Those who have ostomates worry about passing gas or emitting odors in public, and you may worry if it’ll interfere with your social life, cause stress and anxiety, or the like. Usually, they’re made of odor-proof materials, which is great, until there’s of course a leak. You should only notice smells however when you empty and change your bag.
Living with an ostomy can cause challenges, but, if you know what you’re doing, you can prevent these doors. Here are some simple ways to deal with these problems.
Empty your Pouch a Lot
As a general rule, you should empty it when it’s about a third to a half bag full. If it gets too full, it causes extra pressure to form on the stoma and the skin, and it can also loosen the seal, causing odor and bodily waste. You should learn from your ET nurse on how to properly change and empty the pouch system. How often you need to empty it does depend on the type, and the location of your stoma. Usually, you’ll need to do it 1-3 times if it’s a colostomies, 4-10 times for an ileostomies, and for those who have it because of an urostomy, it really depends on your fluid intake.
Avoid Foods and Beverages That Will Cause Problems
There are some foods and beverages which cause odors and may affect the smell of your ostomy pouch. Anything with soluble fiber and sugars are something that you should avoid. A lot of fruits and veggies contain this, but dairy, beans, nuts, and even sodas also create an odor. If you do have an urostomy, you might be worried about the urine smell, and you might want to minimize this by drinking more fluids, including water and cranberry juice, but garlic, fish, asparagus, and onions all do contribute to the odor and gas. While these foods are all healthy, so you should continue to eat them, you should be mindful of how much you eat, and try to make sure you do empty your bag as much as you can to prevent this.
Avoid Swallowing Air
Swallowing air actually causes gas to produce, so it might be best to avoid doing this if at all possible. Drinking carbonated beverages, through straws, chewing gum, and even smoking all contribute to this, so you should make sure that you take the time to avoid these habits.
A Filter and an Odor Eliminator
Odorous gas can make its way into a bag and fill it with some air. If the air isn’t released, the pressure causes the pouch to inflate, which causes leaks. Odor-reduction filter helps with this, and you can apply one before you put your pouch on. they can usually be applied to any bag, but they work best with a formed output.
Odor eliminators should be used too. There are appliance deodorizers which you can use every time you try to empty and change out the appliance. They’re discreet, and super easy to use. While some of the in-pouch deodorizers are scented, others are used to eliminate bacteria. You can also use different deodorizers to help reduce the stoma output.
Even a room deodorizer works well with this, helping you eliminate the airborne odors quickly, and effectively.
It’s hard to escape the smell, but with these tips, you sure can, no matter what.