Ostomy bags and ostomy supplies in general aren’t typically made as one size fits all accessories — they vary based on factors like your stoma shape, your body size, your lifestyle, and more. Choosing the best ostomy supplies for you can sometimes feel overwhelming, but there are a few ways to make the selection process easier. In this video, we’ll explore how to choose an ostomy bag and other ostomy supplies that work well for your lifestyle and personal preferences.
Hi, my name is Siobhan and I lead ostomy education here at Better Health. I have an ostomy myself, which I’ve had for about six years. So I know all the ins and outs and ups and downs of life with an ostomy. One of my jobs here at Better Health is to coach people who have recently had an ostomy or might be preparing for ostomy surgery soon.
So I hope to help them adapt and thrive and adjust. And one of the things that can be really confusing is what products to use. So Duncan, you’re finding out that there’s some confusing products out there, right? Yes, I am. Siobhan my question. How do I find the best ostomy supplies that I need?
That’s a great question. And a really, really important one. Now, ostomy supplies are going to be very specific to what you personally need. So there is always some trial and error and experimentation and trying to find the right ostomy supplies. I was tell you straight up front, there’s no one brand of ostomy supplies that is superior to all the others.
What you want to find are some supplies that will meet your needs, will make you feel confident, work really well for you. So I’d like to walk you through how the products interact with your body. And that way you can start to get a handle on what might be best for you. So there’s a couple of things to know your body profile will affect what kind of barrier you need to use.
And also your stoma profile will affect what kind of barrier you need to use. So your body might have some creases and might have some. We all have those. You might even have some incisions from your surgery. I do on my stomach. So my barriers have to kind of work around my own shape. So for instance if you have a very flat area, you might be using something called a flat barrier.
So a flat barrier is one that just kind of goes around on, on a flat stomach that maybe doesn’t have any creases or folds. So here’s an example of a flat barrier, and this is also. Of a bag that is drainable and an example of a bag that is a one-piece where the barrier and the bag are connected together.
Here’s an example of some other kinds of barriers. This is a two piece ostomy system and this two piece system means that barrier and that bag connect together. Your plastic food containers in your kitchen with a lab where the lid snaps onto the base. And the reason that you might want a two-piece system is to change out that bag if you want.
So you, if you’re just draining your bag and you want to wear a closed ostomy bag. And have an example of a closed bag here, a closed bag isn’t drainable it’s throw away. So if you’re using a two-piece and you want to use a closed bag, you can just swap one close bag on, let it get full of output and then throw it away.
See. Here’s an example of a bag of a barrier that’s called a convex barrier. So, and it’s hard to see a little bit, but there’s a little bit of a bulge there. And the reason that you might use a convex barrier is because that barrier helps your stoma stick out. If you’re still kind of wants to have. We call that a retracted stoma that’s not sitting flush with the level of the skin and that barrier that, that bumped down there, it helps push that stoma out.
And that’s really important because the stone was, if the stone was not pushed out, that output may not fall down into the bag. The way that it should. Here’s an example of a urostomy pouch, a power urostomy pouch collects urine, and it drains out through this little tap here by contract. Here. I have an example.
Here’s your ostomy pouch. I have a colostomy pouch or an ileostomy pouch, which can hold stool and which can be drained out through this little this opens up at this hook and loop closure. I see. So one drains. Oh, just pure fluid. And the other drains, something close to stool. Yeah. Solids. Sometimes people aren’t able to cut pouches the way that they need their barrier.
They can’t cut the barrier. And so they might want to use something like this. This is a Stickum, it’s kind of like a foam sticker and you appeal the back. And the foam attaches to the barrier, which has like a landing pad on it. So that’s really good for people whose dexterity is, is reduced. And it makes it a little bit easier to than snapping things together.
I can see how that works. Finally, I have an example of a great option if you’ve got a hernia. A hernia is when there’s a little tear in the muscle tissue and the internal organs. Might be not held in place the way that they should. And the reason that can happen is that along in a decision, the muscle tissues may not knit back together.
So there might be a bulge under the skin and around the stoma. So this is a great product for people who have a hernia, because it flips and can kind of adjust to that. Maybe that bulge area, if they have, I have a hernia.
Right. Cause there are any is going to create that bowl. So you need to accommodate it with that space. That’s correct. So Duncan, I’ve just walked you through about a half a dozen products, right. And you wouldn’t know which one to pick out for you. Exactly. You wouldn’t say it. This one, you couldn’t tell which one was the best for you.
So it’ll take a little bit of experimentation. It’ll be very dependent on your body shape on your stoma, on whether or not things are sitting in increase or fold, whether you want a two piece or a one. What do you want open or drainable so, you know, think about what you want in your head, what you think will fit your lifestyle, what will fit your activities, and then choose a pouch based on that.
Now I know that sometimes you’d like to add. Where can I find the best ostomy products and the best place to find these products is to go to your medical supply company, like Better Health. We are a medical supply company and we send people products, and we can advise people on what will suit them.
So, you know, you can go to your medical supply company and say, Hey, I have a retracted stoma. I have a stoma. I have a little hernia. I really prefer a one-piece. And with us, like at Better Health, we can give you products, numbers, and options and samples. And that way you can find the best pouch.
That’s really good information and thanks for the education because now I know how to choose. And then I know how to ask the right questions, asking the right questions is so important. If you have more questions about all things ostomy stay tuned with this video series or join us at http://www.joinbetter.com.