Leaking with a stoma - Trio Healthcare

Are you experiencing leaks?

Most ostomates will experience a leak at some point in their lifetime but, with a little trial and error using different products, leaks don’t have to become a regular fixture. Here are the main reasons they happen in the first place and what you can do to stop them.

What causes leaks?

Leaks are, sadly, incredibly common and many ostomates put up with them for years without seeking advice or realising that there are solutions out there. Leaks are usually caused by a stoma bag that doesn’t fit well around the stoma. Any gaps or crevices allow output to flow out or sit on your skin underneath the flange. Having uneven skin around the stoma, as the result of a flush or recessed stoma or hernia, is often the reason for an ill-fitting stoma bag because the flange can’t sit flush against the skin. It can also be down to the type of product you’re using and whether your bag is sticking properly to your skin.

How do you prevent leaks?

1. Choose products carefully

It’s important to use the right products, especially if you have a recessed or flush stoma. In this case, a convex flange might suit you better. It will hug the creases and folds on your skin for a closer fit. Always talk to your stoma nurse before using a convex appliance. If you have a protruding or well spotted stoma you should be able to use a flat wafer.

2. Get the size right

Check your product template and make sure you’re cutting the flange to the right size and shape for your stoma, you may need your stoma nurse to check that your cutting template is the correct size.  Measurements can fluctuate so do make sure you check them regularly.

3. Prep the stoma area

Remove anything that might prevent your bag from sticking properly, such as hair, body moisturiser or water. Try nor to use moisturiser around the stoma area. The area should be clean and dry before you apply your stoma bag.

4. Empty your bag often

It can also help to make sure your bag is emptied regularly. Sometimes the weight of the contents can drag the bag out of its correct position, which can lead to leaks.

5. Try something new

Experiment with different products, always checking with your stoma nurse first, to see if a different bag or accessory might be better and add an ostomy belt if this helps you to feel more secure.