How to Avoid Colostomy Bag Problems Like Leaks and Bag Blow-outs
One unexpected occurrence that happens now and then, when you have a colostomy bag on is a bag 'blow out'.
True, this term may alarm you if you are a new ostomate, but it’s not as if the pouch "blows off" from your abdomen onto your face!
What happens in the case of a bag "blow out" is that the waxy faceplate of the colostomy bag begins to flex and lift up from around the stoma.
When this happens, faeces expelled through the stoma will begin to seep through and fill the open spaces of the faceplate. As the gap widens, more stool seeps into these gaps and this eventually causes the accumulating waste to "blow" a section of the pouch open. This can pose a really nasty situation if unattended to in good time.
Causes of Stoma Bag "Blow Outs"
There are a few things that may cause a stoma bag "blow out". The stoma itself may:
- Lightly expand
- Be prolapsed
- React to heat or cold
Expelling hard faeces may also bring on this situation, especially when a patient is constipated, in which case the waste, instead of flowing into the colostomy bag, will start to put some pressure on the rim of the cut faceplate holes, causing a slow but gradual lift.
Telltale Signs of an Impending Pouch "Blow Out"
If you are perceptive, you will feel this colostomy bag problem coming on. It’s a slight feeling of an air pocket developing around the stoma, and you will even feel the slight warmth of the first leak.
At this time you may perceive the faintest whiff of odour, a tell-tale familiar smell emanating from the stoma area.
This is usually the first clue to what may result in a colostomy pouch blow out.
This is the time you must go and get your ostomy bag changed because though it happens slowly, gradually forming a 'caking' of waste around the stoma; it will eventually have an opening that will expand and leak faeces right onto your clothing.
How to Manage this Colostomy Bag Problem
Obviously the patient is the first to perceive this whiff of odour and as soon as it is perceived, it must not be dismissed, because it will then get more obvious and cause unnecessary embarrassment.
Dealing with Embarrassing Moments!
The situation mostly calls for a colostomy bag replacement. But before wearing a fresh new one, it is good to clean the area gently, especially where much caking may have occurred.
Eating the right foods and using modern colostomy bags goes a long way in helping the wearer manage colostomy bag problems with ease and avoid common embarrassing situations associated with patients living with a colostomy.
It’s also good to ensure that the skin area around the stoma is free from dirt, cream, or oil, so that the faceplate sticks firmly on the abdomen.
It is very important that the cut out stoma holes on the colostomy bag's waxy face-plate is the right size for your stoma.
There is sometimes an advantage in using modern pouches that you can cut yourself. The stoma itself seems to shrink, recede, or lightly expand, depending on some a number of factors, including excessive heat and intense cold. If the hole is remotely larger than the stoma, caking, and eventually colostomy bag blow outs may occur, and if too small, it may bruise the stoma and cause slight bleeding.
On a final note, the main thing to look out for is first, a whiff of the tell-tale odour, or the faceplate flexing along skin folds. When any of this happens then you know its time for a change in order to avoid a nasty colostomy bag problem like a "blow out".
And remember to always carry spare colostomy bags along with you whenever you are away from home because "blow outs" may occur, even if your colostomy bag is empty.
© 2010 AloBeDa
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