Keeping the skin around your stoma, or peristomal skin, healthy is important. You can steer clear of many complications by following these simple suggestions:
Bath and shower tips:
- You can bathe and shower just as you did before surgery, with your pouch on or off—the choice is up to you.
- Because soap residue can cause your skin barrier to lift, avoid oil-based and moisturizing soaps.
- Soap and water will not flow into the stoma and cannot damage it.
- Learn more here
Choose a well-fitted ostomy barrier:
- To help keep the skin around your stoma healthy, it is important that your skin barrier fits properly. Choose a well-fitting pouching system to help prevent irritating stoma contents from coming into contact with your skin.
- Your ostomy nurse can teach you how to use a measuring guide to determine the size of your stoma and select a cut-to-fit, pre-cut or moldable barrier.
- Your stoma size will change up to 10 weeks after surgery, so you will need to measure it periodically.
- Changes to the abdomen caused by pregnancy, exercise, weight gain/loss or certain medical conditions may also require a new pouching system and/or size.
Changing your pouching system:
- Make an easy-to-follow schedule for your pouching system. This will ensure your skin barrier is changed before the adhesive has eroded, reducing the chance of urine or feces coming into contact with your skin. Your schedule should be personalized based on your system type and the advice of your doctor or ostomy nurse.
- At each skin barrier and pouch change, make a habit of looking at the skin around your stoma. Redness, swelling or a rash are signs of irritation. If you see any of these, or other signs of irritation, notify your healthcare provider.
- Never rip or tear off your skin barrier. Instead, remove the skin barrier gently by beginning with one corner of the barrier and slowly pulling off the remaining adhesive. Adhesive releaser spray and remover wipes can make pouch changes easier and ensure clean skin, ready for your next skin barrier. Request a sample of Sensi-Care Sting Free Adhesive Remover.
- Make sure your peristomal skin is completely dry before replacing your pouch and skin barrier. Dry skin ensures a good adhesive seal and helps reduce the risk of fungal infection.
- A skin care routine including skin barrier foam, spray or wipes can help ensure healthy, comfortable peristomal skin for years to come.
- In hot, humid locations, consider using a pouch with a fabric backing. This will keep the pouch from sticking to your skin and causing skin irritation.
If you are living with an ostomy, chances are at some point you may experience problems with your peristomal skin.
Download this guide to help identify skin damage before it progresses and get tips for taking better care of peristomal skin.
Quick Reference Dos & Dont's
- Change your pouch routinely.
- Gently remove the skin barrier from top to bottom – an adhesive remover may help.
- Clean the skin around the stoma with a wipe soaked in warm water.
- Use all-natural products. Make sure you use a soap that is oil and residue-free.
- Dry your skin thoroughly before applying your next bag.
- Inspect your skin every time you change your skin barrier.
- Apply a skin barrier foam or spray if needed.
- Check that the hole cut in your skin barrier is the right size for your stoma.
- Apply the skin barrier securely around your stoma ensuring there are no gaps or folds in skin barrier.
- Over complicate your pouch changing routine, keep it simple!
- Wait for your pouch to leak before changing it.
- Wear tight belts or clothing that are uncomfortable and cause extra pressure to your abdomen
- Pull your bag off too quickly.
- Ignore any changes in the skin around your stoma.
- Try to manage skin problems on your own, always seek help from an ostomy nurse.
TIP: Keep a photo record of your stoma skin, it’s useful to monitor or identify if changes are happening.
Don't hesitate to talk to your ostomy nurse! Having an ostomy can sometimes feel overwhelming. The good news is, you don’t have to go through it alone. A dedicated team of me+™ ostomy nurses and product specialists is just an email or phone call away, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-422-8811, for the answers and support you may be looking for to make living with an ostomy a little easier.
1. Herlufsen Skin Disordgens bjon 2006.15.15.21848