A colostomy is a surgical procedure that takes one end of the large intestine out through an opening (stoma) made on the left side of the abdominal wall. During this procedure, one end of the large intestine is diverted through an incision in the abdominal wall to create a stoma.
A stoma is known as an opening on the skin where a pouch for collecting faeces is attached. Patients with long-term or temporary colostomies have colostomy bags attached to their sides where faeces can be collected and be disposed of.
A colostomy bag is a plastic bag that’s attached to the patient’s side to collect stools from the abdomen through an opening (stoma). It is a compulsory appliance for patients after surgery. After the surgery, selecting a colostomy bag for the first time could be overwhelming. Here are some considerations when using a colostomy bag;
- Consult with your Nurse
Patients just getting their first colostomy bag after surgery should consult with an ostomy nurse concerning the right fit for your situation, in terms of size, shape (telescoping, retracting, flushing), and peristomal skin anatomy. See here for quality hernia belts for colostomy bags.
- Odour Resistance
In selecting a colostomy bag, you need to look out for the bag with the most resistance to odor, it is an essential factor to consider when purchasing a colostomy bag. Getting an odour resistant bag will improve the patient’s confidence when walking around in public.
- A bag that is impossible to notice under clothes
Patients with a colostomy can still walk around and do normal leisure activities like running, dancing, jogging etc. So it is advisable when getting a colostomy bag to get a bag that’s impossible to notice under clothes so as not to attract unwanted attention.
- A leakproof Seal
In considering a colostomy bag, you will need to go for the most reliable pouch system. Get a bag with a leak-proof seal that lasts for up to 3 days. That’s an assurance for the patient that the probability of unwanted leakages while in use is low.
- One-piece and two-piece Colostomy Bag
For the one-piece colostomy system, you have to change the whole unit. While with a two-piece system, you only have to change the wafer, so the whole bag requires fewer changes. If there happens to be a leak from under the wafer, you will have to change the bag/wafer.
- Proper Use
In the first few weeks after the surgery, the patient will need to change the bag frequently. It is advised to be changed every two days or more. Never use the same colostomy bag for more than 7 days. It is inadvisable and has its side effects.
After getting your colostomy bag, you will be advised by your ostomy nurse to watch what you eat during the early days after the surgery. The patient must adhere to the diet instruction so as not to irritate the abdomen and cause leakage of the bag.
Finding the right colostomy bag for your particular lifestyle and stoma condition improves your quality of life as a colostomy patient.