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The ostomy pouch is a heavy-duty bag that you wear on the outside of your body to collect your stool. The ostomy pouch is typically worn after certain types of surgery have been performed on either the small intestine or colon; its function is to collect any stool. After your surgery has been performed, you will need to learn how to change your ostomy pouch on your own. Your nurse will have given you specific instructions on how to change the pouch. While changing your pouch, you will need an extensive array of supplies. Taking care of your ostomy pouch can be overwhelming, so we will break down all that you need to know into bite-sized portions of information over a series of blog posts. In this article, we start by taking a look at the ostomy supplies that you will need to prepare before you can get started with taking care of your pouch.
A Closer Look at the Ostomy Pouch
Depending on the surgery you have just gone through, your stool will be either liquid or solid. You may only need to use your ostomy pouch for a short time, but it is also possible that you will need to wear it throughout your life. If you fall into the latter camp, the prospect of having to use the ostomy pouch every day can feel overwhelming, but you will get used to it over time.
The ostomy pouch should be attached to your belly and away from the line of your belt. It is usually hidden under your clothing. You will have heard your nurse refer to the “stoma” – the opening in your skin that the pouch will be attached to.
You can perform your daily activities while wearing an ostomy pouch, but you will have to adjust your diet for a period of time and take note of any soreness in your skin. Ostomy pouches are odor-free, and if worn correctly, will prevent any gas or stool from leaking out.
You will need to empty your ostomy pouch when it is about a third full, and change the pouch every two to three days. If there are any variations from this advice, your nurse will inform you of the appropriate procedure. If you have any questions, are facing any specific issues or notice abnormalities in your skin or body, contact your ostomy nurse for further advice.
Checklist of Ostomy Supplies
- An old towel or rag to place on the floor
- Tissues to catch any waste that might be loosened during the changing process
- Plastic bags to clean up afterward
- A cloth to wash up with if you are not planning to shower afterward
- Stoma measuring guide and pencil
- A clean bath towel
- Skin barrier wafer (if you are not using a new skin barrier wafer with moldable properties, you will want to have a pair of scissors ready)
- A paste
- A new pouch
- A tail closure if you are using a pouch without closure of its own
- A hairdryer
- A swivel make-up mirror