Good skin care is a crucial part of any stoma care routine, because it will help maintain a healthy skin around your stoma and assist in successful stoma bag adhesion. Broken, red or sore skin may increase the risk of leakage and further skin damage. Left unattended, the skin condition may worsen, leading to discomfort for you and difficulty in getting your appliance to stick.
Sore skin and/or leakage may be due to a number of causes:
- Change in shape or size of your stoma – use the template to ensure that the flange fits snugly around the stoma. If you are not sure how to do this then contact your stoma care nurse who will be able to help you.
- Skin damage when removing the flange – an adhesive remover may help. Contact your supplier and ask for a sample to be sent to you.
- Pancaking (this is where the faeces gets stuck at the top of the pouch and does not drop down into the pouch – This is caused by the filter in your pouch letting all of the air out and creating a ‘vacuum effect’ within the pouch. The faeces pushes itself under the adhesive and causes skin soreness.
- Have you gained or lost weight? This will change the shape of your tummy and may change the shape of your stoma. You will need to check the size of your stoma using the template.
- Have you any skin creases, scars or swelling around your stoma? Try using a seal or even a different type of pouch to help create a flat surface around the stoma.
Hints and tips to keep the skin around your stoma healthy:
- Only use warm water to clean the skin around the stoma, baby wipes and soap may contain perfume which can irritate
- Check the size of your stoma every few months, always make sure your pouch fits snugly around the stoma
- Take your time when changing your pouch, careful removal will help prevent damage to the skin
- Ensure the skin is dry before applying a new pouch, a hairdryer turned to the lowest setting may help
- For men, if you need to shave around your stoma, avoid shaving creams. Instead, use clean warm water and a new disposable razor. A cardboard toilet roll tube held over the stoma may protect it.
- There are excellent products available to help protect the skin, contact your supplier or stoma care nurse for advice.
You do not have to put up with sore skin or leakages. If you have problems please contact your stoma care nurse for advice.