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A guide to stoma appliances (1 MB)
There is a huge variety of colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy stoma bags available in the UK, which may feel overwhelming.
We will guide you through the jargon of stoma bags (also called stoma pouches) and stoma appliances, so that you will know a one-piece bag from a two-piece bag and what a flange, wafer or baseplate is.
There are a number of different types of stoma bag, but they all have the same job description, which is to hold waste in a secure waterproof, odour protective bag. The fabric outer covering reduces noise and prevents the pouch from sticking to the skin. Some bags have a clear covering which allows for ease of location in the application process, others are opaque or have a window providing visibility. Stoma bags can be drainable or closed, one or two-piece.
A closed stoma bag is not intended to be drained or emptied, it is designed to be discarded when full.
Drainable stoma bags have some form of sealable opening on the bottom, that can be easily released by the user to empty the bag, without having to change or detach it. The method of closing the bag varies with the manufacturer, for example some roll up and close by a Velcro type fixing, while some fold and clip.
Also called a flange, wafer or base plate. The skin barrier is designed to attach and seal the
stoma pouch to the body, and protect your skin from the output of your stoma. It is important to make sure that it meets your needs by being cut correctly, and ensuring that it fits the contours of the body. Skin barriers come in various sizes and shapes. They are often marked with sizing circles to aid enlarging the hole if it needs to be personalised to the shape of your stoma.
A one-piece bag, sometimes known as a one-piece system, has the pouch and the skin barrier manufactured as a single unit. The two cannot be separated.
Generally, a one-piece system can feel more flexible than a two-piece system, and are easy to apply and remove. They lie flatter against the skin, showing less under your clothes and are considered to be more discreet. They come in either closed, drainable or tap end.
Skin irritation can occur due to the regular removal of the product.
A two-piece bag or two-piece system, has the skin barrier and the pouch as separate items. The skin barrier is designed to be applied to the skin and then the bag is stuck, locked or clipped to the skin barrier. The bags come in either closed, drainable or tap end.
You MUST use a skin barrier and pouch from the same system as it is rare to find a compatible fixing method from different manufacturers.
The two-piece systems can be beneficial if you have sensitive skin, as the bag can be changed without removing the skin barrier from the body. Another advantage is that they can be changed quickly and easily, perhaps when using a smaller bag for playing sport, or changing from a small bag to a large one when greater capacity is needed.
Some of the two-piece systems can be more bulky than the one-piece system, and there are two possible areas for leaks to occur.
These are closed bags which have a biodegradable inner liner. This can be peeled from the outer pouch and flushed down the toilet. The clean outer layer can be disposed of normally in a waste bin.
Easily disposable and discreet.
These are available in either one-piece or two-piece. They are ideal for babies or children and can also be worn by adults who want a very discreet pouch as they are much smaller in size.
These pouches are very similar to other pouches but are designed to store urine. They have a tap at the bottom that allows the pouch to be emptied or attached to a night drainage bag. The ability to attach a drainage bag is very useful as it increases capacity while sleeping.
The Convex skin barrier is designed to manage a stoma that is flush to the skin, or sits in a recess or has folds or similar surrounding it. They come in variable depths and firmness and some are now softer.
The degree of convexity varies and needs to be carefully selected for each individual by a specialist stoma care nurse.
Wind and odour is as inevitable for colostomists and ileostomists as it is for everyone. Unfortunately, because you cannot control your stoma, you cannot control when wind and odour is produced. To help, manufacturers supply pouches with filters incorporated, these vent the bag and filter the gas to remove any odour. The filter is usually made of charcoal
with microscopic holes and membranes. Performance varies and you may want to try a number of different manufacturers to see which one works best for you.
These help to collect larger volumes of urine overnight by connecting to the urostomy bag. A night stand can be placed at the side of the bed which the drainage bag attaches to.
These are products that make life a little easier and improve your stoma management. They include things like adhesive removers, deodorisers and creams to ease soreness. There is a large selection of accessory products available, for more information please feel free to contact us.
For easy removal of adhesives and adhesive residue deodorisers helps minimise the risk of odours when changing the pouch
Help to protect your skin against the output of your stoma
Seals are an ideal solution if the skin around the stoma is uneven or creased. They can be moulded to fit and are designed to reduce the risk of leakage.
Fittleworth is the leading home delivery company for stoma products that specialises in getting your medical appliances to you, discreetly and quickly. We are not a manufacturer and as a result, we are able to provide you with an unbiased service for your stoma products.
Whatever product you require, if it is available on prescription, listed in part IX of the drug tariff or the Scottish stoma tariff, we can supply it.
Whether you require advice or are investigating alternative products, our Customer Service Advisors are always willing to help. To ensure that you receive appropriate samples, we will contact your specialist stoma nurse to discuss and gain consent prior to sending.
If you are not in contact with your specialist stoma nurse, our team of Clinical Liaison Nurses will contact you to discuss your request.
At Fittleworth, we pride ourselves on being able to offer a discreet, reliable and convenient home dispensing service. If your stoma pouches require personal customisation, we have a skilled team of operatives that are able to offer this service.
Fittleworth has over 38 local Care Centres in the UK and stock all stoma products available on prescription.
A guide to stoma appliances (1 MB)