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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2003
Total Posts : 118
   Posted 7/14/2004 10:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I am new to my ostomy!!!! 10 days exact. I feel lost and alone!!!! Scared.......I have a permanent one, due to crohns/colitis.I used to post on those sites all the time,but now I need more info and support!!!!
I need to know how to take a bath?  How often do I change my wafer?  How do you deal with gas?  Smell? hOW DO YOU CHANGE IT WITHOUT IT MAKING A MESS!!!!!! I get so grosssed out easily!!! I know its my stuff, but I need help......Is there anyone out there? I am posting everywere I can find.
lots of hugggggggggsssssssssss.........
I trying my best to not get depressed!!!!! I want my life back!!!!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2003
Total Posts : 335
   Posted 7/15/2004 1:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Michelle.

First of all,try not to panic,it's early days for you yet and things will get better.You are not alone,there are many people that have an ostomy for one reason or another.I have had an Ileostomy since Jan 2003,because meds nolonger worked for my Ulcerative colitis.
You can take a bath or shower with your bag on or off,just make sure that you dry everything realy well afterwards.I find i prefer to leave the bag on for a bath,but i very often remove it for a shower,and then i feel realy clean afterwards as i put a fresh new bag on.
I am very fortunate that i don't hardly ever have a problem with gas,but i know there are those that do,so hopefuly they will be a long to advise you with that.
Emptying and changing the bag of course is going to make a certain amount of smell,and there are lots of things on the market to help with this.I use a spray called OstoMist,and it is realy good.Ask your stoma nurse for advice on how to get somthing like it.
I use Coloplast Assura one piece,and although i have had 5 days wear from it,i don't feel clean unless i change every other day,but everyone is different and you will find what suits you.
I don't know how many others do this,but to change my bag,i stand in front of the toilet,so that any output that decides to apear at just the wrong moment,should just drop in to the toilet.I find this method the best for me,but just remember to make sure that you have everything you need to hand before you start.
You will get your life back,just give yourself time to adjust.

All the best


New Member

Date Joined Jun 2004
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 7/15/2004 5:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Michelle,
I've had an illeostomy for a few months now so am still in the learning process, but I have found a few things that make it a bit easier. I change my bag every four days. I find the wafer starts lifting around this time so would rather put a new one on in my own time than have a leak. Also, if you start feeling itchy or stinging under the wafer there may be a leak and it is worth changing the bag to a new one. If the current bag isn't working for you there are plenty of other makes and shapes you can sample. I'm currently on my fourth type (convex wafer) and find this works best for me. I'm not a big fan of baths but if you want one just have one - with or without the bag. It may blow up a bit with the heat but there's nothing wrong with a little extra buoyancy! As far as changing the bag over goes, it can definitely get a bit messy at times. I put an old towel down on the bed just in case and make sure everything I need is in reach, including tissues to mop up any spurting. I find the best time is first thing in the morning, before I've had anything to eat so that any output is minimal and easy to deal with. I also take a couple of loperamide tablets the night before to thicken things up. Taking the bag off and having a shower is a great way of cleaning the skin and feeling refreshed. I then like to leave it off for as long as possible to give the skin a chance to breathe and dry out. Doing this in the morning can give me a good half-hour without any mess to deal with. Hope everything goes well, it takes a bit of getting used to but will give you so much freedom compared to UC.

Pin Cushion
Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 442
   Posted 7/15/2004 7:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Michelle,
You are still recovering from the shock, not only to your body, but to your mind set of what you have to deal with, give it time and take it as slow as you can.
I too have Cronhns/Colitus and after 19 years of suffering with it I had a colostomy done last March and it was the best thing I have done for myself in a long time.
Even with knowing going into the surgery and having a great ET nurse it was still a shock and it has taken some ajusting to get used to.
here is how I do things.

I use one piece cut to fit pouches from convatec.

I empty my bag when it is 1/3 full. I get a few folded pieces of toilet paper ready and place them on the top of the toilet tank, I prefer to kneel on one knee in front of the toilet, I remove the clip, fold the bottom of the bag up and squeeze the bag from top to bottom to empty it into bowl, take the toilet paper to clean the bottom of pouch, If it needs rinsed out, I go to the sink flush it with warm water, spray in a couple of squrts of cleaner, unfold the bottom and put the clip back on.

I change my pouch once a week.

As far as a shower, I take one real long full shower once a week which is when I also change my pouch. The rest of the week I do a sponge bath and one quicky shower during which I try to get as little water around my ostomy area as possable. I use one of those massage hand held showers so I am able to aim it where I want to. and when it is the change day, after taking long shower, I remove the bag, fold it up and put it in a plastic grocery bag that I put on top of the shower door rails to make it easy to grab. I toss the bags in the bath sink for now and use the handheld shower on low pressure and a wash cloth ( I have "special" wash cloths I bought just for this they are plain white so they can be washed in hot water with bleach) to clean the area around the stoma and to flush all the waste down the drain. Some may think this is gross, but it is going in the same pipes the toilet is conneted to anyway. After I get out of the shower I dry the area real good and let it sit form a few minutes to make sure it is dry all the way, keeping the wash cloth close, so I can grab it to avoid an accident in case my bowels deside they wanna get atic at that moment) I put the used bag in another plastic bag abd toss it into the trash. I use power prep, and the spray prep around the stoma, let it dry and attach the pouch. And then finish the rest of my post shower activities.

I am one of those that have gas no matter what I eat, I tried eliminating this then that but still had the gas problem and it is a pain to "burp" the bag, I found a vent that you can attach to any type of pouch that you open and release the gas and then just close back up. I do go outside to do this, cept when I am getting even with a nasty or mean person, then I use it to pay em back, hee hee. I also tried bags that had a charcol filter and they work good but only last for 2 days before they start allowing the smell to pass too. So I am saving them for when I go to ride roller coasters, this was a worry for me, I was having visions of waiting in line for long time to get on ride only to have to release gas to get on it, hee hee. So far I havent tried any of the deoderants that you can put in the bags, but prob will some day.

Take me words for what they are, mine, cause what works for some may not work for others, we each have to find or own way to do all things. Trail and error is one of the few truths they are in life, that and death and taxes, but I think heard that shipping and handling is being added to that list, lol.

Most of all I try to find humor in everything (as you may have noticed by now), it is the only thing that keeps me sane.

Have you seen an ET nurse (Ostomy / wound nurse) yet?
Try and find a support group in your area.
Keep posting here, we arnt as active as other but there are alot of good people here!
If you want we can also trade emails.

* I think it may be time for a colorful metaphor*

New Member

Date Joined May 2004
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 7/20/2004 8:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Michelle,
All good comments.  When I first got mine, my wife changed the pouch for me with me on the bed.
after about a year, I started doing it myself at the sink, i put down an old towel on the floor, and several kleenex close.  I use the Holister one piece, and change it once a week.  I also use the skin prep.
a hair drier is your best friend, i take a shower most days, and just dry the tape well.  I also useit to dry the skin when changing.  On changing day i always take a shower without the pouch.
I also wear an elastic belt, I don't know if it helps, but I feel more comfortable.
I empty it often, sometimes i kneel, othertimes I scoot back and empty it between my legs. I always put  toilet paper on the rim to make sure none gets on the rim, and it seems to make it flush better.  As mentioned, get the toilet paper to clean the drain portion before you open the clip.
Make sure the clip closes correctly and repace it often.  The Hollisters I use come in a box of 5 and a clip with each box, I use the new one.  The only real messy accidents have been when a clip breaks or comes unsnapped.  The leaks happen, but usually aren't to noticable to others.
If you are like most of us you will soon be thinking less about the pouch and more about living normal.  I know you don't feel like it now, but in 6 months you will be living a much more normal life than you had with UC.  I remember planning my day around the nearest restroom, and that was 25 years ago.
My recomendation on gas is keep a log of what you eat and how much gas.  Also some things you should avoid.  For me it is nuts and sourkraut.
Feel free to ask anything

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2003
Total Posts : 43
   Posted 7/21/2004 2:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Michelle, I had an ileostomy for almost 2 years and just recently been connected (2 weeks).  I know at first I was horrified and very grossed out when changing/cleaning my bag but over time it will get better and you will develop your own routine and it won't gross you out anymore.  When I drained my bag I sat on the toilet and just let it drain in between my legs.  I would flip up the end of the pouch and use TP to clean the end as much as possible and then flip down the rest of the pouch and clip it.  As for bathing.  I LOVE BATHS. and have one everyday!  It was easiest with the bag on and I just bathed normally.  WHen I changed my bag I would remove my bag and jump in the bath.  I would keep the water level low just incase I started pooping.  I also kept a roll of toilet paper with me and if I started to poop I would catch it with the TP and throw it into the toilet.  THis may sound gross but I usually knew when I was going to poop and was able to keep my water clean.  It was also nice to have clean my stoma with water and feel free.  It will take time but you will find your own way....just keep your spirits up!!

T Jane
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 785
   Posted 7/22/2004 8:35 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Michelle, 

 I've had my ileostomy just sence May. I have severe fistulas from crohns disease, it's supost to be temporary but I have thought about making it permament because I feel so good ,I have my life back. Its been great to feel good again, I had forgotten what it was like.

 I adjusted pretty quick and I think you will too. Before long you wont give your bag a second thought.

 I take baths and showers, I leave the pouch on when I bath but I take it off sometimes when I shower. I swim too.

 I use the coloplast assura pouches with the easyclose. I like it because it has its own filter vent built in and you dont have to use a clip , it has velcro.  I use a deodorant in the pouch so it wont smell when I empty.

As far as changing it ,  Just make sure you have everything ready when you do it. It took me a long time to get the process down and I still get jumbled sometimes.

Hang in there you will get the hang of it and you will have your life back !!!

I Just tell myself, it could be worse !!!
          "Even with a Bag!!!"

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 388
   Posted 10/5/2004 5:37 PM (GMT -6)   
i've enjoyed reading everyones thing i have learned is coffee filters are cheap and of you put an ice cube in one and tie it with a twisty  bread wrapper and lay it on your stoma just for a few seconds it will stop the worse of diahrea allowing you to clean dry and get your bag ready.

T Jane
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 785
   Posted 10/5/2004 8:20 PM (GMT -6)   


  Thanks for that tip, I will defanantly try it. 

Thanks again

I Just tell myself, it could be worse !!!
          "Even with a Bag!!!"

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