Living with a stoma
Adapting yourself to the new situation
Depending on the reasons for your stoma surgery you may feel that you are on an emotional rollercoaster, being weepy sometimes for no apparent reason especially in the first weeks after the surgery. This is quite normal. Having a stoma makes your body look and work differently, and there will be times when you find this difficult to cope with. It's common to feel disgusted when dealing with the stoma output also. Most people are not used to having such close contact with their bodily functions, and so it can take quite a time to adjust to.
It seems that during these first weeks all you can think about is having the stoma, and you find yourself thinking 'Is this how it will always be? ' But through time you will most likely become less conscious of your stoma bag.
Life with a stoma bag
Choosing the right stoma bag
At hospital you have been advised by your nurse or doctor which type of bag better fits to your stoma. One important thing to know is that there are different types of stoma bags available depending on your stoma and your preferences: closed (colostomy) bags, drainable (ileostomy) bags and drainable urostomy bags.
Once you know how to handle your appliance properly you will be given the opportunity to choose the type of bag you will use daily. One of the first decisions you need to make is choosing between a one-piece system and two-piece system.
In the case of a one-piece system, the wafer and the stoma bag are bounded together. It has a lower profile than a two-piece system which means the appliance is less visible under clothes in general and especially under swimwear. But at the same time changing the wafer with every bag change can cause irritations on sensitive skin. Probably it could take more time to position a new one-piece bag system around your stoma than only replacing a new bag on a wafer of a two-piece system.
For a two-piece system, the wafer and the bag are separated, before being attached together through a coupling system. With such a system the wafer is kept on the skin for several days, whilst only the bag is changed when needed, which is gentler on the skin. As the wafer and stoma bags are ordered separately the two-piece bag system is more versatile: You have generally more wafer options within the same system as well as different sizes and types of ostomy bags that can be interesting for active people. Two-piece systems allow you to switch easily to a smaller stoma bag.
It’s up to you to choose between an adhesive or a mechanical coupling system. The first is using an adhesive which is similar to a tape, the second uses a connection similar to the way a lid is placed on a plastic container.
Transparent or beige stoma bags and bags with inspection window
You will have to choose between using a beige or a transparent stoma bag. A transparent bag allows you to see your stoma more easily, the beige one is more discreet. Most people prefer using a transparent ostomy bag at the hospital before switching to a beige one once at home. The availability may vary depending on the product range.
If you wish to have both, discretion and the possibility of seeing your stoma when needed, you can choose also our beige bags with an inspection window. This inspection window allows the visual control of both stoma and output. The availability may vary depending on the product range.
Pre-cut or cut-to-fit wafer
You will have to see if you prefer using a pre-cut bag or a cut-to-fit one, where you can cut the wafer fitting it to the shape and size of your stoma.
- Cut-to-fit wafer: Cut the wafer to adapt it to your stoma.
- Pre-Cut wafer: The wafer fits to your stoma size and is ready to be applied.
Convex or flat wafer
Depending on your stoma, your choice will be a flat wafer or a convex one. Convex wafers are curved and may be recommended to patients with flush or retracted stomas.
Do you fight with stoma leakage and skin problems?
Then a convex stoma bag system might be an alternative for you. B. Braun offers a wide range of convex options to choose from, among others our new generation soft convex stoma bag.
Learn more about convex stoma bags
A stoma changes your life and with it a lot of questions arise
Having a stoma implies a lot of questions especially about taking care of your stoma and how to manage your every day life in the best possible way. Below you'll find some answers to frequently asked questions.