Choosing Ostomy Accessories
Selecting the right ostomy pouching system is complicated enough. Do you really need to buy a bunch of extra products, too? That depends. Some people may rely on just one or two accessories that make it easier to apply a pouching system. Others may find that they need several different products to live successfully with an ostomy.
Ostomy accessories fall into two general categories: medical products applied to the skin or the pouching system, and wearable products that make the system more secure, more discreet, or more comfortable. We’ll look at both.
Ostomy Accessories Used When Applying a Pouching System
Stoma paste is applied in a thin ring around the stoma. It can fill in uneven skin surfaces to prevent any output from leaking under the skin barrier. Stoma paste can absorb some moisture from leaks, but over time leaks will erode the paste barrier.
Ostomy barrier rings
A barrier ring is a stretchy, flexible ring that’s molded around the stoma. It protects the peristomal skin and ensures a tight fit with your pouching system. If you have creases or folds in your skin, or a flush/retracted stoma, a convex barrier ring can help the skin barrier adhere without gaps. Some people find that a barrier ring is gentler on their peristomal skin, compared to stoma paste.
When the peristomal skin is raw or weeping, the skin barrier won’t adhere well. Stoma powder helps dry moist, broken skin, enabling a better seal with the skin barrier. Once the skin is no longer weeping, you should stop using the powder.
Skin barrier wipes or spray
Is your peristomal skin getting damaged by skin barrier adhesives and/or leakage from the stoma? Skin barrier wipes and skin barrier spray create a protective film on your peristomal skin, guarding it against damage. Skin barrier wipes or spray can be used in conjunction with stoma powder for the crusting technique, which builds up a protective layer on broken skin.
Want extra reassurance that your pouching system will stay put? Use adhesive strips around the edges of your skin barrier to hold it in place during exercise or other activities.
Sometimes, pulling off the skin barrier strips the skin, making it susceptible to injury or infection. Use adhesive remover spray to make the barrier easier to take off. Adhesive remover wipes clean residue from the peristomal skin.
Lubricating deodorant drops have a few different benefits. Used inside the pouch, this product reduces odor when emptying the pouch. It also helps contents flow to the bottom of the pouch, easing emptying and preventing “pancaking” blockages.
Ostomy pouch liners
Pouch liners allow you to reuse a closed ostomy pouch more than once. Place a liner inside the pouch, and when it’s 1/2 to 3/4 full, you can remove and flush it. These liners only work with two-piece pouching systems.
Wearable Ostomy Accessories
A belt attaches to tabs on an ostomy pouch, helping to hold it in place. Some people wear ostomy belts to improve the fit and seal of their appliance, while others simply want the reassurance. Some ostomy belts are designed to support peristomal hernias, a common condition in which the intestine pushes against the abdominal wall.
A stoma cap is a small, adhesive cover for the stoma. Unlike a pouch, it doesn’t hold any output. It simply covers the stoma for a limited time while you’re engaged in an activity such as swimming or exercising. Some people may be able to wear a stoma cap instead of a pouching system, if they regularly irrigate their colostomy to remove stool.
A stoma guard is a piece of rigid plastic that protects the stoma from injury or impact.
This plastic cover keeps water away from your ostomy pouching system while you shower.
Seatbelt ostomy protector
If seatbelts rub or press on your stoma and/or ostomy pouching system, a seatbelt protector can relieve the pressure.
Ostomy pouch cover
Fabric pouch covers conceal the pouch, absorb perspiration, and make your ostomy system more comfortable to wear.
Ostomy wraps and garments
Ostomy support garments support the weight of the pouch as well as flattening and concealing it. Some have pockets to hold the pouch, while others are just stretchy bands that hold the system in place.
There’s also special clothing designed for people with ostomies: pants, shorts, swimwear, and lingerie. These articles of clothing often include pockets and high waists to help conceal the pouch.