After attending the recent stoma open day, I received a sample pack from Pelican, of three of these bags. Their representative phoned me the other day to see how I got on with them, but at that stage I hadn’t yet tried them, but promised to do so and let them know how I got on with them.
I told her that I was already using the Coloplast SenSura Convex Light bags and once they bring out the SenSura Mio in the convex, that will be my bag of choice, and I felt I should tell her that up front. She said that was fine, and they appreciate any reviews of their products because such feedback always helps with improvements in the future.
I put on this bag on Thursday so I have now been wearing it for two days, and I must say I am generally very impressed.
The convex flange on this bag is very soft indeed, and the backing sheet on it protecting the sticky surface is thin and flexible, with good measuring guides for cutting the hole to size. It is the easiest bag I have ever cut – really soft and effortless.
The sticky surface, called “Skin Protector,” is quite thick compared with other bags I have tried, and it has a foam back, which is extremely flexible. What impresses me most, apart from ease of application and comfort during wear, is that I have experienced no itching at all. On day 2, wearing the Colopolast bags, I do experience some itching under the glue; it’s not a major problem and isn’t caused by any reaction, and there isn’t any evidence of redness or the skin breaking down when I change the bag, but it is an indication that I will soon need to change the bag. With the Pelican bag, however, it has remained very comfortable and so far there is no itching at all.
The bag itself has an “anatomical” asymmetrical shape which is comfortable to wear, being curved on the outer edge so that it sweeps away free of one’s leg. The capacity of the bag is, I think, somewhat larger than the Coloplast bag. The cover is beautiful – it has firm feel to it which I knew would be unlikely to go fluffy with contact with one’s clothing after a day or two, as I have experienced with one or two sample bags I’ve tried, and this has proved to be the case. I am also very impressed with its opacity. The Coloplast bag, while it does have a flesh-coloured opaque cover on it (which again does not go fluffy), you can see the stoma output through it because it is rather thin, but with the Pelican bag, the cover is thicker, and nothing is visible.
It has a split in the middle, underneath which is the clear bag, and you can view the whole of the bag through this, and not just a “port hole” around the stoma, as with another bag I tried. It is very easy to see exactly where to place the bag over the stoma. (On this photo, you can see the thickness of the flange.)
The opening on the tail more closely resembles the Coloplast bag than any other I have tried, with the triple fold-up, and the winged tabs which are pressed down over the folded tail and held in place with Velcro.
I still like the Coloplast one the best, with its two rigid strips – the one on the underside of the bag is located below the one on the top, which means that when you empty it, there is a “step” that the output goes onto before draining away, and I find this easier to wipe with some folded toilet paper wrapped around the end of the bag, without getting any output on my hands. The Coloplast bag tail opens a lot more easily too, because the rigid strips are slightly stiffer, and you just press the sides together and it pops open. With the Pelican bag, the rigid strips are one directly above the other, and you squeeze the sides together to make a “U” shape:
and then pull on the little tab to open the upper layer towards you, which is a two-step process, and I find it doesn’t always work very well, especially when it is wet, because it tends to stick shut.
I couldn’t show a full demo of opening the bag because it required two hands and I needed one to hold the camera!
There is a very effective “fold up” system after you have closed the tail. As with the Coloplast bag, there is a Velcro dot under the opaque cover.
Once you have closed the tail, you fold it up, and stick the exposed Velcro strip between the two tabs, to the Velcro dot, and this holds the tail in place under the cover.
It folds up higher under the cover than on the Coloplast bag.
This is a good thing, because with the weight of the output, I do find that the Coloplast bag tends to sag at the bottom, and while it is still attached to the Velcro dot, it falls down below the cover and flops outwards.
The Velcro dot on the Pelican bag is also slightly larger, and has much tougher Velcro hooks on it, so is more effective. However, yesterday (1st full day of use) I noticed that the dot had come unstuck from its adhesive and was stuck on the tail, leaving the adhesive behind under the cover, and the cover has stuck firmly to it and is quite immovable, rendering the fold-up system useless; I don’t know if this is a one-off, and that it won’t happen with another bag, which I will have to try and see. Ed. 16th June after trying another bag: It is clear that body warmth softens the adhesive on the Velcro dot, which makes the Velcro dot slide off, exposing the sticky surface on the inside of the cover, which then adheres firmly onto the clear plastic lining of the bag. The two cannot be pulled apart without risking tearing a hole in the plastic bag. This renders the tucking up of the tail impossible because the cover remains stuck to the bag in the centre. This is a design fault which needs to be rectified – they need a different adhesive for the Velcro dot.
I am not convinced that the filter on the Pelican bag works very well; it is obviously letting some gas out (and I do produce quite a lot of gas!) because I am getting some smell from the bag. Fortunately it is merely the smell of the excellent OstoMart mint deodorising drops sample that I got at the open day – but I have never smelt anything from any of the other bags I have used. The gas is not dispersing fully, either; I still have to burp this bag to get rid of it. Ed. 16th June: To prevent any smell getting out, I have now covered the filter with one of the circular stickers they provided with the samples.
To be fair, I’ve never been convinced by filters on any of the bags I’ve tried; there is no evidence that any gas has escaped at all – odour or otherwise!
In summary, I must say I am very impressed indeed with this bag; the only drawbacks are the filter and the closure, and the failure of the system to tuck the tail under the cover, but these are minor gripes. The quality of the bag is excellent and once it’s on, you can forget it. I would definitely seriously consider choosing this bag above the Coloplast, but I am anxious to try the new Coloplast convex SenSura Mio as soon as it becomes available, and if it works as well as I am expecting, that will be my No. 1 bag of choice.