The Different Kinds of Ostomy Barriers

Ostomy barriers come in different types of shapes and sizes. Luckily, we have the lowdown on each of the different barriers, what they mean for you, and the benefits of such as well.

First, you’ve got the ostomy wafer or the ostomy barrier.  These are pretty much the appliances that go around the skin with a hole around your stoma. The ostomy barrier is often called either a flange, wafer, or an appliance. This will stick to the skin around the stoma with an adhesive, and the skin around that will go around and the barrier goes around and protects the kin from the stomal output. The barrier allows for you to connect the pouches to the body, and if you use a two piece ostomy system, this is wo different things. Usually, the wafer and pouch are each their own. Not all of these ostomy barriers fit all the pouches, so you should make sure that you get the same brand of pouches and barriers, since that’ll help with connection.

There are also pre-cut barriers, and this is the most common for most of those who need a stoma pouch. They’re uniform, and circular in shape. The biggest benefit to this, is that you don’t have to cut them, just keep the box open, and of course they’re ready to go. If your stoma fits this size, this will help save you so much time, since you don’t have to manually cut the barrier each time.  If it isn’t round or the standard size, this isn’t the ideal choice, since it can cause leaks. When you first get an ostomy, you’ll probably want to avoid this, since the stoma is still changing, and it might be swelled up, which affects the state of the pouch as well.

Next, we’ve got the cut-to-fit ones, and these are of varying sizes that are printed directly, so you can cut the opening in order to fit the stoma size and the shape of it too. The printed lines are essentially a guide, and you’re not limited to pre-cut circles, but you can make any shape that fits to your stoma, so if you have an abnormal stoma, this is a good thing to have. This is good for those in-between sizes too.

The best way to handle these, is to cut those for a week or day ahead of time, so you’re not fumbling about when cutting at home.  You should also do this before you travel too.

Then you have the moldable ones, which is basically a step up from the last one, and this is made of a mold that’s safe for the stoma, and it goes right up against there without damage to the stoma itself, or the surrounding skin. The material is flexible, and it can be molded and shaped to fit around the stoma in a snug manner. This also doesn’t require scissors, but instead you can use the fingers to roll and shape the wafer around the stoma. The process of molding this around is usually called “turtle necking” since it makes a conical shape like a turtleneck, and this will help prevent leaks, increasing the comfort around the area as well.

These wafers are usually meant to fit snugly against the skin without worrying about the skin implications, so for those with sensitive skin, this is the best option.

There’s a lot of options for this in these different stoma pouches, but if you do take some time to learn about the different barriers, you can choose what’s right for you when you begin to learn to use your pouches as well.