Ostomy procedures like colostomies, urostomies, or ileostomies can lead to drastic lifestyle changes since bodily waste won’t exit the way it did before. Instead, stool and urine go through the abdomen to a pouch outside the body.

But the changes from these operations don’t have to wear you down. You can still enjoy the same quality of life, whether your ostomy is temporary or permanent. Exercising, working, and eating with an ostomy can be done with confidence. To maximize your day-to-day activities, consider a two-piece ostomy system.

Read on to learn more about two-piece ostomy systems.

How a two-piece ostomy system works

After an operation, you have two options when it comes to ostomy appliances. The first is a one-piece system, meaning that the ostomy pouch and barrier are attached and cannot be separated.

A two-piece system, on the other hand, separates into two distinct parts: the first is the ostomy barrier or wafer that sticks to the skin, and the second is a detachable pouch that collects the urine or stool. 

There are two ways to connect a two-piece appliance:

Adhesive coupling

The wafer will have a specific area that connects to the bag. Simply stick the pouch to the wafer, and it will function the same way.

Mechanical coupling

This second option comes with a lock that is attached to the barrier. 

Why a two-piece system is right for you

Ostomy bags are just like clothes — they vary depending on function and occasion. What’s important is that you choose a product based on your necessities. Here are a few reasons a two-piece system might be right for your needs:

It offers a better fit

Some appliances are difficult to adjust because they’re too tight or loose. Since each stoma differs, one size does not fit all. You’ll need to be extra attentive when switching ostomy bags.

A two-piece system can give you the visual confirmation you need because, when you secure the wafer, you get a better view of your stoma. The ostomy bag won’t impede you while you attach the barrier.

A snug-fitting wafer also means fewer risks of damaging the skin. Since the barrier can stay in place for two to four days, you can decrease the chances of irritating your skin while changing. There will also be less exposure to adhesives, removers, and pastes. 

The two-piece system can prevent leaks during physical activities, too. Since the bag and wafer fit tightly around the stoma, you can move around without a problem.

It can help relieve you of gas buildup

If you have problems with gas buildup, you may have an easy time releasing air from your bag with a two-piece system. There’s no need to empty the bag or replace it entirely since you can slightly open this appliance to let the air out. By doing this, you also avoid having noticeable bulges under your clothing. 

It can make changing the pouch easier

A two-piece system can offer hassle-free changing because you can replace your bag easily without having to remove the wafer. Plus, you can use specific pouches depending on the function, such as switching to a bigger bag at night and a smaller one during the day.

Appliance styles

Along with your ostomy bag, there are a few commonly used accessories that you’ll use. Here are a few wafer and pouching options to help you decide which one is best for you:

Flat or convex wafers

Check whether your stoma is protruding. For protruding stomas, the best option is a flat wafer. Meanwhile, a convex wafer is best for flush stomas. This type curves inward on your skin.

Pre-cut or cut-to-fit barriers

A pre-cut wafer is easy to apply because there’s no need for alterations. But if your stoma is new, try a cut-to-fit barrier first because the size of your stoma may still be changing. 

Opaque or transparent bags

An opaque bag is best for hiding the contents of the pouch since it’s more discreet. But, if you require constant monitoring, use a transparent bag.   

Mini or regular bags

Compared to regular-sized bags, the mini version offers comfort and discreteness. It’s smaller and lighter. This pouch is also best for those with an active lifestyle because you can swim, run, or get intimate while wearing it. 

Drainable or closed bags

You can empty a drainable pouch in-wear through a clamp or tail clip that releases the contents. Since this bag is reusable, it may be better for ostomates who plan to save money and want less frequent changes.

A closed-end pouch is more suitable if you have a busy lifestyle. Since it’s disposable, you can save time without having to empty and clean the bag. Just detach it and throw it away appropriately. 

Add-ons to consider

Accessories extend your two-piece system’s wear time and even improve your ostomy experience. Here are some items you can try:

Skin adhesive removers

This product helps you transition to a new wafer without leaving traces of the previous one on your skin. With this, you can also remove excess adhesives without pain and stickiness. 


Gases can have an unpleasant smell. To eliminate the odor, you can take tablet deodorizers internally or place a non-ingestible version inside your pouch.

Talk to us

There’s more to learn about two-piece ostomy systems and how to manage them. For information and tips, schedule an appointment with us at Better Health. Contact us at 415-475-8444 today. 

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