Ostomy skin breakdown or skin infections is a common problem faced by many ostomates, often caused by leakages. If your ostomy barrier doesn’t fit you correctly, leakages are far more common.

Watch the video below to learn more about the most common reasons for ostomy skin infections, how to prevent them, and how to treat ostomy skin breakdown.

Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Siobhan and I lead ostomy education here at Better Health. One of the parts of my job is to be a coach, to people who are new to ostomies, whether they’ve just recently had surgery or whether they’re expecting to have surgery soon. So today I’m here with Duncan who just recently had ostomy surgery.

Is that right? That’s right. And Duncan has a concern. Duncan, what’s your concern? Well, Siobhan, I’ve heard a lot about skin irritation being a common problem. Is that normal? Duncan, it’s very normal to have skin irritation. I’ve definitely had some skin irritation myself. And it’s just part of the process.

There’s some things you can do to prevent it and to treat it. And then there are some things that we’ll talk about in terms of what might be telling you. There’s a bigger problem. So I have here an anatomical. This anatomical model is a stoma training model. So there you see there’s some openings for holes.

So the one that I want you to pay attention to is this guy right up here. So this is a normal looking stoma. It’s kind of red and pink and moist looking. And then around it, you’ll see some reddish areas, some skin that’s what called skin irritation. What causes that irritation skin irritation can happen for a couple of weeks.

One of those reasons is output is getting on the skin. So that means that your barrier might be too big. It might be not close enough to the stoma. So you want to make sure that when you cut your barriers and you place them around the stoma they’re centered, and there’s only about one eighth of an inch or three to five minutes.

Another way that you can prevent that skin breakdown or skin irritation is by applying certain products to the skin before you put the barrier down. One of my favorite products is ostomy paste. I have an example here. It’s not a it’s one of many ostomy paste. You don’t have to use this particular brand, but what the ostomy paste does is it protects the skin.

It creates like a caulk around the stoma, so that there’s a flexible seal that keeps that out. From getting under the barrier. Another reason that you might have skin irritation is that the barrier might be causing it itself. The barrier might be causing an allergic reaction. So the way that you know, that the barrier might be causing an allergic reaction is because the barrier, the irritation is actually in the shape of the barrier and not around the stuff.

I have a great picture of that. I’m not going to share with you today of my own allergic reaction to a barrier from one at one point. So it was all the irritation was all around the edges of the barrier and not near the stoma. So that’s how I knew I was having an allergic reaction. And the last thing that can cause irritation under the barrier could be a fungal infection. So a fungal infection might be weepy red skin. It might have some pimples or pistols. And if that’s the case, that might be the time to go search out your WOCN your wound and ostomy care nurse, and she can help you find a solution for that.

And usually it’s a powder or a cream that you apply. That’s very helpful. Great. I’m so glad that we could talk through some of the common reasons for ostomy skin breakdown and common ways of solving it for more guidelines and tips and advice around living with an ostomy. Stay tuned to this video series or go to http://www.joinbetter.com.

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