Some ostomy pouches seem to have a magic touch. You know exactly what we mean, don’t you?
These are the ostomy pouches that just fit perfectly every time. They stay in place, they’re easy to clean, and they’re discreet under your favourite summer dress or pair of Levi jeans.
Then there are those “other” ostomy pouches that seem set on making your life an absolute misery. They don’t fit well, they’re uncomfortable, and they cause your skin to become red and inflamed.
Here’s the catch: The ostomy pouching system you were given in the hospital should NOT be the only one you ever try out. It’s a good idea to experiment with different pouching systems once you get home to see what works best for your stoma.
What you need to know about ostomy pouching systems
It’s a fact: Not all ostomy pouches are created equally, and you’ll probably need to test a few before you find the right one.
And now, you’re thinking, “where do I even start?”
Here’s some basic information on pouching systems to help you choose the right one for you.
Two-piece and one-piece ostomy pouching systems
One-piece and two-piece pouching systems are the two types of pouching systems. Each has its own set of benefits.
Let’s take a look:
One-Piece Ostomy Pouch
Here’s how a one-piece ostomy pouch works: The skin barrier is permanently attached to the bag, making it a single unit. The pouch and skin barrier are removed together when changing a one-piece pouching system. The system is easy to use – simply peel and stick. Another benefit is that it is less visible under clothing. If you have a bulge or hernia near your stoma, a one-piece pouch might be the best option, although a pair of VERA SA: Ostomy underwear will discreetly hide your pouch anyway.
You should consider a one-piece system if…
- You prefer a more straightforward peel-and-stick system with fewer steps.
- You’re concerned about your ostomy pouch showing through clothing.
- You have a bulge or hernia near your stoma.
- You have arthritis, poor eyesight, or other challenges that make a simpler system easier to use.
- You’re concerned about costs (one-piece systems are generally more affordable).
Two-Piece Ostomy Pouch
Arguably, the most versatile pouching system is the two-piece pouching system. Let me tell you why…
As two separate pieces, it includes a skin barrier and a pouch.
The plastic ring, or flange, connects the two parts in a two-piece system, making it simple to unsnap and discard the pouch. You can change your pouch while the skin barrier stays in place on your body thanks to the two-piece pouching system.
Depending on your activity level, you can wear different pouches – for example, a smaller pouch for sports.
You should consider a two-piece system if…
- You prefer the skin barrier to stay in place when changing your pouch.
- You want to change your pouch more frequently than the skin barrier.
- You plan on wearing different pouches for exercise.
- You’re concerned that frequent skin barrier changes will irritate your skin.
- You want to change fast on the go (a used pouch can be removed, and a new one attached quickly.
Good to know: Vera SA’s fashion-forward ladies’ and men’s underwear is suitable for both left or right ostomies.
Next up are drainable pouches. These have a clamp or a built-in closure (a closure mechanism that is built into the pouch). When they’re about one-third to half full of output, they’re supposed to be emptied.
If you have frequent output throughout the day, you should consider using a drainable pouch.
It’s simple and quick to empty the pouch. You’ll be using a drainable pouch with a valve if you’ve had a urostomy (a surgical procedure that creates an artificial opening for the urinary system).
Good to know: A pair of VERA SA ostomy underwear will hide any ballooning under your clothes without compromising the bag.
Lastly, let’s talk about closed pouches.
Closed pouches can be removed and discarded without needing to be drained. If your output is less frequent and your pouch only needs to be emptied once or twice a day, you might want to consider using a closed pouch. Because closed pouches lack clamps, they must be replaced to be emptied. You take it out, empty it, and then discard it.
Always remember that you have options when it comes to choosing the right stoma bag.
Pouches come in a variety of sizes and colours, including ultra-clear, transparent, and opaque. You can also choose pouches with a soft cover to improve your comfort and provide more discretion.
Because the decisions you make about your pouching system will affect you on a daily basis, you must select the best products for your specific needs. Your stoma nurse will advise you on the best possible system that will suit you and your lifestyle. It is also important to see your stoma nurse once a year for a check-up.