The term “burping” is something that ileostomates and colostomates should familiarise themselves with.
What does it mean to burp your ostomy bag, you may ask?
For those who have not have heard of the term ballooning before, it is used to refer to an ostomy bag that is blown up (like a pufferfish). This happens when gas from the digestive tract exits through the stoma into a person’s ostomy bag.
Ballooning can be embarrassing and, yes, inconvenient. Still, the truth is that it happens to all the best of us at some point or another (especially after waking up, when bags tend to be full of gas and output), and filters (which are attached to most ostomy bags) don’t always prevent it.
In this article, we talk about “ballooning” and how to master the art of “burping your stoma” (yes, this is a real thing J)…
Why Burp Your Stoma?
Firstly, who should be reading this? Well, pretty much anyone who wears an ostomy. When you consider that the average human passes wind 14 times a day (eeek, we know, but a fact of life), ballooning is something that can be a daily occurrence.
Ostomates who wear two-piece ostomy appliances, in particular, can use the “burping” technique to release the gas from their ostomy pouch.
How do you keep an ostomy bag from ballooning?
Using a pouch with a filter can help to decrease ballooning. If your pouch has a deodorising filter, it allows the odour to be neutralised as the gas gradually escapes through the filter. The filter might start to get clogged over time and may not function properly, consider changing your pouch if this happens.
How To Prevent Ballooning
Here are a few tried and tested ways to prevent ballooning…
Try Gentle Massage
A simple way to prevent ballooning is to gently massage around your stoma to try to encourage the blockage to work its way out. Draw yourself a hot bath or try using a heat pad, as this may help your abdominal muscles relax so you can pass a bowel movement.
Avoid Gas-producing Food
Pay attention to your diet, as this can help reduce your gas production and ballooning. Food “badies” that are behind more gas than others include beans, some fruits (apples and pears), some veggies (asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots), dairy, grains, nuts, and carbonated beverages.
Eat Slowly And Chew Your Food
Eating slowly and chewing your food properly is very important if you have an ostomy.
When we eat slower, two critical things happen:
- We allow our bodies time to tell us we are full before we are overstuffed, and we swallow less air. It takes our bodies some time to communicate to the brain that we are full. If we eat too quickly, we risk overeating before we have had the chance to feel full.
- We don’t swallow air. When you eat too quickly, air swallowed goes into your digestive tract and can cause bloating until it comes out of your stoma as extra gas.
A Word On Bag Vents
If you are uncomfortable burping your bag, you can purchase bag vents. These do not prevent the smell as a filter does, so again it is helpful to use a pouch deodoriser/ lubricator in your bag with these and biologic odour-reducing spray. These are like a small valve with a “door” that you open and close to let gas out.
How To Burp Your Bag
Method #1: Remove your bag from your clothing and hold the outlet up towards you, so that your bag is in a U shape. Open the outlet and slowly press down on the bag so that only the air is expelled. To be on the safe side, it’s best to “burp your bag” while in the bathroom.
Method #2: The other method is unlocking the click that holds together the wafer and the bag and carefully opening up the top to create a small opening from which the gas can escape. You first have to push any output to the bottom of the bag, and it’s essential to apply pressure to the area that goes over the rest of the wafer so that output doesn’t leak out.
Wear Underwear By Vera SA
For day-to-day ballooning, a pair of VERA SA ostomy underwear will hide any ballooning under your clothes without compromising the bag. All our ladies’ panties and men’s briefs are custom-made to stylishly conceal and discreetly support ostomy pouches, reducing the possibility of detachment and secretly hiding ballooning.
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