If the phrase gives you immediate stress, you aren't alone. The unfortunate reality is that leakage is an expected part of life as an ostomate. The great news is that there are tons of strategies to maintain a clean appliance and minimize or even eliminate leaks before they start. If you are having ostomy leakage issues, the team at Anchor Medical in Savannah, Georgia can send you samples to find the perfect product or put you in touch with troubleshooting resources. Contact us today for help.
What causes ostomy leakage?
There are several reasons you can have a leak. Here are some common culprits:
Ostomy appliance doesn't fit.
Your medical supplies can fit incorrectly for a lot of reasons. After you have your initial surgery, the stoma will change as it heals. If you choose a cut-to-fit product, you can make the opening too large or small to fit the changes in your stoma size. Cutting the wafer should leave 1/8" around the stoma opening, allowing that area to form a good seal. Moldable wafers can help with sizing difficulties as they allow you to roll and press the wafer directly to the stoma without irritation. Sometimes, your stoma may be flush or retracted back underneath the level of the skin. Your doctor will then prescribe a convex wafer to slightly push the stoma to the surface. You must be careful to maintain good skin quality and avoid pressure sores with this product, though.
Anchor Medical offers a great sampling program with manufacturer support to find the best products to correctly fit your body. Your physician's office can also help address sizing changes, making sense of the way to best fit your product.
Helpful product: The Flex and Form Collar Wafer System that clings around your stoma for a secure fit. Requiring no cutting or fitting, this product for 2-piece systems allows normal peristalsis.
Ostomy adhesive doesn't work.
Commonly used products can leave residue on your skin that won't allow your adhesive to fasten your pouch correctly. Lotions, oils, bath soap and even hair products can leave a residue, causing problems with sticking. Using a proper wipe for your peristomal skin is important to prepare the environment for your appliance to stay secure. Products are available that are skin-friendly, with added aloe and vitamin E to soothe the area.
It's also really important to dry the skin thoroughly before trying to apply the adhesive. Many ostomates use a hairdryer for this essential step in the process.
You can find that you have an allergy to the particular adhesives in a product, causing skin breakdown. You may need to switch to a different product. Anchor Medical can send you a range of samples to help you make the best decision for adhesives. It's essential to contact your physician's office to get strategies to heal your skin from itch or irritation.
Helpful product: Securi-T USA No Sting Barrier Wipes help reduce skin trauma associated with adhesives while allowing them to work more effectively. It dries quickly, reducing skin breakdown from moisture.
Skin issues won't allow a good seal.
Anything that causes the area to be irregular can cause an unexpected leak. Scars, folds in the skin, creases and hair can break the seal that you're working so hard to maintain. There is a full range of products to tackle this issue.
Hair follicles around your colostomy, careful attention should be giving to removal to avoid irritation and constant upkeep. You can use tweezers to remove hair as constant shaving can be a lot of work.
Helpful product: Stoma Paste Protective Skin Barrier prevents leaks and protects skin with an alcohol-free formula.
If you would like to sample products or attend our Advisory Committee Dinners in the Savannah area, fill out the simple email contact form on our home page. You will receive our email news - updates on new products available, recipes for healthy ostomate nutrition and events and resources for further education on your health. Or if you like, give us a call at
1-833-6-Ostomy and we'll add you to the list.