Every ostomate needs a functional ostomy appliance. But at times, they can experience problems such as discomfort and leakage. An ostomy belt can resolve this problem. It functions similarly to a belt. However, instead of holding pants up, it secures your ostomy bag so that it won’t fall or detach from the wafer.
Benefits of ostomy belts
Ostomy belts offer more than a sense of security. Here are some benefits this accessory may provide:
- It’s good for sensitive skin
You may get rashes if your ostomy bag constantly rubs against your skin, which can lead to an infection if left untreated. An ostomy belt can support your appliance and prevent skin irritation.
- It’s discreet
Adjusting to the ostomate life can be difficult since there are many ostomy accessories and supplies you have to get used to. An ostomy belt can offer the discreetness you might want, especially if you’re just starting out. You can transition into your normal daily activities with confidence.
- It’s comfortable
You won’t feel the weight of your appliance with an ostomy belt on because it holds the bag instead of letting gravity weigh it down. It’s also stretchy and adjustable, so you can achieve a perfect fit.
- It reduces chances of hernia and infection
A hernia happens when internal parts of the body press against weakened or strained muscles. This creates a bulge or lump behind your stoma. As an ostomate, you may be prone to this condition because your abdominal wall may have weakened from surgery. By wearing an ostomy belt, you can prevent damage to the stoma.
What should you consider before getting ostomy belts?
The need for an ostomy belt depends on a case-to-case basis. Some ostomates need it, while some don’t. That’s because every ostomy— whether it is an ileostomy, colostomy, or urostomy, is unique. Of course, there are a lot of factors to consider. Here are some examples:
Your appliance type
If you’re using a convex appliance, then your ostomy nurse may not recommend that you pair it with an ostomy belt. This ostomy system is designed to curve inward towards your stoma so that it sits firmly on your skin.
In some instances, using an ostomy belt might apply too much pressure on your stoma. It can also cause sores that may lead to ulcers under the wafer. So, before purchasing this accessory, consult a healthcare professional and examine the following first:
The construction of your stoma
Check how it protrudes from your skin. Does it look sunken or uneven? If that’s the case, you might not need to use an ostomy belt because your stoma is below skin level.
The skin around your stoma
The condition of the skin around your stoma can affect your need for an ostomy belt, too. Ostomy experts might suggest you don’t use one if you have folds, scars, or creases that could affect the security of your pouching system. On the other hand, you may want to purchase an ostomy support belt if you have a hernia to keep it from getting worse.
Condition of your flange
You may need an ostomy belt if you often see the edges of your barrier lifting. That means the appliance is not sticking well to your skin. It might be because of moisture or the condition of the skin around your stoma. Extra security may help your ostomy system last longer.
Leakage from your pouching system
Along with your skin barrier lifting, your ostomy appliance may also leak from time to time. Some output can escape from your ostomy bag because your skin might be uneven or have other conditions affecting how secure the pouch is.
Sometimes, you cannot pair a brand’s product with other brands because they’re not compatible with each other. You might want to check out your belt if it has hooks that fit your chosen ostomy appliance. For example, a special Brava belt has four belt hooks that can only fit a Sensura Mio wafer.
Physical activities might stress your ostomy appliance. Excessive movement from exercise or sports can loosen your pouch from its grasp. An adjustable ostomy belt can make you more confident whenever you engage in physical activities because it keeps your pouch intact even when you’re energetically moving.
What to remember when wearing an ostomy belt
Manufacturers style their belts differently. So it’s important to confirm your belt’s specifications before you purchase it. However, the practices below can be a good rule of thumb:
- Check the box
The best way to find where you’ll clasp the hook is on the box of your appliance. Some manufacturers like ConvaTec and Hollister place the hole on the sides of the pouch at 3 and 9 o’clock positions. At the same time, some companies like Coloplast place it on the skin barrier. Other ostomy systems don’t have holes for hooks at all.
- Loop and clip
Once you get the right hook for your ostomy appliance, it’s time to wrap it around your abdomen. If you’re happy with its position, you can then lock it in place.
- Make some space
The best way to ensure that your belt isn’t too tight is by placing two fingers between your belt and skin. That way, you won’t develop other conditions like a hernia. If it’s too tight, you can adjust it for a more comfortable fit.
Ostomy belt care
An ostomy belt can last longer by gently washing it with cold water and mild soap then hanging it to dry. But it will still stretch over time as you use it repeatedly. That’s why the belt has to be replaced two to three times annually.
The best practice to maximize your experience as an ostomate is to consult your healthcare professional regarding the ostomy products you’ll use. They’ll be able to assist you depending on your needs. You can also contact Better Health for free samples and a free consultation with an expert. Call 415-475-8444 or visit https://joinbetter.com/ today.