All About Ostomy Pouches

For people who are coping with an ostomy pouch for the first time, it can seem overwhelming. Even for those who have dealt with them for quite a while, it can be tedious to keep up on new developments. Here’s an overview of everything you need to know about ostomy pouches.

What is an Ostomy Pouch?

An ostomy pouch, ostomy bag, or colostomy bag is a container which is attached to a stoma in order to collect a patient’s waste safely and cleanly. Stomas are the opening in the body through which the waste comes, and have been surgically created due to necessity.

What Surgeries Result in Needing an Ostomy Pouch?

Most patients who require the use of an ostomy pouch have had one of three different ostomy surgeries: a colostomy, an ileostomy, or a urostomy. A colostomy involves a stoma created using the large intestine. An ileostomy uses the ileum, or the small intestine. A urostomy is an ostomy created for emptying the bladder, but it also uses a section of intestine to create the stoma.

What Is The Difference Between A One And Two Piece System?

A one piece system involves a bag or pouch which connects directly to the stoma. A two piece system uses a mounting plate, barrier or also called a wafer between the bag and the patient’s abdomen. Both have their advantages, and frequently patients simply have a personal preference for one or the other due to their lifestyle.

Why is the Pouch Necessary?

The stoma has been created to ensure that waste can safely exit the body so that the patient stays healthy. However, patients don’t have muscular control over the stoma the way they had over the original orifice. As a result, waste drains from the stoma involuntarily. The pouch is there to collect that waste.

Does Having an Ostomy Pouch Mean I’m Bed Bound?

Not at all! As a matter of fact, an ostomy pouch can be freeing, and often means a huge quality of life improvement for patients who were suffering from a condition affecting the bowels. While learning to change the bag and understanding how the digestive system has changed due to the surgery does take some time, patients tend to adjust very well, especially if they have a positive attitude.

What is a Wafer?

Wafers, or base plates, are a piece of equipment that goes between the patient’s body and the bag. The stoma is fitted through it. There are many different sizes and shapes designed to accommodate the different body styles of different patients. The opening may be pre-cut, designed for the patient to cut, or even moldable, in order to create a good fit with the patient’s stoma.

Do I have to Use One Type?

No, whatever colostomy bag for sale you find could potentially be usable. There are some exceptions to that, of course, so discuss it with your doctor. Most of the time, however, it’s going to be up to the patient, and they can find a set up they like.