Check the Fit of Your Colostomy Bag
If your colostomy bag is not seated around your stoma properly it can leak air, odor, and even fecal contents. With a properly fitted colostomy bag, the only time you should smell anything foul is during the bag change. Any system should last for at least three days without leakage (optimally, some systems can remain in place for four or five days). The majority of pouches now include an odor-blocking feature such as a charcoal filter. If your bag is not sealing properly around the stoma then gas and odors might be the least of your worries – an improper fit can cause damage to the stoma and surrounding tissues.
Try Different Pouching Systems
This is where your enterostomal nurse (ET nurse) comes in very handy.
There are many different types and manufacturers of ostomy supplies. Ask anyone who has had a colostomy for a while – all devices are not made alike, just as our bodies are not made alike. Simply because one bag works well for someone else does not mean it will fit you.
There are two main types of colostomy drainage bags: One piece and two piece systems.
One piece systems are more frequently used for their low profile (less visibility under clothes) and for their ease of use. You can get one piece systems that are closed (you have to remove the entire system if the bag is puffed up with gas, or open (a clip at the bottom can open the bag and you can release the gas from the bag). Some manufacturers also supply vented or filtered pouches, which are specifically designed to help release gas without any fuss.
For more detailed information on pouching systems and free samples, contact the United Ostomy Associations of America at 1-800-826-0826. They also have assistance for people who are not health insured and can help you obtain supplies.
If It Doesn’t Fit, Don’t Patch It
After applying the pouch, don’t try to patch up leaks or ill-fitting areas with pastes or tape. If the bag is not fitting right then you probably need a new system. Your ET nurse will be able to assess what type of bag system will fit your body best by taking your skin and body contours into consideration. Scars, wrinkles, and even moist skin can make a difference and help determine what type of pouching system will work for you.
Deodorants for Colostomy Odors
To help decrease odors, many manufacturers supply special liquid drops that can be added to your colostomy bag.
There are also supplements that can be taken by mouth to reduce gas odor. However, it is highly recommended that you discuss these products with your doctor and do not arbitrarily try them on your own.