From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook October 1997:

Skin Irritation

from Metro Maryland; via Hemet (CA) Stoma-Life

Preventing skin irritation is much better than treating it. Skin irritation is usually caused by an improperly fitting pouching system, poor adhesion, or irritation from the adhesive.

Whenever your pouching system does not keep drainage from getting on the skin, the skin may become irritated. Irritated skin makes it difficult to get good adhesion. Poor adhesion lets drainage leak onto the skin - and you are caught in a vicious circle. If you develop skin irritation, seek professional help immediately. The problem must be corrected because it will not go away by itself.

Improperly fitting pouch - Right after surgery, because it has not yet healed, your stoma is larger than it will be a year from now. While your stoma is in the process of shrinking to its permanent size, you will need to measure it frequently. Be on the safe side - measure your stoma every time you purchase supplies.

If you gain weight (Those who had ulcerative colitis prior to surgery usually do), you may need to check the fit of your pouching system. Also if you lose weight.

Poor adhesion - Irritation right around the stoma can be a sign of poor adhesion, which permits leakage of body waste. Your skin barrier should be changed as soon as it starts to leak. How long you can wear it comfortably will vary depending on your activities. You may need to change it more frequently when you exercise strenuously or when the weather is hot.

Irritation from adhesive - Itching, redness, or rash may be caused by constantly pulling the adhesive away from the skin [Remember: Push the skin away from the adhesive; don't pull the adhesive--Ed]. It may also indicate that you are allergic to the adhesive. Report any such reaction to the doctor or ET nurse immediately. Several types of skin barriers are available. You should be able to use at least one of these without a problem [And if all adhesive barriers cause problems, there's the VPI non-adhesive system--Ed].

Preventing skin irritation - You don't have to put up with irritated skin. A properly fitting pouching system, changed as needed, can usually prevent skin irritation.

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Content last revised 1997-10-18