Ostomy pouches are available in many different styles. Your Wound Ostomy Continence (WOC) Nurse will help you choose the one that suits you best. You may wish to replace the clear pouch (used after surgery) with one that is not see-through, such as an opaque pouch.
Pouches are odor-proof, made of clear or beige plastic with cloth backing, and are held to the skin by an adhesive barrier. They are lightweight and discrete. Some pouches come with a filter that deodorizes the gas as it passes through the pouch.
The two main types of pouches are:
A one-piece system refers to a system where the pouch and barrier come together as a single unit. A two-piece system has a separate pouch and barrier. These two pieces attach together. With a two-piece system you have the option of changing the pouch without changing the barrier. You are also able to remove the pouch to empty and clean it.
- one-piece system
- two-piece system
Some people with colostomies choose to irrigate their ostomy to regulate their bowel movements. This is similar to giving yourself an enema through your colostomy. Your WOC Nurse will advise you as to whether irrigation is an option.
Drainable and closed pouches are also available. A drainable pouch allows you to empty your stool periodically during the day. You may wish to change to a closed pouch which can be thrown away as needed.
Both systems are gentle on your skin, lightweight, leak-proof and odor-proof, providing a comfortable and discreet pouching system.
Your WOC Nurse can assist you in choosing the right system, as well as answer questions about taking care of your stoma. You can be sure your questions and concerns have been raised before.
See advice for before and after your colostomy operation for more information, or watch the animated film.