When diagnosed with a disease adversely affecting the functioning of the colon, an opening or a stoma is created to divert the digestive or urinary waste out of the body. This stoma is created surgically, and as no nerve is involved, it is a painless procedure.

Ostomy Pouch

Now, where is the waste diverted to?

An ostomy pouch is connected to the stoma to collect both urine and stool. There are various types of pouching systems:

• One-piece pouches: The pouch is attached to the stoma with an adhesive baselining. The base is also called a wafer. When a new bag is needed, the used pouch is detached from the baselining and replaced with a new one. Some one-piece pouches have flushable liners, which can be easily disposed of.

• Two-piece pouches: In a two-piece pouch, the bag and the baselining are two separate entities. When the pouch is replaced, it is not mandatory to replace the baselining. The baselining can be changed at a 2-3 days interval.

• Closed pouches: These are recommended to patients with firm stool. We can change it twice a day, and some come with special liners.

• Drainable pouches: These are recommended for very liquid stool. They are manufactured with a drainage outlet at the bottom. We can drain the waste whenever necessary. The pouch can be changed at an interval of 2-3 days.

• Mini pouch: These are used for a short period.


1-piece vs 2-piece ostomy bag

Now let us discuss one-piece pouching systems and why they are the best among the rest:

To be very honest, an ostomy bag is an extra addition we carry that does hinder our daily life. We need to choose a bag, which matches our comfort level, so let us learn more about the one-piece pouch.

Why choose a one-piece pouch?

• A one-piece is more secure than the rest. This means they are trustable options, especially when out in public. The adhesive lining and the pouch are a single thing; they cannot be separated.

• Being one piece, it is more uncomplicated and easier to use, and way less bulky. One-piece ostomy pouches can be comfortably worn under clothes, even under close fit clothes. They have a low profile because of a thin wafer and are less visible beneath garments.

• As the baselining and the ostomy pouch cannot be separated, there are no chances of waste leakage.

• Nowadays one-piece ostomy pouches are provided with flushable linings which makes them easily disposable.

• The baselining being made of adhesive is soft to the skin, and the pouch doesn't need to be placed on a flat surface. This is so because the adhesive adapts itself to the abdominal shape and fits smoothly.

What are the disadvantages of one-piece ostomy pouches?

• Previously discussed, in a one-piece pouch, the barrier and the pouch are fixed. Every time we change the bag, we shift the barrier too. This can cause skin irritation or sore skin.

• When placing a new pouch, we must carefully find the stoma and then fix it. Once set, it cannot be repositioned.

• The barrier is thin and flexible, so it can break down quickly resulting in several challenges.

• Changing it in public places is inconvenient, time-consuming, and may cause a colossal blunder. We must position correctly at the stoma as it cannot be repositioned.

• With time, gas accumulated from the intestine in the ostomy pouch needs to be passed out. For a one-piece pouch, it is a complicated process as it cannot be detached from the stoma.

[Read More on What is ostomy...]

How often should an ostomy bag be emptied?

The gas release situation in a one-piece ostomy bag can be handled:
We can vent the gas formed in a one-piece without detaching it from the lining. What we can do is raise the discharge point upwards, to suspend the waste in the opposite side. We can open the discharge outlet and slightly squeeze the pouch. This way we can allow the gas to escape even in a one-piece ostomy pouch.

Safety considerations of an ostomy bag

1. The pouch should be changed every 4-5 days, depending upon the type of pouch and the patient.

2. We can visit a wound-care specialist if we face excess skin irritation in and around the stoma or other concerns related to the ostomy pouching system.

3. We need to empty the pouch when it gets half or quarter full of any kind of waste.

4. Ostomy is of different types – none of which is like the other. So, the medications and diet ought to be changed and should be strictly followed.

5. Ostomy belts keep the pouches in place.

6. Sweat, heat, moisture, and exercise can affect the pouching system. Patients need to be aware of this in their daily life.

7. When the skin around the stoma is wet or sore, the pouch may not fit properly. We need to treat and dry the area before attaching the pouch completely.

Different people have different diseases and different ways of handling things. A patient should choose ostomy supplies to suit their condition. We need to understand that life after ostomy changes and the pouch invariably becomes a part of our daily routine as well as our everyday outfit. So, we must choose what comforts us and what suits our condition.