Which Pouching System is Right for You?
With so many ostomy products available, it's hard to know which one is right for you. Regardless of the brand of product or type of surgery you have, there are a few basic features an ostomy pouching system must have, to give you a sense of security and confidence.
First, it must contain urine or stool, gas and odor without leaking.
Second, it must help protect the skin around the stoma from the damaging effects of stool or urine.
And third, the system should remain in place for a sustained and predictable wear time.
This means you should be fairly certain your pouching system will remain intact without leakage for a definite period of time. That time period varies among individuals and ranges from 24 hours to 7 to 10 days. Wear time has a lot to do with the amount and character of your output, the climate in which you live, your daily activities, and the type of skin barrier you use.
High-volume liquid output will melt standard, pectin based barriers faster than the more modern, synthetic extended-wear barriers. Using a skin barrier paste as "caulking" around the stoma, or in a "bead" on the back of the skin barrier, can help increase wear time and skin protection.
Once these criteria have been met, look at other pouching system features that might impact the way you feel about yourself. For example, is the pouch visible under your clothing, and does that determine what you wear or keep you from participating in social situations? Does the size or color of the pouch influence your feelings about yourself during periods of intimacy? Do ostomy supply costs, or worry about them, overwhelm you? Researchers believe that such concerns can affect your adjustment to, and satisfaction with, your life after ostomy surgery.
That's why it is important to look at the fine distinctions about ostomy pouching systems. Consider a system's wear time as it relates to its costs. Calculate your ostomy supply costs on a yearly total-cost basis rather than a cost-per-change basis. You may find that an inexpensive pouch that must be changed daily costs you more in the long run than a more expensive pouch you can wear for three days.
Investigate the size, shape, color, contour, profile, and ease of application and emptying of a variety of pouching systems. Which one will be the right one? The one YOU FEEL is right for you.
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Content last revised 2003-02-16