Daily tips with an ostomy
Adapting to the ostomy may seem difficult when leaving the hospital. As everything is new to us, handling the equipment can make us feel clumsy. I can still remember my first change of equipment when I returned home after my surgery... My abdomen was still covered with staples and my collar had been stuck on them in the hospital, so I was unable to take my collar off! Furthermore, I didn’t know yet how fast my digestion was and I didn’t realize that it wasn’t such a good idea to change my equipment just after eating a sugar pie!
Even if it’s quite inevitable to feel a little clumsy at first, I wanted to share a few tricks that I have acquired over the last six years and which are now part of my daily life. Maybe they will serve you too!
- The speed of digestion is not the same for everyone. In my case, I have learned that it’s better to avoid changing my equipment in the hour following dinner. There are some times when my ostomy is quite cooperative, but the hour following dinner is clearly not one of those! Over time, you will be able to figure out what the most appropriate moments of the day to change your equipment are and do it as efficiently as possible. You could also try the trick of the marshmallow! Personally, I've never tried it, but when you ingest a marshmallow, it slows your digestion. It might then be a great thing to do about thirty minutes before changing your equipment.
- As it’s not possible to predict how our ostomy will react when changing our equipment, I suggest you always prepare your new equipment before removing the old. This way, you won’t have to cut your collar and prepare your personal accessories while having to handle unexpected poo.
- Since my surgery, I've almost always used dough to put around my ostomy. However, I have always hated the fact that I was wasting large quantities of it because it was drying too quickly. I recently discovered that when I press the dough towards the opening of the tube after using it, there is less air left inside of it and the dough doesn’t dry out as much!
- In public restrooms, emptying your pouch can be less pleasant... For sure, you don’t want to sit down directly on the toilet, but it can be a little painful to stay squating the whole time. Personally, in public restrooms, I keep my pants on to empty my pouch. I can then sit down and be completely at ease.
- After emptying your pouch, stool may sometimes stick in the bottom of the toilet and it can be quite unpleasant! Especially when you have to flush several times... A simple trick, which seems to me relatively necessary, is to place toilet paper in the toilet before emptying your pouch. Then, all the waste goes at the same time when the toilet is flushed!
- And one last thing, applicable to everyone! Always make sure there is enough toilet paper before you start emptying your pouch!
I listed here some tips which I personally find really useful, but I realize that not all of them will be helpful to each of you. When you’re living with an ostomy, you’re learning how to live with it on a daily basis. Adapting to this new situation may not be immediate, but you will see, you will quickly develop your own habits and your clumsiness
Brought to you by : Coloplast