Ways to Manage Ostomy Odours
Some lifestyle changes have to be applied whether you have a permanent or temporary ostomy. Though you don’t have to change your diet forever, there is a direct correlation between what you eat and expel. One of the biggest concerns for new ostomates is managing odour when out in public. Most ostomates are concerned about their ostomy impacting their social or love life, which creates lots of stress. Fortunately, having an ostomy does not mean you are going to emit strong odours. You can avoid embarrassing moments and keep your ostomy private by being prepared and knowing what to expect. Here are six tips that can help you manage ostomy odours.
#1 Monitor Your Body’s Response to What You Eat and Drink
You should first monitor your body’s response to food and beverage. Each person’s body digests different food and drinks in different ways. The process of digestion directly links to any odour or gas produced by the body. There are certain foods and beverages that can cause an increase in gas inside your ostomy bag. Here is a list of food and beverages that can cause gas.
- Brussel Sprouts
- Dairy Products
This list is a good place to start. Introduce these foods and beverages in a way that allows you to monitor your body’s response. Try introducing only one of the listed foods back into your diet each day to determine which causes an increase in gas. You can tailor your diet more effectively to your specific needs this way. It is not necessary to eliminate the listed items. Reduce the amount you intake accordingly if you are worried about producing odours while out in public. It is also recommended to stay hydrated to dilute the concentration and reduce the odours of pungent food. Asparagus, fish, onions and garlic is said to increase odour in your urine bag.
#2 Regularly Empty Your Ostomy Pouch
One of the best methods to avoid ostomy odours is by regularly emptying your ostomy pouch. The smells can become more prominent when waste build-up. Keep odours under control by emptying your ostomy bag when it gets ⅓ or ½ full. Your bag will become heavier and could loosen the seal on your appliance if you wait for it to be full. It can cause odour and waste to leak out. Different types of pouching systems require different steps to be emptied. Always make sure to follow your ostomy appliance proper care instructions as recommended by the manufacturer. A pouch should be emptied anywhere from one to three times a day depending on your food and beverage intake.
#3 Use Odour Eliminating Products
If you still have trouble managing ostomy odour, you can also consider using odour eliminators. There are a few different products that can help you manage any ostomy odour without major lifestyle changes. Most odour eliminating products come in various forms. Try each product to learn what works best for your needs.
The first type of odour eliminator is a pouch deodorant. It can come in both liquid and gel forms. Pouch deodorants are primarily used for preventive measures. Put your preferred pouch deodorant in your ostomy bag whenever you change or empty it. The product should work as soon as the waste starts to fill your ouch, offering a discreet odour eliminating option. The number of safe brands you can choose from offer products that come with unscented and scented options.
Odour Eliminating Sprays
Using odour eliminating sprays is one of your other options. These sprays are applied when you are changing your pouch to help eliminate airborne odours. It should not be sprayed directly in your ostomy bag. These sprays should help eliminate the smell that accompanies changing your ostomy pouch. It is helpful when you need to change in a public setting.
Talk to your doctor about using oral medications if all else fails. There are chewable odour eliminators that contain bismuth subgallate. It works to neutralize odours from stool and flatulence. However, you should always have a thorough discussion with your doctor and understand any side effects that might occur.
How About Tic Tacs?
It is not nearly as effective to use Tic Tacsas odour eliminators. However, many people found success with this DIY method. Nonetheless, as with any DIY solution, using Tic Tacs should be done at your own risk. For a safer and more effective alternative, you should always use FDA approved pouch deodorants.
#4 Using a Filter
You can filter your ostomy pouch when gas starts to build up inside your ostomy bag. The resulting pressure can cause the bag to inflate and strain your ostomy appliance compromising the seal. The strain can eventually contribute to leaks. You have options to insert odour reduction filters if you are experiencing odour problems caused by the inflation of your bag. Most ostomy bags come with the ability to attach a filter directly to the system.
#5 Try a New Ostomy Bag
Talk to your doctor or ostomy nurse about trying a new ostomy bag. It is especially crucial if you are still experiencing embarrassing odours despite trying all of the methods mentioned. You can get ostomy bags in a variety of shapes and sizes. It fits everyone differently. You might deal with an improper fit though your ostomy bag is not the problem. The inaccurate fit of your ostomy bag can end up leaking odour, even waste. Make sure to choose a pouch that fits your stoma and stoma output.
You might also benefit from using different types of pouches. It is also recommended to try using both one-piece and two-piece systems to see what works best for you. If you prefer replacing your bag more than emptying your pouch throughout the day, you can opt for disposable ostomy bags. All of the various ostomy products involved in a pouch system should work together to give you an air-tight seal that prevents any kinds of leaks.
Coloplast develops products and services aiming to make life easier for people with very personal and private conditions. They work closely with the people who use their products. Coloplast creates solutions that are sensitive to their individual needs. They offer ostomy care, continence care, wound & skin care and interventional urology. Their line of products includes ostomy pouches, barrier cream, ostomy appliance adhesives and much more.