An urostomy bag surrounded by flange extenders and a bottle of ostomy powder.

Supporting an Ostomy Bag: Flange Extenders and Ostomy Powder

Last updated: January 2023

Hi again. I am back to look at another couple of additional ostomy products that may help you on your journey. Some people need support in the early days while they find an ostomy solution that works for them.

For others, something may have changed in their body, which means they need to change their ostomy solution to support any changes with their stoma.

There are many reasons a stoma may change its size or shape or be more protruding or retracting than before. One common reason for a stoma to change is a weight change. Both weight gain and loss can change a stoma.

Other reasons include further surgery or a parastomal hernia. Parastomal hernia describes a bulge or swelling around/under the stoma, leading to problems with stoma function and appliance security. This usually occurs gradually, and the hernia may increase in size over time.1

In part 1, I looked at ostomy barrier or ostomy seal rings and ostomy paste. Today I am going to look at flange extenders and ostomy powder.

Flange Extenders

Flange extenders sometimes referred to as "bananas," are a product that is used to help provide additional security while wearing your ostomy bag. They are banana-shaped strips that you stick around your bag.

What ostomy issues does it help with?

Flange extenders can help to prevent leaks. They provide an extra security level around the bag's edge where urine might leak out. They are also suitable for extra protection while participating in sports or other strenuous activities.

How are they used?

They are applied around the outside of your flange/ostomy bag. Like band-aids, they come with a covering your take off and stick the flange extender where needed around the edge of the pack. Many offer a piece you remove, then put its position and remove the last bit of cover to get an excellent smooth placement.

If you are only prone to leaks in a particular area, for example, if your bag sits close to your belly button, you may only need one.

My tips

Flange extenders come in lots of widths and lengths and different materials. Think first about what you need them for. If it is a leak, concentrate on the area causing the leak. You can use one or more flange extenders depending on what is required. If you need to use it all the way around, as the leaks can be in different places, consider larger flange extenders.

If your leaks come very close to the edge outside the bag's trim, consider using ones with a greater width. Some people don't need flange extenders day to day. However, they find them useful if doing sports that make them sweat under the bag could lessen their effectiveness. They are also suitable for a prolonged time in the sea or a swimming pool to provide additional security.

Ostomy powder

This is a unique powder that helps with sore parastomal skin (the skin around your stoma). It helps to absorb any moisture from sweat or output which lies on the skin and hasn't reached the bag.

What ostomy issues does it help with?

It allows the skin to get time to heal.

How is it used?

"Crusting" refers to using ostomy powder and a skin barrier film to create a dry surface over the top of damaged skin around a stoma. It is done in the case of skin breakdown, where a small amount of moisture is present. Crusting allows the affected area of skin around the stoma to become dry to stick the flange/barrier and remain stuck, thus providing a more secure seal.2

My tips

I have found that if I use the powder as soon as any sign of sore skin, it works the best and clears it up quickly. It can also be used for a crusting technique which works well for skin that is very sore.

Only a tiny amount is needed. You should apply it to the area of the skin which is sore. Once applied, leave for 10 seconds or so, and dab off any excess before using your new ostomy bag.

You and your ostomy are unique

I hope some of these tips are of use to you. I hope your ostomy is giving you an easy ride and that "less is more" is working for you and your ostomy!

Do you have any experience using flange extenders or ostomy powder? Are you looking to try either of these tools? Let us know in the comments below, or share your experience with the community!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The BladderCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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