of my ostomy cleaning. Some people prefer towelettes.
  • Clean all of the fecal matter from your stoma and the skin around it. Be gentle; your stoma has no nerve endings so you won’t know if you’re hurting it. It’s also lined with small blood vessels that pop quite easily. It isn’t a big deal if it happens, but it is something to be conscientious of.
  • Once clean, I like to wrap a paper towel around my stoma, creating a type of tent. This prevents any of the powders that are about to be applied from sticking to it and also helps catch any unexpected output and prevent it from touching your freshly prepped skin
  • If you have a yeast infection on your peristomal skin, clean that are with mild soap then lightly dab a white vinegar soaked towelette on the affected areas of your skin. Once dry, apply a moderate amount of Nystatin powder (this should be prescribed by a doctor)
  • Apply a stoma powder (I prefer “Stomahesive”) on the skin around your stoma. If you are also using Nystatin powder, don’t worry about mixing the two. Tap the excess off. Use a barrier film wipe (or barrier spray, is that’s what you prefer) directly on top of the stoma powder. Let it dry. I repeat this process twice to build up a thicker layer so that my skin doesn’t come into contact with any adhesives.
  • Stretch your barrier ring to the approximate size of your stoma. Cut the ring so that it is no longer connected, allowing you to wrap, or loop, the barrier ring around your stoma directly. I prefer this method because it allows me to shape the barrier ring precisely to the shape of my stoma. It also insures that there is absolutely no gaps in between the ring and my stoma
    • If you are having an issue with getting your barrier ring to stick to your skin well, briefly use a hair dryer on the warm, not hot, setting to melt your barrier ring.
  • Carefully apply your wafer around your stoma. Once you’ve removed all of the adhesive backing and it is securely attached to your abdomen, rub your finger over the flange (underneath which lies the barrier ring) so that they can fuse together.
  • Now, snap your bag onto your wafer. At this point, I like to cup my hands over the area of my stoma and lightly press down so that the warmth from my hands can help make sure everything sticks….and you’re set!

Swag on with your bag on!C360_2015-05-27-13-59-08-861

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