Can You Get Your Ostomy Wet?

Learning to live with an ostomy is a big change for most, as not only are you adapting to a new way for your body to dispose of waste, but you’re also learning to live with something attached to your body. And that’s something that can be weird for a lot of people to new ostomies, because they’re always confused about what they can and can’t do with their bodies.

One of the absolute most often asked questions surrounding what you can do with your ostomy? If you can get your pouching system wet. We get it though, it’s a valid question to something that is still relatively unknown to most people. So, let’s jump into a proper answer for basic ostomy care.

Yes, you can still shower, get in a bath, or even swim with your pouching system on. However, it’s always recommended to empty your pouch before doing any of these things simply in case something did go wrong during the time you were getting wet (but this is extremely rare, so don’t fear). Also, when showering or bathing, feel free to do so without your pouching system on, or else you can leave it on. That’s up to you.

Another thing to consider is that water won’t hurt or even get inside your body through  your stoma. However, if you’re showering with it exposed, make sure that the water pressure that’s hitting your skin isn’t too strong and hitting your stoma directly, as this could cause irritation. Your ostomy care is important, so don’t overdo anything if you’re unsure how it will affect your skin surrounding the area.

The biggest thing to remember is that you need to check your pouching system before and after any water activities, as prolonged exposure could cause the system to loosen. You don’t want this to happen, as it could mean changing a system before you need, and that’s both annoying to stop all activities and take care of and also a waste of your ostomy supplies.

Still, rest easy knowing your pouching system is waterproof, as they’re made this way for ease of bathing and showering. Additionally, use a towel or hairdryer on cool when drying the tape and cloth backing of your pouching system. This will enable it to stick better to your system after you’ve been in the shower or the pool, and the fewer complications you have, the easier your life will be while having an ostomy.

Should You Use Skin Barrier Sealants?

Ensuring your ostomy supplies don’t leak or fall off your body can be tough if you’re new to the whole game of stoma cleaning and pouching system replacement. Still, there are a few things you can do to keep things going smoothly. The main things to consider are proper cleaning and ostomy care as well as having the right fitting system for your individual stoma, but otherwise, we have some tips for you.

If you’re someone who sweats a lot, you may feel like your adhesive barrier is prone to coming loose and allowing leakage. If this is the case, you could dust your skin with a powder specifically for your skin barrier. From there, you can dab some sealant on top of the powder before fitting the system in place. This is great for beginners as well, so long as your nurse approves of the accessories to help better adhesion to your skin.

Additionally, removing hair from around the site can help for the skin barrier to stick better. If you want to shave the area around the stoma, go for it. Just make sure you practice proper cleaning and ostomy care like you would any other time with that particular area of skin. Some people choose to dry shave with a skin barrier powder, some choose to use an electric razor, and others opt for mild soap and water. Whatever you go with, just do the right things and take your time.

You’ll be glad to have an area free of hair for proper sealing when it comes to changing out your skin barriers. Additionally, make sure to shave in the direction your hair grows to further reduce irritation. There’s no need in creating a problem out of nothing. Shave like you would any other area.

Skin sealants are also available in different forms, such as wipes, gels, and even sprays. It’s important to consider your options and what works best for your body when caring for your stoma, so choose what caters to your individual needs. Also, keep in mind that your skin may be sensitive to adhesives, which may mean a sealant is even better for you (whereas it may not work for others). And if you happen to have dry or even too oily of skin? A sealant is your best bet. More often than not, people just don’t know about using a sealant because they’ve never explored their options. While it costs a little more, the convenience can be absolutely worth the cost.

Necessary Information About Pouching System, its Wear Time, and Wear time Tips

Ostomy Pouching System

First, a pouching system consists of a bag, skin barrier, flanges, and adhesive. It collects the feces or urine that comes out through the stoma. The ileum, colon, or rectum, pass the solid or liquid waste to the opening on the abdomen of a patient. The pouching system has various kinds. The common types of stoma pouches are:

  • One-piece ostomy pouching system.
  • Two-piece ostomy pouching system.

One-Piece Pouching System

It is an entire system to collect the stool or liquid, attached to the stoma. It has a skin barrier and a bag; however, both have conjoined. You cannot detach the skin barrier from the pouch. To change the stoma bag, you have to change the entire system.

Two-Piece Pouching System

This is the opposite of the one-piece pouching system. Here, skin barrier and stoma bag, both are separable. You do not have to remove the skin barrier to change the pouch. This is quite convenient for elderly ostomates, visually impaired, or physically week patients. Moreover, changing of two-pieces ostomy pouching system does not make your rough or red.

A few other types of ostomy pouching system are:

  • Drainable ostomy pouches.
  • Disposable Ostomy Pouches.
  • Pre-cut ostomy pouches.
  • Closed-end ostomy pouches.
  • Flat ostomy pouches.
  • Convex ostomy pouches.
  • Cut-to-fit ostomy pouches.

After picking up the right ostomy pouching system for your opening, you should think about its wearing time. This affects the health of stoma and its surroundings. The inappropriate wear time can spoil the health of peristomal skin and stoma.

Variables that can affect the Wear Time of Ostomy Pouching System

Various variables affect the longer or shorter wear time of a pouching system. Every ostomate wants to wear the stoma bag for a longer time, but it is not possible for everyone. Every patient has its history and a different kind of stoma. So, the wear time depends on the opening type, location, health of peristomal skin, frequency of output, and severity of the disease.

  • You cannot wear a stoma pouch for a long time if you are the patient of urostomy. It discharges liquid frequently and out of control. Therefore, you have to empty, clean, and change the pouch again and again. Moreover, when you have a urostomy, the output frequency depends on your fluid intake. The more you drink water and juice, the more you have to drain and change the bag.
  • If you have a colostomy, then you do not have to change or empty the stoma bag again and again. You can feel the bowel movement and heaviness of the pouch when it gets half-full, you can change or wash the bag.
  • If you have ileostomy or colostomy, and you are suffering from loose motion or diarrhea, then you have to change it two to four times a day. You cannot wear an ostomy pouch for a longer time in case of diarrhea.
  • Moreover, it depends on the health of peristomal skin. If you feel rashes with the pouching system, then you have to change it, you cannot wear it for the long term.
  • Loose or inappropriate size pouches can cause leakage; therefore, you have to change your stoma bags immediately.
  • Furthermore, the wear time of a pouching system depends on the appliances you use. If your adhesive is of low-quality, then you cannot increase the wear time of the stoma. You will have to change it when you feel leakage or looseness.

A Few Wear Time Tips

If you want to wear the ostomy pouch for a longer time, then you must know the right size and shape of your stoma and bag. The skin around the stoma must be clean and dry. The wet skin can damage the wear life of a stoma pouch. Moreover, you should follow a strict hygiene routine and a healthy diet.

What Is an Ostomy?

Ostomy is the name of surgery for the making of a hole in the belly wall, made to provide a new passage of excretion (urine and stool) to a patient. The stoma (hole created during the operation) is always on the abdomen; however, the exact location depends on the type of surgery. Sometimes, it is on the lower right, and in a few kinds, it appears on the left side of the abdomen. Well, the opening (stoma) in the belly is a new route of discharging the solid and liquid (urine and stool) waste from the body.

We shall discuss the reasons for an ostomy in this article. Moreover, you will read the risks and complications attached to this operation. Merely, when you go through an ostomy operation, your rectum and anus do not provide the natural path for discharging. An ostomate discharges stool (solid waste) and liquid (urine) through the stoma.

When it comes to the appearance of the stoma, it has no specific shape and size; however, doctors have mentioned some dimensions, colors, and shape of a normal stoma. A normal opening is a round or oval, red or dark pink, maroon in a few cases, and three to four mm. It is a painful opening, it cuts your internal organs (a small part of bowel, rectum, ileum, or colon) and brings it to the artificial passage of excretion. However, the pain will diminish after three or four weeks of the operation. Once your internal stitches and organs get healed, you will get normal and feel no pain.

Some Reasons Due to Which You Need Ostomy

Well, it is quite understandable that when you have a severe infection or disease in your intestinal and digestive portion, you need stoma care. However, there are several disorders and malfunctions in the bowel, colon, rectum, and ileum due to which you need ostomy or an artificial passage for excreting the stool or urine. Moreover, doctors remove an internal organ that is somehow connected to the digestive system, then you need a stoma in your life.

However, some common reasons and diseases that can lead you to live an ostomy life are:

  • Cancer in your digestive system, rectum, bladder, or intestines.
  • An injury in the bladder, intestines, rectum, or bowel (during a fight or accident).
  • An Ulcerative Colitis.
  • Bowel disorder.
  • Blockage in the bowel.
  • Blockage in colon or ileum.
  • An infection in the small intestine, large intestine, bowel, or bladder.
  • Side effects of cancer radiation treatment. 
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Irregular or uncontrollable bowel movement. 

Surgery Procedure of Ostomy

This is an incision of internal organs. Thus, this is a very painful operation. Therefore, before surgery, a nurse will give you anesthesia. Thus, you will not feel any pain, cuts, or procedure. Then, the professional team will mark the spot for the making of the stoma (the nurse finds the exact location for the opening before the surgery starts, usually in the pre-operative session).

The surgery starts, and the doctor removes the internal infection from the opening. After that, he brings a small portion of the internal organ (a small part of the bowel, rectum, ileum, or colon) outside to the abdomen. This half part of ileum or colon connects to the stoma for the excretion cause. The surgeon stitches your internal organ or intestine; sometimes your stoma needs stitching too. Thus, it depends on the operation and your stoma is ready. You will take at least four weeks to get recovered from the pain and stitches. Once you are fine you can get back to your previous activities.

Complications You Can Face After the Ostomy Surgery

In a few cases, an ostomy patient might face some complications, even after the operation, they could be:

  • Irritation in and around the stoma.
  • Stoma bleeding.
  • Infection in stoma or an internal organ.
  • Blockage in stoma or intestines.