The following tips were suggested during discussion at our Sept 18, 2000 meeting. As usual, always consult with your doctor or ET nurse before using any products or procedures mentioned in this newsletter.
Colostomy irrigation: There may be a medical reason why you
should or should not irrigate your colostomy. For other colostomates,
irrigation is entirely personal preference (see additional article on
irrigation below). The correct amount of water to use for irrigation can
vary according to your size and how much colon you have left but,
generally, should not exceed
One-piece or Two-piece: Colostomates who irrigate usually use 2-piece products due to the need to frequently switch between irrigation sleeves and ordinary pouches or stoma caps. For all other ostomates, it's your choice whether you prefer 1-piece or 2-piece products.
Constipation (colostomy): To keep your colostomy flowing smoothly, mineral oil may be helpful, either taken by mouth or as a separate irrigation.
Pouch Management: If stool collects around the stoma instead of sliding to the bottom of the pouch, try lubricating the pouch with some cooking oil, inserted using a squirt bottle. To avoid mildew of your irrigation sleeve, apply ordinary bleach (e.g., Clorox). If you clean and rotate between several (2-piece) pouches, put some nylon mesh in the unused pouches while hanging them to dry, to insure that they dry out thoroughly.
Food Blockages are primarily a concern for ileostomates, less so for colostomates, but individual susceptibilities vary greatly. In all cases, chewing well and drinking lots of liquid reduces the chance of blockage. Popcorn is often cited as a dangerous food, but some microwave popcorns ("Pop-Secret" by Betty Crocker appears to be a good brand) may be less dangerous, as most of the kernels pop and the result seems to be more brittle--easier to chew fully.
Possibly useful products:
Colo-Majic Liners: For use with two-piece closed-end pouches - inexpensive flushable liners that allow easy disposal of stool and may considerably increase wear time of each pouch (for info, call 1-800-300-9167).
Eakin Seals: Protective, moldable alternative to paste which has proven very effective for many ostomates. Made in Northern Ireland but distributed in North America by ConvaTec (1-800-422-8811).
Hernia Belts: If you have a parastomal hernia but aren't a good candidate for surgery, you might obtain relief by wearing a suitable belt. Such belts in a variety of widths are available from Nu-Hope (1-800-899-5017).
Note: For links to other manufacturers and distributors of ostomy-related supplies, see the Distributors & Manufacturers page on this website.