Ostomy Bag Care

I have had my ileosotomy for a little over three months now. I’m still experimenting with various things to try to figure out the best way to do things. I am going to be trying other types of bags, but out of the Hollister products I have tried, I have settled on the one piece model with the roll-up opening and a pre-cut hole. When I first started using these bags, I would work really hard to try to squeeze all of the contents out of the bag and through the tip so that I wouldn’t have to clean out the inside of the opening, but that was a pain and time consuming, as well as a bit messy at times.

I have since figured out a much better way. I still try to work everything out so that the bag is empty and all of the “air” is expelled, but I don’t work at the opening much. Then I take some toilet paper, fold it over a couple of times and slide it along the opening. This squeezes out some of the stuff that is left at the tip and also cleans off any that might have dripped over onto the outside.

Then I take another bit of toilet paper (about three squares of 2-ply toilet paper–1-ply vs. 2-ply will have to be another post some day) and fold it over and roll it up so it ends up being about the thickness of a cigarette. I hold open the opening and then use this roll to wipe along the insides of the opening. I usually grab in the middle and make two passes (one for each end). Then I can use the center of the roll to get anything that might have dripped over the edge.

It may not be the best system in the world, but until I find something better, it has proven to be the most workable. It gets the job done and keeps my hands clean and I don’t have to stick my fingers inside the bag to wipe it out.

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10 Comments on “Ostomy Bag Care”

  1. Betty Maxwell Says:

    I have had to deal with this ostomy bag for five years now and would use your idea a lot at first. I didn’t like that way of cleaning so now I use a large triangle bowl like the hospital uses for measurement of your output. Now I found that the bowl will catch and use a turkey baster and a large cup for water and rinse it out very nicely. My husband has set me up with everything I use at home in a nice bag for when I am outside my home. It has really been a good way for me.
    Betty Maxwell

  2. Jared Says:

    I agree. I’ve actually changed how I change my bag too. It’s gotten much more simple as time has gone by. I’ll have to write another post with the details.

  3. Tony Yaroshak Says:

    Try looking at the great new system at http://www.ostowsh.com

  4. Jared Says:

    Amazing what ingenuity people have! What a niche product.

  5. Vicki Says:

    I have had a temporary ileostomy for about 4 weeks. To clean the tip, I wrap a quilted baby wipe around my pointer finger – I stick my finger into the tip of the bag with the baby wipe around it and clean the tip and reapply the clip. The baby wipe collects the liquid well and leaves the bag sparkling clean. It works really nice and it doesn’t stick to the bag like toilet paper has for me.

  6. Jared Says:

    That’s a good idea. I’ve used baby wipes a lot for changing the bag (http://ostomyman.com/2008/06/09/baby-wipes/), but I never thought to use them for cleaning up after emptying it. That’s a good idea.

  7. Vicki Says:

    Jared – Glad you like the idea. I did recently have to try the idea of tightly rolling toilet tissue like a tight tissue cigar to clean the inside tip of my bag after emptying it because I left my wipes at home. It did work well. I still prefer the baby wipes because they really absorb the gunk inside the tip of the bag very well. I just feel fresher when the bag is its cleanest. I must say though, the tissue rolled tight worked well. The first time I tried the tissue, some of it stuck to the inside of the bag, but I adjusted my tissue by rolling it really tight and voila – it worked nicely and left no more tissue shreds behind. 🙂

  8. rachel Says:

    My 4 month old son has an ostomy since birth, were using the one piece hollister bag and he leaks almost everyday because he used to have 2 stomas and one got put back, now there is a big canal for the output to leak! I feel like I’ve tried everything from paste to strips..any suggestions for a better stick and a leak stopper?

  9. Jared Says:

    Wow Rachel. I definitely feel for you. We have a two-month old and just having to deal with diapers is tricky enough. I can definitely imagine the difficulties with a stoma since their “output” is so watery anyway and he’s always laying down keeping that moisture on the wafer.

    When you say a canal, is that the scar from the other stoma that causes that?

    I’m totally guessing here, but I wonder if it would work to put a strip of cloth inside the bag to help draw the moisture away from the stoma and the wafer towards the bottom of the bag. You’d have to change it often, but that’s sort of par for the course with babies. It might get you a little extra wear time by keeping the area a little more dry.

    Other than that, I recommend Yahoo groups with that question. Ostomystars is the name of a group that has a lot of parents of children with ostomies and they could probably give you much better data than my total guess.

  10. Jared Says:

    I wonder if a strip of cloth on the inside of the bag, not under the wafer, would work better to draw the liquid away from the wafer. I know that my wafer wears out a lot faster if it’s kept moist (it helps that I stand/sit vertically). The cotton balls may keep the moisture there and might actually make the wafer wear out faster. Then again, I could be totally wrong. The Yahoo groups (there are a couple others also that might be worth signing up for: ostomysupport and peopleswithostomy2) are definitely where you will get the best data from people that have actually been there in situations like yours.

    I hope your son is doing well other than the leakage problem.