Using a Night Storage Urine Bag
When I had my urostomy surgery back at the end of 2017, I didn't know anyone who had a stoma. Everything was new to me, and I was very much led by the information and products I was issued by the hospital. These may or may not be the best choice of products to suit your own personal needs.
A night bag helps ensure a good night's sleep
I was issued a compatible (made by the same manufacturer) night bag as my day bag. This meant that a “connector” tube wasn’t required. The night bag had a 1-meter, nonflexible tube. A night bag is primarily designed to support an undisturbed night's sleep. Without a night bag, we would have to get up in the night to empty our urostomy bag.
Struggling with my night bag
Once home from the hospital, I began to struggle getting comfortable at bedtime. I was feeling quite restricted by being attached to a night bag. It was then that I started to investigate the Internet for solutions. And oh my! I was totally bamboozled! So many choices! So, I began to get in touch with ostomy suppliers and requested various samples. This way, I could try out some of the numerous night bags on offer and hopefully find one that I could sleep better with.
Types of night bags
Single-use night bag
As it says on the box, this is a night bag that is individually sealed and designed to be used only once. These bags have a break-off seal for emptying. I personally think that these are best suited for the likes of a weekend away, as you can just dispose of the bag and do away with the need to rinse or have to transport the used bag back home. The single-use bag is something worth considering if you are going into the hospital. The downside of a single-use night bag, for me, (apart from not being environmentally friendly) is that these tend to have non-flexible and shorter length tubing.
Weekly use night bag
These are the most commonly used by ostomates wanting an undisturbed night's sleep. These bags are designed to be emptied more than once, with a “tap” kind of fitting. Different lengths and types of tubing that are attached to the night bag are worth investigating. I personally found that a longer length (2 meters) of flexible tubing suited my needs best.
These are usually found supplied in a small plastic bag inside of your box of day bags. These are only required if you are using a different manufacturer for your day and night bags.
Night bag stand
A night bag stand is a "nice to have" to hang your night bag from. It's not totally necessary, but there are many different types available like a one-piece, freestanding, lightweight, metal stand upon which the night bag hangs.
Travel stands are usually made of a lightweight plastic and are collapsible. A DIY stand can be made; it's as simple as placing your attached night bag into a washing up bowl or a trash can.
What's MOST IMPORTANT is that the night bag is at a lower height than your attached day bag. Otherwise, the urine will not flow, and you will end up leaking.
Taking care of your night bag
If you choose to use a daily use bag, then all that’s necessary is to dispose of it. However, if you are using the weekly use night bags, then it’s recommended that they are rinsed out daily. This can be done with a simple vinegar and water solution, or you can buy a sterilizing fluid, the type you would use for sterilizing babies' bottles. Rinse through, then hang to dry. Over the shower rail can be a good place to hang.
At the end of the day, I compare it to choosing a bed pillow. We all have our own personal favorite. What I find comfortable, someone else may find extremely uncomfortable. So it is, I’m afraid, a case of trial and error. But don’t put up with a bad night's sleep. There are lots of options available. Speak with your stoma nurse if you have access to one. But most importantly, don’t give up.