Please see my blog posts for more details of all these products.
My Bag-Changing Kit
To start my "Products" page I thought I'd show you all the kit I now have for bag changing and stoma management.
The stoma bags I am using are Coloplast one-piece openable bags; the stoma nurse said most people tend to stick with the ones they are first given in hospital, and so far I am very pleased with these. My motto is, "If it ain't broke, why fix it?" This picture shows the bag open, with the adhesive side upwards. You can see the small hole in the centre of the flange, and the film over the adhesive surface is marked with concentric circles measured in millimetres and inches, and you cut the hole to the size of your stoma.
I have been supplied with a very nice little pair of scissors with specially rounded ends, to enable me to cut the bag to the right size without any danger of piercing the front of the bag.
When you first have your operation the stoma is quite large; mine was 40 mm diameter, and as time goes on and the swelling goes down, the size decreases. You have to keep measuring it so that you cut the hole to the correct size, and this is where I went wrong in the early days after my return home; I had cut several bags ready for use at 35 mm, and the last one I used of this size was a little bit too large, and there was a small circle of exposed skin around the stoma, which developed dermatitis when the stoma output came in contact with it. I cut the next bag at 30 mm but this was a little bit too small and I don't think the inner edge was sufficiently adhered to my skin, causing more leakage, and the dermatitis has spread considerably since it started. Having used bags at about 32 mm for a few days, I am now back on 30 mm, and applying the orahesive powder the stoma nurse gave me, as well as the mouldable rings which form a seal and also help heal the skin, as they are impregnated with manuka honey. You stretch these to the correct size and apply them to the skin around the stoma before putting on the bag.
The picture below shows the other side of the bag, which faces away from the body. Since my operation I have been using transparent bags (with breathable fabric on the back) so that they could examine the stoma without removing the bag. I am still using these, but eventually will go over to the opaque ones - you can apparently lift up the cover to reveal the transparent layer underneath. In this picture, you can see the two filters at the top of the bag which are supposed to prevent odour. If the bag is fitting correctly there should be no odour at all, and no leaks.
You can see the folds in the opening, and the wings that will keep it all closed.
Here is the bag with the bottom end rolled up and closed.
There is a small white disc of Velcro under the transparent cover, and once it is rolled up and secured, the closure is turned up yet again and tucked under the cover, and the white Velcro circle sticks to the velcro between the wings:
This makes for a very neat closure and stops the bottom of the bag getting mixed up with the top of your leg.
The nurse also gave me some barrier wipes which you use after cleaning and drying the peristomal area - these put a very thin layer of barrier over the skin to prevent irritation.
To remove the old bag, you spray some adhesive remover in short bursts as you gently peel away the adhesive flange, and this enables the bag to come away with the minimum of dragging of the skin.
As with all these products, there are many brands, but I particularly like this one as it is very gentle on the skin and has a pleasant fragrance.
Not being particularly keen on the odour when emptying the bag, I have taken a leaf out of several people's books on the Ostomy Care forum on Inspire, and each time I empty the bag, I pop in a fresh mint Tic-Tac! This dissolves in the output and really makes a difference to the smell.
To prevent odour when emptying I use another suggesstion from the forum: Deja Poo! This wondeerful stuff comes in two sizes of spray bottle, and I have got one of each in the "Poo Pourri" fragrance (don't you love the names!!) which has a light lemony scent. You spray the surface of the water in the loo with it before emptying (and I also spray down the front of the toilet bowl where my emptying tends to land) and it reduces the smell amazingly. The packaging is so attractive.
I asked the stoma nurse about room deodoriser sprays and she said that small cans are available, but they don't prescribe them on a free prescription because they cost too much. However, they frequently get given samples, and she gave me three of these. I shall put one in my travel kit. This one is made by Pelican, like the adhesive remover I am using, and has a mint fragrance.
I ordered a Really Useful Box plastic tower for my bathroom, to store all my supplies in. It sits under the counter beside the bin which has a carrier bag in it for double wrapping the filled disposal bags after bag changes. The tower has a "stationery top" which has divisions in it, for storing small items in constant use.
I keep my supplies in regular use in the top drawer and other supplies in the lower drawers.
Having this tower under the counter is very convenient. I can lay everything out on the counter and put the incontinence pad over my lap in case of any leaks as I sit on my perching stool, and put some warm water in the basin where I can squeeze out the wipes for cleaning, and then dry off with a dry wipe. I can put the mirror on the counter but have to stand up to be able to use this. The tower is on castors and is easy to pull in an out to access the tray on the top.
When I empty the bag, the tower is also close at hand and I can reach it from the loo, for getting the Deja Poo and the Tic-Tacs etc. I have two free-standing loo roll holders beside the loo; one with posh soft paper for regular use and the other with cheap soft paper for wiping the bag opening after emptying, prior to rolling it up and securing it again - why buy expensive stuff when it's not in contact with your skin?
I am getting the emptying and changing down to a fine art, but definitely need more practice with the changing if I am going to get on top of the dermatitis problem.
Monday 19th April 2015
At the stoma clinic I was given new rings which the nurse thought might suit me better, to fit round my now quite irregular shaped stoma:
She also gave me a stoma gauge, although my stoma is now oval and irregular, which is a bore! This gauge has measurements in millimetres on one side, and inches on the other. You put the cut out circle around your stoma and choose the one that's the closest fit, and use this measurement to cut the hole in the bag to size.
To help with my leakage problem, she supplied me with some banana flanges - I am using one of the large ones to attach the edge of the bag flange more securely where the crease has developed between my tummy button and the stoma.
They are easy to attach if you peel off the backing strip in sections - the banana flanges are very flexible and soft, and if you take off all the backing stips together, the banana flange would tend to stick to itself and be difficult to manipulate.
She also mentioned that Coloplast had brought out an updated version of the bags I have been using, and that I might prefer them. She has given me several to try. They are much softer, have a nicer fabric cover which is very comfortable against the skin, and the opaque ones (which I will eventually be using instead of the transparent ones supplied by the hospital) do not catch on your clothing. The flange is very thin and flexible at the edges, which would probably help with my crease problem, too.
Detail of the bag, showing the fabric, and the fastening, which is very similar to that on the older version.
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Trio Ostomy Care Products
A new innovation in ostomy care - breathable silicone! Trio Ostomy Care has developed this new product which has wowed the ostomy care world. I now have some samples to try.
Silicone stoma seal rings. These can be stretched and they will revert to their original shape and size, and they will mould themselves to the exact shape of your stoma, however irregular it is, forming a perfect seal.
Banana flanges with breathable silicone adhesive.
Breathable silicone gel to fill skin irregularities, in order to form a better seal with the bag flange.
Thursday 23rd April 2015
OakMed Hydrocolloidal Soft Convex Bag
New bags given to me today by the stoma nurse, to help overcome the problems I've been having with leaks (Item # SC45 4120KV). The convexity presses the peristomal area down around the stoma, enabling it to project further so that the output goes into the bag and not under the flange.
This bag has a soft cover on the front as well as the back, with an overlapping opening so that you can view the stoma. It also has a double layer of plastic. It is not as easy to manage as the Coloplast bags I was using before, as the opening is less rigid which makes it difficult to open when you want to insert some rolled up loo paper to clean the aperture. This means you are more likely to get output on your hands. It is also quite difficult to ensure that the mint tic-tac goes into the bag itself and not between the two plastic layers.
Monday 27th April 2015
Salts Confidence Natural Soft Convex Bag
A new convex bag from the stoma clinic today - a great improvement than the OakMed one above.
Features: better closure (more like my original Coloplast SenSura bags) with the Velcro wings, and two stiff plastic strips which enable the bag to be opened easily by pressing the ends together. Softer and shallower convexity of the flange, with divisions cut into it to enable it to mould itself better to the peristomal area. Flange with aloe vera for skin health. Viewing window under the cover over the actual stoma, but not so easy to see the rest of the inside of the bag as the OakMed one. Belt loops, softer than the OakMed bag, but I shall probably not be wearing the belt any more as it made me feel too trussed up. Asymmetrical anatomical shaped bag. Pleasant soft cover, water-repellent.
Friday 8th May 2015
Coloplast SenSura Convex Light Bag
After experiencing some problems with the Salts convex bag after further body changes, at the stoma clinic today the nurse gave me some Coloplast SenSura Convex Light bags. I was not offered these before, and am delighted to have them, because they are the convex version of my original Coloplast bags. They don't have so many cutting guides on the flange, so the nurse gave me the backing sheet from the one she cut and put on for me today - Kermit has now shrunk to about 28 mm.
You can see that the tail is identical to the original Coloplast bag, which pleases me greatly.
These bags have a flap on the cover that reveals a large sized viewing window which occupies the top half of the bag. The convex flange is quite soft and not quite as deep as the previous convex bags I have had.
Following some itching and skin irritation from my original OstoFix banana flanges by OstoMart, the nurse gave me some different ones, the Salts SecuPlast ones with Aloe Vera. She said they have had some problems with the OstoFix ones because they are far too sticky (I agree with that - even with adhesive remover spray, they are very hard to remove) and prevent the skin from breathing.
The Salts ones are a lot thinner and more flexible. They look fairly opaque when first applied, but with the warmth of your body they become more transparent and the adhesion improves. No problems so far with these.
Finally she gave me some more barrier wipes, this time some Pelican Protect Plus wipes - Pelican was the make of the first adhesive remover spray I had. I have yet to try these.
Friday 17th July 2015
Review of Products from Stoma Open Day
Following on from the stoma open day we attended at the beginning of June, I have now had a chance to try out all the samples we collected from the stands of the various companies. I have made a series of charts dealing with the different categories of products, and I hope these prove useful to anyone reading this. It is obviously a very personal review, and I am not endorsing any particular product or manufacturer; I am simply an ostomate trying to find the best products to suit my needs. Every individual is different, and the products I have rejected for various reasons may be just what another individual is looking for, and vice versa.
In each chart, the product in bold type is my first choice. Where appropriate, I have added a second choice. Please click on the charts to enlarge them.
Second choice: CliniMed Limone spray.
I probably wouldn’t bother with air freshener sprays because there are other products that can also be used as pouch deodorisers and are more versatile.
I was not impressed with any of these products. I deliberately gave them the toughest test when my output was plentiful and very liquid a few days after receiving my second course of chemo. They did not affect the output sufficiently to be of any use at all. When the output is liquid, it is probably best to deal with the problem at source, to avoid dehydration; taking loperamide, eating foods known to thicken output etc. In my opinion output thickeners are a waste of time.
Second choice: OstoMart Astoa Flange Extender (large).
I have not done a review of rings and seals because I do not get on with these and have never got them to work properly. Plenty of reviews online.
Although this review is primarily for my own benefit, I hope anyone searching for information will find it helpful.
Friday 28th August 2015
Stoma Pants and Wraps
On prescription from SupportX. You are allowed 6 prs pants and 3 wraps per year.
The pants have a special pouch inside to hold the ostomy bag, complete with drainage holes (designed for left or right stoma).
The wrap is made of more stretchy and firm fabric.
The wrap also has a pocket inside, with a hole to push the bag through.
All good stuff, although they don't look all that glamorous!