by - March 03, 2019

As you may have guessed, this post is about the ostomy supplies I use - from different bags, to creams and sprays, this is what I'm currently using. I'll also show you how I store some of my supplies, please bear in mind I am incredibly unorganised!

For me, like a lot of other ostomates (people who have ostomies - ileostomies, colostomies, urostomies) it's been a case of trial and error trying to find the right ostomy pouch/bag and combination of extra supplies like rings. It's actually on going for me as the adhesive on the bags i have less leakages with cause an allergic reaction to my peristomal skin, but... they cause less leakages. I know my leakages occur because of a dip to the right of my stoma, which is where I've put on weight since by surgery in June. My (fantastic) stoma nurse and I are still working on it - suggestions are welcome if you've had this issue. We've tried various rings and convex bags.

Anyway... let's get to it. Most of these items are included in my prescription which I order monthly, some are complimentary products from Charter (my prescription ordering service) and some are extras I've paid for to manage an ulcer I have beneath my stoma, and to manage the perianal fistula I have.

From top left we have: Dansac X-Tra Strips, Hollister convex bag, Coloplast Sensura Mio convex two piece system (convex flex barrier and drainable pouch), Dansac Tre soft convex, hand wipes, Coloplast Brava mouldable rings, dry wipes, Dansac skin protector wipes, Trio Elisse barrier wipes, Coloplast Brava powder, Coloplast Brava barrier cream, Trio Elite adhesive remover spray, black nappy sacks, Aquacel silver gauze dressing, Tegaderm transparent film dressing, non-sterile non-woven dressing.

These are the Hollister convex bags which I use
most of the time during the week - they are the
most comfortable bag I've found but probably the most retro style. The adhesive is like a material plaster which skins to my skin great and feels really secure. I do not like the opening on these, I find it difficult when I have thicker output. These bags sounds like you're wearing a crisp packet - honestly they're so noisy, but most of the time, I'm the only person that sees my stoma/ostomy pouch so I'm not too worried how it looks.

These are my "back up" bags - the Dansac Tre soft convex. I really want to like these as they're great for my skin, however, as the baseplate is a lot smaller than the Hollister I don't feel as secure wearing them. Before putting them on I have to warm them up with a hairdryer, which if you need to change your bag in a public toilet isn't possible. If I don't heat it, it doesn't stick. I did try the Tre seals as well, however, they didn't stick well to my skin so I still had leaks under the base plate. There bags are so soft though!

So, with the bag leakages, I realised part of my problem was that I could NEVER get my bag on in the right place - I have a round belly since putting on a lot of weight since surgery and I can't get the right angle to see under my stoma. I realised that it might be helpful to try a two piece.

My stoma nurse arranged for some samples to be sent to me - I was sent two types by Coloplast (one of which is this, the Sensura Mio click system), one by Dansac and I think one by Convatec? I tried the Dansac and Convatec ones but they didn't have a viewing option and I dunno about any other ostomates, but I HATE not being able to look in on my lil Merlin and see how he's doing, and look at my poop? My problem with Coloplast is the adhesive HATES my skin (or vice versa)  and I'm allergic to it. I know this because the original bags given to me when I got my stoma were the flat base Sensura Mio and my skin was flaring up like my eczema does. It was very itchy which made wearing it super uncomfortable and meant I would scratch at it.

As it had been a few months and I was desperate to try and get a grasp on these under base plate leaks, I tried the Sensura Mio click convex (above)- it does still irritate my skin but not as much. If I only wear it for a day or two of the week and wear the Hollister bag for the rest of the week to give my skin a break it's fine. A two piece system is definitely better for me - I can place the base plate around my stoma easily and make sure it's secure and then click the pouch into place.

In addition to the ostomy pouches there's a number of different products ostomates need to work with them - a good adhesive remover spray - I choose the Trio Elite and a good barrier wipe/spray. I use the wipes as they're easier for me and I've got a few Dansac ones but have recently started using the Trio Elisse (they smell nice and I get less of a reaction to the bag adhesive using them). I've not tried many different sprays or wipes, but the Dansac ones originally prescribed to me worked well, I just got a trial of the trio products and liked these better. I also use the Brava barrier cream for when my skin is really bad, and the Brava stoma powder on that pesky ulcer I have and if I get any sores/broken skin (it soaks up moisture). Along with these I use the Brava mouldable rings - they're thinner and work better with convex bags, but the Hollister adapt rings are more secure and I wish they did these thinner.

If I'm using the Dansac bags, which have the small base plate, I also use these Dansac strips, which are effectively extenders so it feels more secure. I've used the Coloplast ones before - but again, they caused a reaction, though I did prefer them and found them easier to peel off the backing.

All of the products so far - so pouches, base plates, strips, sprays, wipes, rings, cream and powder are all included in my prescription. Different districts in the UK and prescriptions allow people to order different amounts - I know some people are limited to like two sprays per month, and if you're changing your bag daily or twice daily like I know some people are, this isn't enough. It's really frustrating because these people are them expected to pay for extras from the pharmacy and these sprays are like £8 a can.

There are a few extras I pay for - I'm not sure if I can get them prescribed, and I should really check but I have the memory of a sieve. To be honest, the non-sterile non-woven gauze (which I use when my perianal fistula is super active and leaking a lot) was actually only £1.68 on Amazon a few months ago so I got loads, and since my infliximab/azathrioprine combination therapy has been working, I don't use them as much.

As I've mentioned I have an ulcer which sometimes appears underneath my stoma - my stoma nurse and I have NO idea how it come up there, it just appeared one day and it was so painful. It sometimes bleeds, but my consultant and stoma nurse aren't too concerned about it, though I am gonna show my surgeon when I see him in a few months as it's not supposed to be there. Currently what I'm using to combat this is Aquacel silver gauze - which is EXPENSIVE, and tegaderm film, I'm kind of making a make-shit waterproof plaster which I have to cut to size each time, then put the ring on it, then the ostomy pouch. I'm trying to protect it from leakages (because poop is acidic, yo - and ya don't want poop in an ulcer), sometimes, the leakages do get under there, but it's mostly protected. I just make sure to clean it well.

Storage time! 

When Coloplast sent me samples, they sent every thing in individual plastic wallets and y'know, I'm pretty self conscious about single use plastics - considering I have NO CHOICE but to use them to survive (I'd love to invent eco-friendly stoma supplies but I do not have the brain for it). I was gonna throw them out, but then I realised, I could semi-organise my bedroom ostomy supplies!

I keep an emergency kit in my hand bag, all of my main supplies in another room, and keep a small storage bag in my room for my bag changes - when these run low, I top them up from my main supplies, but, I'm very unorganised. I would have all different kinds of bags, half used sprays, odd bags, odd dry wipes etc everywhere, so I decided to take control. Now I use these sample bags to keep separate my bags, wipes, rings, dry wipes and nappy sacks. My prescription service Charter sends complimentary dry wipes, hand wipes and nappy sacks (which we use to discreetly dispose of our erm... used pouches). I then put all of these individual bags into my bag supplied to me by the hospital when I first got my stoma, which also has one of my stoma nurses' cards in. I also keep my period products in here because otherwise they're loose everywhere. This blue bag is also what I pack supplies in when I go on holiday, this goes in my suitcase and I carry extras on my person.

I'm pretty sure that's everything - if anyone has any questions, please ask, whether it's to do with supplies or stoma life in general, or something unrelated! Oh, and if anyone has a fix for the under the base plate leaks please get in touch!

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