Choosing the Right Supplies for Your Ostomy

Having an ostomy can be quite a significant change to your life, but the important thing to remember is that it’s an option for you and your health needs, and the ostomy supplies that exist are top notch for your health and safety. Medical advances have made it extremely easy to care for your individual needs, and ostomies are no different.

So, where do we start? Perhaps it’s best to talk a little about pouching systems in order to get a better idea of what type of ostomies there are and what they mean. To begin, pouching systems are just the products you use to collect stool and urine. Within those pouching systems, you should have a skin barrier used to adhere to your skin and protect your skin from urine or stool. The bag just happens to hold those products.

So what types of ostomies are there? Basically, there are three: colostomies for stool drainage from the large bowel, urostomies for drainage of urine, and ileostomies for drainage of stool from the small bowel. Pretty simple, right?

When it comes to choosing your skin barrier, it’s important to remember that the barrier itself is to seal and protect the skin around the stoma, as your skin shouldn’t be in pain or infected by any means. In fact, your skin surrounding the stoma should be the same as your skin elsewhere: healthy and clean.

So when it comes to choosing the right ostomy supplies, skin barriers can be tricky to navigate at first. There are typically standard wear barriers, which are used for semi-formed or formed stools. An extended wear barrier is used for urine or loose/liquid stool (these barriers don’t break down like a standard wear barrier when it comes into contact with liquids).

Additionally, some barriers may have added ingredients that can be used when the skin is sensitive surrounding the stoma. It’s just important to remember certain products that your insurance cover when choosing ostomy pouching systems, so don’t get carried away in choosing anything and everything if it’s not covered by your insurance, or expect to pay a lot more than you expected up front.

All in all, caring for your ostomy needs is easier than you would imagine, so long as you know what you’re doing and are careful to choose the right products. Talk with your nurse or doctor if you’re unsure where to go next, as there are a lot of things in the world of ostomy that could be confusing.