10 Tips to Avoid Leaks over the Holiday Season
As the holiday season approaches and the party invites begin to arrive, many of us who have a “stoma” might start to worry about “leaks”.
So, here are some tips to help you stay dry so you can concentrate, instead, on having a great time with family and friends.
1. Storage of pouches, wafers, elastic barrier strips
I recently was staying in a rather “posh” hotel, when suddenly and without warning, “my bag” came away from my skin. Leaking urine, I ran upstairs to our room to clean and change. I’d only changed my pouch that morning, so I was surprised that this had happened.
I cleaned myself up and went to “stick on” my new pouch. On giving it a gentle tug, it came away from my skin. So, I went through the process again and then again. By this point, I was panicking and in tears. My pouch just wasn’t sticking as it should.
Then I realized what was causing the problem. The small suitcase that had all my supplies in was directly under the air conditioning unit!
The “pouches” were freezing cold, which had affected the adhesive on the back. I got a hairdryer, and after putting it on a “low” setting, I set about gently warming up my little bag.
The adhesive had softened and was now “sticky”. Hey, presto, the pouch stuck! So watch where you store your products!
2. Ensure your “pouch” fits correctly
Part of your “regime” should be to measure your stoma (you will find a measuring template inside your box of pouches). Ideally, the gap should be around one-eighth of an inch. This gives a snug, secure fit. If you haven’t measured lately, do it now.
3. Ensure your supplies are fit for use
Check the expiration dates on the products before use. Also, it’s a good idea to check one pouch out of each box of 10 to ensure there are no faults.
4. If your skin is uneven, has bumps, dips or creases
If you have uneven skin around the stoma area, you might want to consider using a “mouldable” ring or stoma paste. (Speak to your supplier and request some samples).
5. Looking after the skin around your stoma
DO - Ensure you look after the skin around your stoma. If the skin is broken, use a “specialist” stoma powder. DO NOT use ordinary or baby talcum powder. Once the skin has healed, STOP using the powder.
DO NOT - wash the area around your stoma with anything that contains oils as this will cause the bag not to “stick” as well. These include things such as baby wipes, shampoos, conditioners, bath oils, etc.
If you have hairs on your stomach, these too can affect the pouch from adhering properly. Cut the hairs using “trimming scissors” or an electric razor. DO NOT use a “straight edge” or “safety” razor. If you have a lot of hair on your stomach, you could consider a more long-term solution of “laser treatment”.
6. Going on long car journeys?
The seat belt may put undue pressure on your pouch. You can purchase a “seat belt protector.”
7. Going to warmer climates?
Warm and humid climates can affect the adhesive on your base plate. So, consider using some elastic barrier strips. This will give extra adhesion. Also, take extra supplies, as you may find that you have to change your “bag” more often than normal.
8. Will you be drinking alcohol?
Ensure you check and empty your pouch more regularly, as alcohol can send our stomas into “overdrive”.
9. Planning on working out or doing more physical activity?
Consider using an ostomy belt or wrap for extra security.
10. Does your stoma look different?
If the answer is yes, get it professionally checked before the holiday season!
Now, after reading all of the above, most importantly go and enjoy yourself!