An ostomy bag is a bag outside you that's used for stool or urine collection. It's usually surgically installed unto patients with issues with waste release due to disease. This article focuses on living with an ostomy that collects stool, which is the most common type of the bag.
They're typically included when you undergo gastrointestinal surgical procedures like ileostomies and colostomies. At first, it might seem a bit much to deal with an ostomy, but over time you'll be surprised at what the human mind and body can get used to.
1. Nailing Your Ostomy-Changing Routine Down
Your ostomy nurse should give you detailed instructions regarding changing the ostomy bag. However, it can still be challenging to get your routine down pat.
These bags should be changed twice every week. They could also need to be changed more frequently or less depending on the situation.
It's like how you usually should move your stools every day but depending on what you eat, you might move them faster or more often than before. The ostomy bag should be changed after you've showered and you have an empty stomach for best results.
Before changing the bag, set out all the materials needed to prep your new pouch unto the tube.
2. Learn How to Empty the Ostomy Bag
It might feel strange to empty the ostomy bag if you're not used to it. However, over time, it will become second nature for you to do the more often you do it. It's like how a baby might feel weird about moving its stool for the first time until it becomes part of its routine.
When emptying the ostomy bag, you should do so before going to bed to sleep or doing some major activities. It's also crucial to empty the bag when it's ½ or ⅓ full of gas or discharge.
Don't rinse the pouch after emptying it. There's no need for it. If you're worried about the smell, use a lubricating pouch deodorant on it.
3. Plan for Travels with Your Ostomy Bag
When traveling with your ostomy bag, it's important to remember to bring all supplies in your carry-on bag when going by plane or traveling by car. A stoma and the ostomy bag were developed to help those with digestive conditions to have more freedom when traveling, after all.
It's part of their reasons for being. Just have some jurisprudence when jetting across the globe. Don't be absent-minded when it come to ostomy preparedness
Don't bring scissors on your airline carry-on bag unless you come with a special medical note. Sometimes, even the note isn't enough to allow scissors with your bag, so you'll have to buy scissors wherever you're going and leave the scissors there after use.
You can also pre-cut your skin barriers while packing for the trip. Don't neglect bringing extra supplies regardless. It's better to be safe than to be sorry.
4. Discuss with Your Partner about Your Ostomy
If you have a significant other such as a girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse, they might be ignorant about the ostomy or its impact on your everyday life. Include the ostomy and what it entails in your talks with each other leading up to the stoma surgery.
This will assist in removing their ignorance and the mystery behind handling your ostomy bag. They might even become part of your support system as you go through your existence with the bag.
If you've already had the ostomy surgical procedure and you're more concerned about how it impacts your future romantic partners, read up on the tips on dealing with intimacy while having an ostomy.
5. Join an Ostomy Support Group
Join an ostomy support group and read or listen to their stories. It's reassuring to know that other people are undergoing the same thing as you are, especially in light of how isolating having an ostomy bag and taking care of it might feel. Your family and friends might try to empathize for sure.
However, they don't know what you're undergoing first-hand. Connect with others who've gone through the same struggles as you have to have people to connect to, even if it's an online community or a public support group.
Your daily routine prior to getting a surgical procedure resulting in an ostomy bag will change drastically since it presents many challenges and issues. You'll need some time to get used to it, like with the growing pains of puberty moving towards adulthood.
However, rest assured you can make living with an ostomy much easier by acclimatization. You can even buy a barrier ring for ostomy to ensure the tubing and the bag has a perfect fit connection-wise and no leakages.