Ostomy issues – leakage
Unfortunately, leaks are a part of living with an ostomy. To prevent leaks, it is critical that you understand why your pouch leaks as well as how to fix the source problem.
Poorly fitting pouch
It is important to measure your stoma for the first few months and periodically to ensure that you are using the right size opening. The barrier should be snug up to the stoma edge, but not touching the stoma. Be sure your skin barrier is large enough to provide at least 1/4” of material all the way around the stoma to adhere to your skin. It is better to size up than to size down.
Peristomal skin lesions
Leaks can lead to compromised skin integrity which can be very painful. Often, the denuded skin is similar to a broken blister and when stool touches it, the pain can be quite excruciating. Weeping, denuded skin leads to a vicious cycle of leaking pouches, increased use of supplies, treatment medications, doctor visits and your time and money.
Body changes: creases and wrinkles
If an individual is overweight, skin folds and creases in the peristomal skin increase the potential for leakage. If you have had recent weight loss or weight gain, then your stoma and/or the contours of your abdomen may have changed as well. Measure yourstoma periodically to ensure correct sizing. Creases need to be filled to ensure a flat landing area for the barrier to make an effective seal.
Liquid output from ileostomies and urostomies requires an extended-wear barrier to absorb more moisture. Liquid stool or urine erodes the barrier much faster than formed stool. When these products erode, you will notice a white puff or “turtleneck” around the stoma opening –this is completely normal.
One of the greatest causes of poor pouch adherence is improper or incomplete skin preparation and poor application technique. Here are some basic tips.
- Stop eating or drinking for an hour before you change your pouch; no fun changing a busy stoma.
- Rinse soaps and adhesive removers off thoroughly; this can impede adherence.
- Dry your skin thoroughly. Moist skin will interfere with adhesion.
- Empty your pouch in a timely manner, when it is 1/3 to 1/2 full. If you know your pouch leaks on day four, get in the habit of changing it on day three
- Skin barrier rings or strips can be used to fill in creases around your stoma to prevent drainage from leaking through these areas. Rings or strips can be applied as a whole or in small pieces that can be molded and placed where they are needed. Skin barrier rings orstrips can be applied directly to the skin or on the back of the pouching system. They are available in various sizes and thicknesses.
- Ostomy skin barrier tube paste can be used as a filler for small uneven areas and creases around the stoma. Skin barrier paste is not to be used as glue and should only be used in small amounts. A small amount of paste may improve the seal and prevent leakage.You do not need to use paste if the skin around your stoma is smooth, you are getting a good fit with your pouching system, or you are not having any problems with leakage. Paste is not recommended for persons with a urostomy.
Pouch leaks and skin irritation can occurwhen you have a stoma that has receded to the level below the skin surface.
If your stoma has retracted or sunkin, then you may need to use a convex pouch with a belt. The convexity will help push your stoma out and also flattens creases. Sagging or fluffy skin above the stoma needs to be pulled up and flattened out when applying the pouch.
For further information, talk to one of our manufacturer-trained Ostomy Specialists to learn how Liberator Medical’s ostomy products may help alleviate ostomy pouch leaks.
We provide these free services:
- Access to Product Specialists to help you get the best ostomy products for your needs
- Customer Support -access to the most up-to-date ostomy news and information
- Online chat with ostomy specialists -a fast and discreet way to discuss sensitive issues
Call to Speak with a Specialist: 855-948-3319
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