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Stomach Bag - Tips And Tricks To Manage It

A stomach bag is a medical device that is used to collect stool from a patient who has undergone a colostomy procedure.

Karan Emery
May 09, 20230 Shares128 Views
A stomach bagis a medical device that is used to collect stool from a patient who has undergone a colostomy procedure.
A colostomy is a surgical procedure that involves the creation of an opening in the abdomen called a stoma, which is connected to the colon.
This allows stool to bypass a diseased or damaged section of the colon and be collected in an external pouch, also known as a stomach bag.
The use of a stomach or colostomy bag can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals who have undergone a colostomy.
In this article, we will discuss the use and care of stomach bags, as well as tips for managing life with a colostomy.

Why Would Someone Need A Stomach Bag?

A stomach bag, also known as an colostomy bag, is a medical device that collects waste from the digestive system when someone is unable to use their rectum or anus for bowel movements.
There are a variety of reasons why someone may need a stomach bag. Here are some common reasons:
  • Cancer- If someone has cancer in their colon or rectum, they may need to have a stomach bag to divert waste away from the affected area while they undergo treatment.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)- Conditions such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis can cause inflammation and damage to the colon, which may require a stomach bag.
  • Diverticulitis- This is a condition where small pouches form in the wall of the colon, which can become infected or inflamed. In severe cases, a stomach bag may be needed.
  • Birth Defects- In rare cases, babies are born with defects that prevent their digestive system from working properly, which may require a stomach bag.
  • Trauma- If someone has experienced trauma to the colon or rectum, such as from an accident or injury, a stomach bag may be needed while they recover.
In all of these cases, a stomach bag is used to provide a way for waste to leave the body when the colon or rectum is unable to function normally.

Types Of Stomach Bags

There are two main types of stomach bags: one-piece and two-piece systems. The type of bag chosen will depend on personal preference, lifestyle, and the type of stoma (opening in the abdomen) created.

One-piece Stomach Bag

This type of bag has an adhesive backing that sticks directly to the skin around the stoma. It is easy to apply and dispose of as a single unit.

Two-piece Stomach Bag

This type of bag has a separate skin barrier that attaches to the skin around the stoma and a bag that attaches to the barrier.
This allows for easy removal and replacement of the bag while leaving the barrier in place for several days.
Both types of bags come in a range of sizes, shapes, and materials to accommodate different lifestyles and preferences. Some bags are designed to be discreet, while others are made for active lifestyles.
It's important to work with a healthcare professional to find the best type of stomach bag for individual needs.

How To Change A Stomach Bag

Changing a stomach bag is an important aspect of managing the condition. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to change a stomach bag:
  • Gather your supplies- Before you start, make sure you have all the necessary supplies, including a new stomach bag, adhesive remover, skin barrier, and wipes.
  • Prepare the new bag- Open the new bag and make sure the opening is large enough for your stoma. If needed, use scissors to make adjustments.
  • Remove the old bag- Gently remove the old bag and adhesive from your skin. Use adhesive remover and wipes to clean the skin around the stoma.
  • Measure and apply the new bag- Hold the new bag over your stoma and trace the outline with a pen. Cut the hole in the new bag to fit your stoma. Apply the skin barrier to the skin around the stoma, and then attach the new bag.
  • Secure the new bag- Make sure the new bag is securely attached to your skin, and that there are no leaks.
  • Dispose of the old bag- Seal the old bag in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the trash.
Remember, it may take a few tries to get the hang of changing your stomach bag. Don't hesitate to ask your healthcare provider for guidance and support.

How to Change an Ostomy Bag

Diet And Lifestyle Considerations With A Stomach Bag

Living with a stomach bag can require some dietary and lifestyle adjustments to ensure optimal comfort and health. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

Stay Hydrated

It's important to drink plenty of water and fluids to prevent dehydration, which can thicken stool and make it more difficult to pass through the stoma.

Eat A Balanced Diet

Eating a balanced diet that's rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables can help regulate bowel movements and promote healthy digestion.
However, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine the best diet for your individual needs.

Avoid Certain Foods

Some foods may be difficult to digest or can cause blockages in the stoma, so it's important to avoid them or consume them in moderation.
Examples include nuts, seeds, popcorn, raw vegetables, and fruits with tough skins or seeds.

Chew Food Thoroughly

Chewing food thoroughly can help break it down and make it easier to digest.

Stay Active

Regular exercise can help promote healthy digestion and bowel movements. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine what types of exercises are safe and appropriate for your individual needs.

Practice Good Hygiene

Proper hygiene is important to prevent infection and skin irritation around the stoma. Be sure to clean the area regularly and change the stomach bag as needed.
By following these dietary and lifestyle considerations, individuals with a stomach bag can maintain their comfort and overall health.

Traveling With A Stomach Bag

Traveling with a stomach bag may seem daunting, but it is possible to do so with some preparation and planning. Here are some tips and advice to help make your travels with a stomach bag as smooth as possible:

Pack Extra Supplies

When traveling, always make sure to bring enough stomach supplies to last the duration of your trip, plus a few extra in case of any unexpected delays.

Carry Supplies In Your Carry-on

If you're flying, make sure to pack your stomach supplies in your carry-on luggage, rather than checked baggage. This will ensure that you have access to your supplies at all times, even if your luggage is delayed or lost.

Research Medical Facilities At Your Destination

Before traveling, research medical facilities at your destination in case you need to purchase additional supplies or seek medical attention.

Bring Odor-proof Disposal Bags

To dispose of used ostomy bags while on the go, bring some odor-proof disposal bags. These are especially helpful when using public restrooms.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

Choose comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that won't irritate your ostomy site or put pressure on your abdomen.

Bring Medications And Doctor's Notes

If you're traveling with medication, make sure to bring enough for the duration of your trip, plus a few extra in case of any unexpected delays.
Additionally, it's a good idea to bring a doctor's note explaining your condition and any necessary accommodations you may require.
By following these tips and preparing in advance, you can enjoy your travels with a stomach bag with minimal stress and worry.

People Also Ask

What Is A Stomach Bag?

A stomach bag is a medical device that is attached to the abdomen to collect waste after a portion of the large intestine or colon has been removed or bypassed.

How Do You Care For A Stomach Bag?

Caring for a stomach bag involves regular cleaning and changing of the bag, as well as properly disposing of waste. It is important to follow the instructions of a healthcare professional and maintain good hygiene practices.

How Long Can You Wear A Stomach Bag?

The duration for wearing a stomach bag varies depending on the individual's medical condition and the reason for the stomach. Some people may wear a temporary stomach bag for a few months, while others may need to wear one permanently.

Can You Swim With A Stomach Bag?

Yes, it is possible to swim with a stomach bag. There are waterproof bags available for this purpose, and it is important to ensure that the bag is securely attached and that proper precautions are taken to prevent infection.

Can You Exercise With A Stomach Bag?

Yes, it is generally safe to exercise with a stomach bag. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program and to take precautions to ensure that the bag is securely attached and protected during physical activity.

Final Thoughts

A stomach bag can be a necessary medical device for those who have undergone surgery to remove or bypass a portion of their colon.
It may take some time to adjust to the changes in lifestyle and diet, but with the right information and support, people with a stomach bag can lead a normal and active life.
It is important to have an understanding of the types of stomach bags available, how to properly care for and change them, and how to make dietary and lifestyle adjustments to ensure optimal health and comfort.
With proper knowledge and support, people with a stomach bag can successfully manage their condition and live life to the fullest.
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