For this month’s blog article, we spoke to Pam who has had her urostomy since the age of 5. She has suffered from skin problems around her stoma for many years as well as having a latex allergy which had made finding the right products very difficult until Pam found Trio.
“I have Spina Bifida and the surgery for the urostomy was done at age five (I’m now nearly 59) because of urinary incontinence. I’ve always had problems with the skin around the stoma as it’s very sensitive and I have contact dermatitis – it’s constant contact with the products themselves which cause the condition, so there’s not much I can do about it. To make matters worse, I have a latex allergy which causes quite a severe reaction, so up to now any products containing latex have had to be dealt with using quite a strict skin barrier regime. The urostomy itself is concave so I use convex pouches, but I have scar tissue which causes lumps and bumps around the area and over the years the skin has accumulated quite a few ‘kinks’. This makes any kind of long-term adhesion very difficult and I find that I have to change the pouches every few hours (on average around four times a day and maybe once during the night on the odd occasion) and any stretching or bending movement tends to cause leaks. Frequent changing adds to the skin soreness because up to now I haven’t been able to use adhesive removers as they cause a reaction, so I tend to soak the bags off which is not ideal. The skin around the stoma is also very thin and any pulling to remove the pouches irritates and can break the skin.
Finding the solution
Trio’s silicone rings in particular are an excellent product. The Pelican washers I was using before were difficult to handle and also difficult to adhere to the skin around the stoma with any great success, so I tended to attach them to the flange of the pouch and then position the whole thing around the stoma. With the new rings I can stretch them to manoeuvre into place on the skin surface, rather than on the pouch itself and they actually ‘spring’ back to fit snugly around the stoma. I then attach the bag on top and since I started using them, I have only been changing the bags once a day and there have been no night time leaks! The rings seem to provide a much more secure seal around the stoma. One of the problems I had with the Pelican rings was that their integrity broke down pretty quickly and they just turned into a soggy gel, allowing the urine to leak through onto the flange and then the whole thing leaked and had to be changed. This doesn’t happen with the new rings. I’m actually changing the pouch by choice once a day rather than having to do so several times because of leaks. I’ve also noticed that when I remove the pouches, the silicone ring is still pretty much intact and hasn’t allowed any moisture through.
For me, the Elisse barrier wipes are much more manageable than the spray. I can wipe an area with more control rather than the spray landing in patches and the area seems to dry a lot quicker. I’ve learnt to put the pouch on as quickly as possible after using the wipes, to take advantage of the adhesive properties.
My hope is that going forward, I will be able to lengthen the time even more in between changing the pouches and that I will see an improvement in the condition of the skin around the stoma – this is already starting to happen even after just a couple of days. The soreness is reduced because of a better seal and no added irritation from constant changing of the pouches. A better fit means that I am more confident, so I’m not constantly worrying and checking the pouches for leaks – it’ll also reduce the laundry bills! I’m looking forward to receiving the Elite adhesive remover wipes with my next order and based on my experience so far, I’m sure these will improve things – not to mention speeding up the whole changing process, which is a bonus.”