Skin irritation questions

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 111
   Posted 2/19/2011 2:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everybody,
I've had my ileostomy about a month now and have developed some pretty awful skin problems underneath and around the wafer. The skin in that area is very itchy, red, and bumpy. However, there's a little ring of healthy skin just surrounding the stoma, where the stoma paste goes. For that reason, my ostomy nurse thinks I'm probably allergic to the adhesive on my Hollister wafer. She brought me some samples of a Convatec appliance, which I put on yesterday. She also got me started using some skin prep wipes and a prescription anti-fungal powder. She thinks the rash might be fungal because I've been having trouble getting the area dry after my showers. I have to use a big chunk of gauze under the wafer to protect my main incision (the wafer would cover it otherwise), and the gauze gets absolutely saturated and it's impossible to get dry with the cool setting on a hairdryer. I've started wrapping myself in Glad Press n Seal before my showers. rolleyes
She thinks that if this stuff is going to help, I should see big improvements within a week. I know I just changed pouches yesterday and it's probably too early to judge, but I think I'm even itchier now than I was with the Hollister appliance. I liked the way the Hollister pouch worked better, too, and I honestly just want to go back to it. Am I jumping the gun here?
Any advice for me beyond what my nurse is doing?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 1059
   Posted 2/19/2011 3:23 PM (GMT -6)   
When I first had my ileo done it started off with a one piece bag which was fine for 3 months then suddenly it started to not stick properly. So much so that I was having to change it every hour. That is when I changed to two piece system with a separate falnge and bag. AsI had been changing bag so often for 4 days (happened over bank holiday weekend and in those days stoma nurse only there Monday-Friday and no one else in hospital had access to any other bags!) it made skin sore and took few days for it to settle down with new bags.

I also now use a skin barrier wipe called Cavilon that also provides an extra protection to the skin without leaving it wet. Ask your stoma nurse for list of all hollister products as they have other bags with different adhesives which may suit you better. What I would do it ask for a sample of each from the companies and then just cutting a small piece of the adhesive wafer off and stick that to spare bit of skin on stomach and see if any reaction after a day. Saves upsetting the operation site by keep having to remove bags that don't agree with your skin.
Crohn's dx 1989, loop ileo 1992, end ileo 1992. Arthritis developed 1990 Stoma abcess 1995. Azathioprine started 1995. Panprocolorectomy 1999. Stillbirth 2000, antiphospholipid syndrome dx 2000. Flare up 2004, stoma abcess and strictoplasty 2004. Low blood pressure dx with impaired kidney function 2006, fludrocortisone pres. flare up 2010, steroids, Humira, codeine.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 2/19/2011 3:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Im in the very same boat! I have had my ostomy for 3 weeks and it ITCHES!! It is very bumpy, red and irritated :( Home health nurse thinks it is a yeast infection. I too have a powder and on an anti fungal oral med. I am prone to yeast infections but I also know I have super sensitive skin! Friday I called many of the ostomy companies and requested free samples of pastes and seal. Have you tried Sure Seals? Ordered a free sample but I think those are more for leaks. Using stomahesive paste right now, itches seems to be getting a little better today. Im just trying not to change bag to often I know that is hard on the skin. I also found that if some residue is left on the skin that is better than trying to scrape or rub it off, it may add to protect your skin. Still wondering if Im not allergic also to products? Does anyone know of the most sensitive paste or rings out there? I can't seem to get the rings to stick when using the powder so using paste? Are rings gentler than paste? I hope your skin gets better. Just know there are others that feel your pain!

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 2/19/2011 3:29 PM (GMT -6)   
    hi ,are you making sure flange is fitting tight against stoma, have you remeasured ,it will shrink. i had the same problem.use desenex powder,blow off excess then barrier wipe, let dry then apply appliance. the emzymes in your output will feed on your skin,so keep as close to stoma as possible.hope this helps. :-)
think positive, live life to the fullest!!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1054
   Posted 2/19/2011 6:26 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm no stranger to the skin irritation.

I use Hollister, and about a month after my surgery I had an allergy to the adhesive as well. I wasn't surprised, as my skin is very sensitive. I started using the no-tape option that Hollister offers, which is made of pectin. Much better for sensitive skin.

about 4 months after that, I started having a stupid yeast wouldn't go away for THREE MONTHS! Gross. It was so incredibly frustrating. During that time I tried Convatec as well, and I was even MORE allergic to the Convatec than the Hollister.

My suggestion is trying the no-tape wafer, and then when you take showers, seriously just take a sponge bath. It's incredibly annoying but keeps the area from even possibly being wet. You can do it just for a while until you can figure out if it's allergy or yeast.
Stephanie, 29 years old

March 2000-Diagnosed Crohn's Colitis
(Tried every drug imaginable, but lived 10 years with daily diarrhea)
March 18, 2010-Total Proctocolectomy and Permanent Ileostomy! :)
(Now med free, 4 subsequent procedures to correct blockages at stoma site)

Stoma named Zoe...She's my best bud!! :)

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/20/2011 2:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Everyone,

I guess I'm a newbie at this ileostomy thing, I've had mine for less than 2 weeks. I'm 21, after dinner a few weeks ago I started vomiting, went to the doctor discovered I had a twisted intestine so here I am in the ostomy community now! It's so nice to have a support group like this.

Anyway, I was really worried about skin irritation too because the first few times I changed my bag there was some kind of raw (and painful!) area, but already i've already taken a liking to the Coloplast powder and wipes, it seems like it takes just a couple days to get my skin healed.

Well thought I would share what I've discovered so far!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 587
   Posted 2/20/2011 5:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Emily, sorry you had the need to join the forum, but it is nice to have a place to go when everything is so new. I have had mine for 7 weeks and love the powder and wipes, too. I really put it on heavily.

Sorry OP, I hope you get everything worked out. I never had bumps, but it was very red and itchy before I figured the whole thing out. I needed to use a convex system and the nurse had measured wrong so I had to deal with a bigger hole than necessary for several weeks. Since then, all is good.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 2/20/2011 6:20 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had my ileostomy for 4 months and in the beginning I had those same problems...Here is what helped me
1> fungal powder
2>cavalon barrier wipes
3>no wafer with paper tape
4>sure seal
5>2 piece appliance I use coloplast extended wear I am on my 5th day so far
6>eakin seals
7>coloplat stoma powder

What i do is take off the wafer was with plain water If I shower then only ivory soap and rinse very well. Measure my stoma. Cut wafer out. Put stoma powder on coloplast has 1. Wipe with the cavalon wipe. Stretch eakin seal and place on the wafer. Place the wafer on. Place the sure seal on. Put pouch on then done. I can change my wafer in the morning after breakfast if i try and do it after lunch then Mr. Buttons gives me troubles. I do not have to use the fungal powder anymore but i use the powder and the cavalon every time i change as a precautionary and no probs...If you want productnumbers let me know as I did have skin issues....God Bless Trixiemom
have loop ileostomy
diagnosed with colon inertia
2 mo out and feeling great

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 2/20/2011 7:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Try trimming the wafer on the incision side...that way you won't have to use the gauze. I still do that because my scar is funky and the wafer would have issues sticking. I probably take about 1/2" to 3/4" off of that side and don't have any issues with the wafer staying on.

As far as the skin irritation I cannot help, but you've gotten some good suggestions!

I hope you find relief soon yeah
Crohn’s dx 1989
some terrible years before my
temporary ileo in 2001
Proctocolectomy w/end ileo in 2008
...wish I knew then what I know NOW!

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 139
   Posted 2/20/2011 8:51 PM (GMT -6)   
In addition to switching to the tapeless wafers, you might want to try shaving the area where your wafer goes when you change (carefully) and also try using an adhesive remover (preferably alcohol free) to remove your wafer.  Make sure you wash the area where you use the remover very well after using it.  I found that I had problems with irritation and itching because of wafer adhesive that was left on my skin and my skin also got irritated just from the act of removing the wafer (pulling the hair and skin off).  My skin irritation turned into little pus filled bumps until I found a solution that worked for me. 
I also agree with OHIO76 - cut the wafer (or cut and angle it for the best coverage with minimal trimming) rather than using gauze under the wafer if at all possible.  I had to do this with both of my ileos.  I also found the the spray irritated my skin more than it helped - it works for some people and doesn't for others.  I just used the stomahesive powder and brushed off any excess before I applied my barrier ring and wafer.  Also remember that the less you change, the less irritated your skin will be.  The piece test is always a good idea to determine if you are allergic to the wafer or if it's something else causing your skin issues.

Ducridr - 36 - female

Diagnosed w/ severe pancolitis 11/20/2007
J-Pouch surgery #1 of 3 on 8/21/2009!!!
Surgery #2 - 1/4/2010
Surgery #3 - 3/23/2010
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