In this blog VERA SA: manufacturers of ostomy underwear – gives readers advice about caring for your stoma.
In the last decade, ostomy wearers around the globe have won many small victories, one of which is the victory of choice. Just a few years ago, ostomy wearers had very little choice when it came to pouching systems. In fact, I can count the number of pouching systems available on the market back then on just one hand. The good news is that times have changed – and for the better.
Today there are a plethora of stoma products available. Manufacturers are continuously upgrading and creating new product lines, which is fantastic for consumers but can be a little daunting for novice ostomates.
After 20-plus years living with the dreadful side effects of Crohn’s Disease, I had an Ileostomy – surgery that creates an opening in the abdominal wall through which waste can pass. Through trial and error with different devices and materials, I’ve learned a thing or two about pouch size, flange adhesives, and the importance of great fitting knickers.
What took me 40 min to change my products in the beginning, now I can change my whole system in less than 10 minutes. I have changed my supplier three times since I first had my ileostomy, the new products work with me and touch wood, no leaks. It all comes down to what will suit your lifestyle best for you to carry on living a normal life.
Of course, your Stoma Care Nurse should ultimately be the one to utilise his or her expertise and professional judgment to help you identify the most appropriate items for your needs in the days following surgery. Meanwhile, I’d like to throw in a few golden nuggets I’ve learned along my stoma journey.
When choosing the right pouch to limit the danger of leaking and painful skin, the first aim is to achieve a good seal to the skin. Security and comfort in the pouch are critical during the early adjustment period to help ostomates gain confidence and accelerate their acceptance process. Comfort aside, here’s a list of qualities I’ve found are important to look for and compare to help you discover the ideal pouch for you.
Choosing The Right Pouch Size
Small, medium, or large? That is the question! Most pouches come in a variety of capacities (typically ‘mini’, ‘midi’, and ‘maxi’). While most individuals prefer the standard ‘midi’ size, smaller persons may prefer a smaller bag. The ‘mini’ devices can also be worn when swimming or during private moments (bearing in mind that capacity will be reduced so the appliance may need emptying more frequently). A larger size can come in handy whether traveling or staying overnight.
What About Flange Shape?
Because we are all different shapes and sizes, you may want to select a flange that best suits your body type. Poorly spouted stomas benefit from convex flanges, while those with outward body forms, such as parastomal hernias, benefit from concave pouches. Flanges in various diameters or with petalled edges are also available, which can better mould to your body, especially if the skin contours surrounding the stoma are irregular.
A Word On Flange Adhesives
Manufacturers have also tweaked the adhesives, with many including skin-friendly ingredients like Manuka honey, aloe vera, and vitamin E. So, if one appliance irritates you, you might want to try something from a different line.
Some ostomates have stoma appliance inflation (when the bag fills with air). Although dietary changes may assist to minimise ballooning, a pouch with a different filter may also be beneficial.
Different Fabric Covers
Fabric covers for stoma appliances are now available in a variety of textures and colours. This is a very personal option, so you might want to consider alternatives like black, grey, or white, which are made to match your clothing/underwear better and make you feel more secure. Flushable colostomy pouches are a practical way to manage your colostomy, particularly when traveling or at work.
1-piece vs 2-piece
Because of the flange flexibility and low profile of 1-piece ranges, ostomates like them. Newer 2-piece ranges, on the other hand, are less stiff and easier to assemble than older models. The baseplate can be left in place for up to a week, allowing you to switch pouches without having to clean and prepare the skin each time. It’s a delicate balancing act between comfort and convenience, and it all comes down to personal preference.
To protect the skin, minimise leaks, improve pouch security, and promote comfort, a variety of supplementary products can be employed. Powders, washers, pastes, and flange extenders are examples. Deodorants, lubricating gels, and stool thickeners are among the other items available. Your Stoma Care Nurse will help you narrow down your search for an appropriate accessory product based on your specific concerns or management challenges.
While I’ve heard it’s advisable to wear a hernia support belt for sporting activities, I’ve found the secret is actually wearing the right underwear. And by right, I mean underwear specially made for ostomy wearers. VERA SA’s unique range of men’s briefs and women’s panties stylishly conceal and discreetly support ostomy pouches. Crafted from super soft imported fabric for a fit that feels like second skin, the smooth style, and stretchy underwear lies flat against your body, giving a good fit that will stay in place all day.
The fabric is lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking – suitable for even the most sensitive skin. The hidden stoma pouch prevents rubbing, irritation, or inflammation, and reduces the possibility of detachment or leaks, keeping you feeling carefree all day.
Vera SA underwear is also suitable to wear while sleeping and helps prevent the bag from shifting, creasing, or curling. Get back to enjoying the things you want to enjoy – whether it’s hitting the gym for a power workout or intense yoga session, our range of underwear won’t stretch or fade and is available in five sizes for every body size and shape.
Vera SA is a proud partner of CANSA and The South African Society of Ostomates.
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