From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook July-August 2004:

My ABC’s of ileostomy hints, tips, etc.

by Lisa Andrews, Fayetteville (GA); posted on the UOA General Discussion Board; July 5, 2004

Editor’s note: This list of tips was posted on the UOA Discussion Board by Lisa Andrews, who is also the 2003 winner of the Great Comebacks Award sponsored by ConvaTec and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. As indicated by the word “ileostomy” in the title, some items in this list (especially “J” and “L”) are specific to ileostomates, but many of the others can be helpful—or inspiring—for any ostomate.

Hi everyone – I thought you might enjoy this list I put together of ileostomy hints, tips, etc. Everyone has their own ideas and what works best for them, and here are some of mine I put in A-B-C order. Enjoy!
— Lisa

Always be thankful for your health!

Be patient with yourself as you learn ostomy care – it takes time to adjust after surgery.

Change your appliance in the morning before breakfast, and take your shower with the appliance off. You can wash the skin, and soap & water won’t harm the stoma.

Drink lots of fluids during the day.

Empty your pouch before exercising, bathing, or going to bed.

Find the pouching system that you are comfortable with and have confidence in.

Groups like UOA chapter meetings and CCFA support groups are very beneficial and informative.

Hydrogen peroxide makes a great, inexpensive pouch deodorizer. Just a squirt in the pouch after emptying and before attaching the tail clip eliminates odors.

Irritated skin can occur; if it lasts more than a few days, call your doctor or ET nurse.

Juices like tomato and V-8 will come out exactly the same way they went in!

Keep an “emergency kit” with your pouch, wafer, skin care products, etc. in your purse at all times.

Laxatives are usually not necessary as prep for small bowel X-rays; clear liquids for 24 hours will normally clean out the small intestine adequately.

Mail off for all the free samples you can – you never know what new products you may come across.

Name your stoma if you wish!

Organize your supplies in a single & convenient location so you always know what you have on hand.

Pack ostomy supplies in carry-on baggage when flying.

Quiet down your stoma (for meetings, church services, etc.) by taking one Immodium A-D about 30 minutes beforehand.

Reduce your chance of leaks – change your appliance at least weekly or more often as the manufacturer suggests.

Share your experiences with others – especially new ostomy patients and those contemplating surgery.

Two-piece systems are great for “burping” to release excess gas.

Underwear can still be sexy with an ostomy – you don’t need to sacrifice form for function!

Visit or call your ET nurse as needed – they are there to help.

Wait at least 2 hours after eating before going to bed. You’ll be less likely to feel the need to get up and empty your pouch in the night.

eXamine your stoma and surrounding skin weekly for changes.

You are the one in control – not your ostomy.

Zest for life – what illness took away, your ostomy and good health can return to you!

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Content last revised 2004-07-06