Embracing Life's Changes with an Ostomy Bag
Many patients face the possibility of undergoing either a temporary or permanent ostomy procedure to address several life-threatening conditions, including colon-rectal cancer. Once they hear about it, the first question that always arises goes something like this: “How does one live with an ostomy bag?”
So, since that’s an important concern, let’s go over the most typical lifestyle adjustments. Hopefully, this brief explanation will relieve some of the anxiety over ostomy care.
Most Important Issues While Living with an Ostomy
Dietary Choices - Nutrition is extra important for ostomates. Hydration is especially crucial for avoiding gastrointestinal trouble, and there are certain foods that will be off-limits. Those usually include beans, cabbage, seeds, nuts, anything spicy, and anything else that would contribute gas or runny output.
Clothing Fit - Wardrobe changes aren’t as necessary, but some patients prefer looser clothing to accommodate their pouches without accidentally leaving them exposed. Some ladies prefer dresses and other items over tight-fitting shirts that you would have to tuck into pants constantly. Also, the clothing variable has a lot to do with your lifestyle and exercise frequency. It will require some trial and error (the same with dieting).
Bathing - This is a little harder with a stoma because you have to make sure everything stays dry. It’s also a bad idea to use lots of oily products around the surrounding skin because it’ll make it much more difficult to keep pouches secure.
Exercising - Even with an ostomy, it’s still very possible to continue physical labor, exercise, sexual activity, stretching, lifting, and other activities. This, of course, assumes a patient doesn’t have other disabilities or restrictions. It’s important, however, to re-engage these activities gradually after the surgery, follow the physician’s advice, and watch for anything that interferes with keeping pouches tight.
Preventing Accidents - It takes a little while to get used to the output flow when you first undergo an ostomy. The typical duration between changing pouches could be anywhere between one to four days, which requires new patients to remain alert and ready with replacement supplies (or drainable ones). Pay special attention to getting a tight seal around the pouch components to avoid leaks, which are the most common cause of accidents and odors.
Those are the basic elements of living with an ostomy. In short, it shouldn’t revolutionize your entire life, but there are some significant adjustments.
If you’d like to prepare better for ostomy-care issues, with superior supplies that are easy to use, then consider the pouches and accessories we offer at Fortis Medical Products. We manufacture the safest, hypoallergenic, and customizable selections, designed to make life easier for ostomates. Call us soon to learn more at 855-550-2600.
Stoma Creation: A Guide for Ovarian Cancer Surgery Survivors
Ovarian cancer is another serious condition, which can spread to certain components of the digestive system. Sometimes, if this happens, it could require partial or total removal of various bowels, making it necessary to divert waste in a different direction.
As you may already know, ostomy is a common way to do this by surgically reconnecting the intestines, and allowing them to exit from an abdominal stoma. We’d like to delve further into this topic, and show how this works for women who undergo treatments for ovarian cancer.
Two Types of Stoma: Colostomy & Ileostomy
The two most relevant ostomy procedures are colostomy and ileostomy, which affect the gastrointestinal tract. There’s also a third ostomy, urostomy, involving the urinary tract, but this is less typical with ovarian cancer.
Surgeons may elect to perform a Colostomy to redirect the colon (large bowel or large intestine), allowing waste to exit through an artificial stoma. Patients who undergo this method are more likely to encounter thicker discharge.
Ileostomy works similarly, but involves the ileum (small bowels or small intestine). This allows a more porridge-like discharge to exit into an ostomy pouch from the stoma.
Will You Need a Stoma?
It’s important to remember that the surgeon must receive your consent to perform any invasive surgery, including creating a stoma. You should expect to discuss this with your medical providers well before anything happens.
If your physician recommends colostomy or ileostomy to address the spread of ovarian cancer, then you should also expect to speak with nursing staff for preparation. You would go over the positioning of the stoma (usually left side for colostomy; right side for ileostomy), and how to cope with post-surgical recovery. They should also offer training and guidance for handling ostomy care supplies.
Obviously, there is much to cover, regarding a topic like this, but we’d like to focus on the most common FAQs.
Ovarian Cancer & Stomas: FAQS
- Would the stoma be permanent?
- While ostomy is permanent for some conditions, most ovarian cancer patients may only require a temporary procedure. You might have the opportunity to undergo an additional surgery to reverse the ostomy later after the cancer remits.
- How do you cope with the stoma?
- Although it’s not a minor procedure, ostomy isn’t that uncommon anymore, and there are many coping strategies. This will include learning how to manage your stoma following the surgery. We’ve written a lot of material dedicated to handling pouches and making reasonable lifestyle adjustments.
- Will this affect what I’m allowed to eat?
- Yes, the ostomy treatments involve some changes to how your body digests food, and that entails certain dietary precautions. Most patients would need to avoid eating anything hard to digest, including seeds, nuts, and other items that create heavy gas.
We hope this helps, but as usual, it’s impossible to cover every pertinent ostomy detail in a brief blog post. Patients should always ask their doctors questions like these before the surgery to ensure the best preparation possible.
You can also learn more about ostomy, including how to manage these conditions, by following Fortis Medical Products for future articles. Our mission is to improve the lives of ostomy patients with user-friendly, safe, and hypoallergenic ostomy supplies. If you’d like to learn more about anything we offer, or how to use them, then contact us anytime at 855-550-2600.
Strategies for Driving with an Ostomy
What are the practical implications for driving with an ostomy? This is one of several things new ostomy patients might encounter following their surgery. Since many individuals continue an active lifestyle after the procedure, it helps to know how to handle various scenarios and potential obstacles. This article will deal with the driving aspects.
The gist of driving with an ostomy, like many other matters, boils down to caution and simple preparedness. Fortunately, unless you have specific conditions that prevent doing so, it’s perfectly safe for someone with an ostomy to drive again.
Here are a few tips to remember when you get back to driving for the first time, post-ostomy surgery.
- Make sure you follow the doctor’s advice and refrain from driving until you’ve finished any recovery protocols involving drowsy pain medications.
- Even if uncomfortable, don’t neglect wearing a seatbelt. This makes an enormous difference if an accident occurs.
- You can, however, make adjustments to your pouch system to account for seat belt discomfort. This could take some experimentation, but some patients find relief by padding around the stoma area with extra cloth (like a towel or thin pillow). It may also help to use a pouch clamp or clothespin to create some extra space between the extraction slot and where it would contact the seat belt.
- Be ready for normal driving circumstances, including all the times you would need to hit the brakes to make a fast stop. Those are the situations that will create discomfort around the stoma.
Other Lifestyle Issues Affected by Ostomy
Don’t forget that once you’ve undergone a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy, there are plenty of other adjustments you’ll have to make. So, if you’re still preparing to have your surgery, then consider some of these other lifestyle issues, and think about how you’ll approach them.
- Dietary Changes - This involves what you can/cannot eat, along with some of the “maybe” items you’ll have to moderate.
- Exercise/Swimming/Working/Intimate Activity - All the physical things are still possible for many ostomates, barring other disabilities. Many of them require clothing adjustments and patience when you resume them.
- Traveling - You’ll also want to check some of our travel tips if you’re preparing to board an airplane or drive across the country for a road trip with an ostomy.
Fortis Medical Products - On Your Side for Ostomy Support
None of those lifestyle factors require you to “go it alone” without help. After an ostomy procedure, you’ll have access to your doctor, nurses, dietitians, friends, and family for assistance. Plus, we’re always here to help as well.
If you’d like to know more about ostomy supplies and other important strategies, then continue to follow Fortis Medical Products for updates. We’re a Sarasota-based medical product supplier with a mission to support hospitals and patients alike with anything related to ostomy care. Contact us any time to learn more by calling 855-550-2600.
Guidance for Life After Surgery – The Top 4 Pointers for Post-Ostomy Surgery
Coping with ostomy surgery, whether for yourself or a loved one, can often feel overwhelming and stir up emotions of distress, frustration, and helplessness. Not to mention it's been proven that patients often grapple with anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty as they adjust to their new reality.
Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom, as this transition can be made easier with the right knowledge surrounding ostomy care and professional medical supplies such as those offered by Fortis Medical Products. If you’re eager to learn invaluable ostomy advice from our experts, read ahead to uncover everything we recommend.
The aftermath of an ostomy procedure can introduce unique hurdles, demanding individuals embrace a new way of life. To offer some direction, here are four valuable pointers to keep in mind as you navigate the post-surgery ostomy phase.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Ostomy Supplies
Knowledge about the diverse array of ostomy supplies, accessories, and pouches, can significantly help with your comfort and adjusting to life after receiving an ostomy procedure. Thus, educating yourself about the available options and consulting healthcare professionals to identify the most fitting supplies for your specific requirements is crucial.
Besides learning all you can from healthcare professionals, it is beneficial to consult online resources, like instructional videos from ostomy suppliers. These videos can offer step-by-step guidance for using different ostomy products.
Discover Your Ideal Supplies
When you’ve begun an ostomy journey, you need to realize that each individual's experience is unique – including yours. When you’ve learned all you can about the different supplies and things needed post-surgery, you need to identify supplies that you’re comfortable using.
These medical supplies must provide adequate protection and ensure comfort and secure fitment. So experimenting with various types and brands of ostomy products is advisable until you pinpoint the one that suits you best.
Acquaint Yourself with Your Pouching System
According to experts, developing a comprehensive understanding of your chosen pouching system is crucial to avoid complications post-surgery like infections. Typically hospitals equip ostomy patients with a particular pouching system; however, you can explore alternative products later from companies like Fortis Medical Products.
Regardless of your product source, be it the hospital or a medical products supplier, grasping proper care techniques and recognizing potential issues or leaks is essential to ensure a smooth ostomy experience.
Embrace a Gradual Healing Approach
The immediate aftermath of ostomy surgery can trigger a whirlwind of emotions and physical adjustments. Acknowledging these feelings and allowing yourself time to adapt is crucial because achieving a successful transition to life with an ostomy bag requires patience.
After all, the initial deluge of accessories and information related to ostomy care might appear overwhelming. Hence, simplicity becomes your ally when managing an ostomy, so establish a routine, and the rest will fall into place.
Ultimately, as long as you prioritize the healing process post-surgery and progressively acquaint yourself with ostomy care fundamentals, you’ll likely quickly adjust to life post-surgery.
Turn to Fortis Medical Products for Trustworthy Post-Surgery Ostomy Guidance
Fortis Medical Products is a dependable ostomy resource, offering reliable advice and essential supplies for the post-surgery ostomy journey. We can provide invaluable guidance and the required products throughout the post-surgery process. Contact us today by calling 855-550-2600 and learn how we can help.
Advice for Ostomy Pouch Changing in a Public Restroom
Part of adjusting to life with an ostomy involves troubleshooting the unexpected difficulties you may encounter away from home. While most ostomy patients would prefer to change or drain pouches before going places, sometimes one’s digestive system has other ideas. Plus, it’s nice to be adaptable to various circumstances.
We’d like to go over some tips for what to do whenever you must change your ostomy pouch in a public restroom.
Organize All Your Supplies at Home First
The initial step to emergency preparedness involves creating an organized inventory of all your supplies. Here’s where you ensure you have all the essentials: the pouch or pouch system, wafers/barriers, deodorizers, stoma paste, sanitary wipes, and anything else you use. Obviously, if you don’t have enough at home, then you can expect to have greater trouble in public.
Pack Extra Items for Traveling - The next tip is to select a decent-size duffle bag, purse, or something with pockets. This is where you’ll store some extra pouches and accessories . . . just in case of an emergency. Don’t leave home without two or three backups for everything.
Changing a Drainable Ostomy Pouch - Some patients prefer either to sit down or lean over a toilet as they drain their pouches. The key is to take your time and keep your balance carefully. Once you’re finished draining it, always use toilet paper or sanitary wipes to clean around the pouch opening. Then, double check to see if you have it on tightly before leaving.
Closed-End Ostomy Pouches - This approach could be much easier for patients since closed-end pouches don’t require balancing while draining. We recommend simply removing and swapping a new pouch once it’s about three-quarters full. Here, you would keep the same wafer, attach a new pouch, and sanitize/deodorize as necessary. Of course, unlike drainable pouches, this method requires you to have some type of disposable bag ready to handle the used pouch.
Changing the Entire Pouch System - Perhaps this is the most complicated approach, but if you’re used to changing the entire pouch system at home, then it’s not much different in public. However, we would recommend having pre-cut pouches ready beforehand. The logistics of trying to cut, manipulate, and change them in a cramped bathroom stall may not be enjoyable. Plus, if you're still new to ostomy management, try the other methods until you get the hang of life with an ostomy.
Follow those basic tips and you should be much better prepared for pouch-related emergencies. Finally, remember that you may not have much of a choice of restroom location, so keep that in mind when you assemble your gear. It also wouldn’t hurt to practice changing in a public restroom before you have to do it.
You can also learn much more about these pouch systems and accessories by exploring our website. Fortis Medical Products makes safe, effective, and easy-to-change ostomy supplies for colostomy, urostomy, and ileostomy patients. If you’d like to ask specific questions about selecting or changing pouches, call our Sarasota location anytime at 855-550-2600.
Summer Travel Tips for Ostomy Patients
Are you ready to drive, fly, walk, and run all over the country this summer?
This is still attainable for many ostomy patients, provided you prepare for certain traveling bottlenecks. Fortunately, we’ve met many ostomates who’ve returned to living the same active lifestyle as prior to their surgery after learning how to make some simple adjustments.
What are the most effective ways to prepare?
Check out these tips for traveling with an ostomy in the summer to learn more.
Construct a Supply Checklist (and Gather Backups)
So, the number one problem you may encounter on any multiple-day trip is the chance of running out of ostomy supplies. That’s why it helps to make a checklist and create an inventory of everything you need. This involves carrying plenty of backup pouches, wafers, stoma paste, and anything else you need. You can determine the supply volume based on the length of your trip, and how many pouch changes you normally do. Of course, it’s prudent to bring more than what you’d need under ordinary circumstances.
New to Traveling with an Ostomy? Start with Smaller Trips
So much of ostomy care boils down to incrementalism. Whether it's trying to reintroduce foods back into your diet or seeing how well you travel with your condition, it helps to start small. Consider, for example, doing a three or four-day trip, monitor your condition, before embarking on that two/three-week summer excursion.
Boarding a Flight? Pack Carefully
Make sure you know what’s lawful versus forbidden on commercial flights. Certain scissors and supply tools may not be permitted. This may require you to pre-cut some of your ostomy pouch systems before going through the airlines.
Factor in Weather/Climate Conditions
Temperature and humidity can affect your ostomy supplies as well. If you live in Florida, you’re probably already used to storing things amid all the heat and humidity. Just remember to pack reliable storage bags and containers to keep everything clean and usable during your summer travels.
Change Your Pouches Before Leaving
This is a helpful precaution, especially for those who want to take a long-distance trip and spend most of the summer driving every day. The normal duration between changing pouches is about three to four days. Therefore, if you drain your pouches more often, you’ll have plenty of wiggle room even while you’re driving or flying extensively.
Do these tips help you understand what traveling could be like?
Fortis Medical Products is dedicated to creating ostomy supplies and helping patients manage their colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy conditions better. In 2023, more folks can live fulfilling lives with either a permanent or temporary ostomy. If you’d like to learn more about ostomy care, including traveling precautions, then call us for further help at 855-550-2600.
How Often Should I Change My Ostomy Bag?
New ostomy patients go through many adjustments while learning how to manage their condition. Most of it involves how to change pouches, eating carefully, and keeping the stoma clean.
Regarding that first item - How often should you change pouches?
You can expect to change your ostomy bag about every three to five days, but it varies by patient, dietary volume, and other considerations. Let’s check out a few tips on when to change your pouches.
Helpful Hints for When to Change Your Ostomy Bag
Label New Pouches with Dates - An easy way to stay organized would be to record the date of your most recent pouch change onto your next pouch system. That way you won’t forget when you made the last change. Most of what you do with ostomy pouches hinges upon when you last made adjustments. Also, remember the pace for human digestion, especially for ostomates, varies a lot. This means you won’t have an exact duration for bag changes, and, therefore, should change them a little early.
Put Your Smartphone to Work - You can utilize the calendar/alarm features on your smartphone to alert you when it’s time to change. Set your timer to go off a little early to accommodate for those times where pouches fill faster than usual. It’s wise to be overly cautious rather than get caught pushing the test.
Acknowledge Obvious Warning Signs - You’ve almost certainly heard it before: always listen to your body. If you notice the signs of trouble (pain, discomfort, itching, soreness, burning, etc.), then be sure to check your pouch.
Other Changing Advice
So, once you get a feel for the timing of your bag changes, you’ll also want to develop good practices to prevent leaks, skin irritation, and so forth.
- Always maintain sanitary conditions by washing your hands, around the stoma area, and use an appliance cleaner for the supplies themselves.
- Focus on sealing the pouch system as perfectly as possible. The goal is to avoid leaks by applying the skin barrier ring and/or stoma paste to obtain a strong seal.
- Are you still in the pre-ostomy stage? Once you’ve had the procedure, ask the nurses and hospital staff to show you the best way to apply and secure pouches.
- Finally, don’t forget to review our previous post regarding the basics of ostomy products, including how to use them.
For more information on ostomy care and supply information, continue to follow Fortis Medical Products for updates and advice. We’re the leading supplier of easy-to-use hypoallergenic pouches and ostomy accessories. You’re more than welcome to contact us to ask questions and learn more by calling 855-550-2600 anytime.
Is an Ostomy New to You? Let's Help!
Are you new to ostomy care or are about to undergo this procedure?
If so, then let us introduce you to what this entails, the three types of ostomy, and what all goes into ostomy care.
What is an Ostomy?
Ostomies are either temporary or permanent procedures designed to reprocess waste a different way through one’s digestive system. Surgeons do this by moving a section of the intestine (large or small) to exit waste out of the lower abdomen from a created location called a “stoma.” This allows waste to discharge into an ostomy pouch.
Three types of Ostomy
- Colostomy - This involves the removal of either part of the large intestine or the colon. It typically addresses colorectal cancers. Following surgery to remove the cancer, whatever’s left of the colon is brought to the abdomen through a stoma.
- Ileostomy - If disease makes it impossible to discharge waste through the rectum, anus, or colon, doctors may perform an ileostomy. The surgeon creates a stoma at the end of the small intestine (called the “ileum”). Patients may receive this procedure to address injuries, cancer, Crohn’s Disease, and Diverticulitis.
- Urostomy - This procedure addresses problems brought about by injury, bladder cancer, bladder removal, and other urinary conditions. A urostomy bypasses the bladder and allows urine to exit the abdomen by attaching the ureters to the end of the small intestine.
How Do You Take Care of the Stoma After an Ostomy?
Post-ostomy patients may have to endure certain complications for a while, including nausea, vomiting, and changing stoma conditions. Most of these difficulties pass, but there's still the matter of managing discharge waste with the new arrangement. This involves exiting and collecting waste with safely made products, tailored to specific patients’ sizes and skin conditions.
What are the Important Products for Post-Ostomy Patients?
You should know about the basic supplies needed to manage your ostomy after undergoing the procedure.
- Pouches - This is the primary ostomy-care component, available in several versions. Manufacturers make these in either one-piece or two-piece varieties with different drainage options. The former may be more effective for the most physically active ostomates, whereas the latter may be easier to use for handling leaks and emergencies.
- Wafers & Skin Barrier Rings - These are two ways to attach your preferred pouch system to the skin surrounding the stoma exit.
- Stoma Paste - You can use this “caulking” material to better adhere the pouches to your skin. Some patients use this in combination with wafers.
- Odor Eliminators - If you’re struggling with gas and odors, then this is an essential accessory, especially while out in public.
- Pouch Disposable Bags - Then there are also some other “cleanup” items you may elect to use. Disposable bags and appliance cleaners can help you maintain sanitary conditions around the stoma.
Fortis Medical Products is the best place to find out all about ostomy care. We produce comfortable, durable, easy-to-use, hypoallergenic ostomy supplies to suit the needs of any patient.
Would you like to learn more?
Contact us anytime by calling 855-550-2600.
Which Works Better? Ostomy Paste or Barrier Rings?
Do you have all the right accessories for guaranteeing proper stoma care?
There’s more to managing your ostomy situation than just the pouches. Optimal health maintenance for ostomates should include the use of ancillary items like barrier rings, wafers, ostomy paste, extension strips, odor eliminators, and so forth. This article will delve into how to use ostomy paste and barrier rings.
Which Works Best? Ostomy Paste or Barrier Rings?
Ostomy paste is like a sealer substance or caulking that binds the pouch system together, whereas barrier rings are pre-formed rings that hold things tight like an O-ring for plumbing.
They both serve a similar function, so you may choose one or the other. The decision may come down to personal experiences after trial-and-error practicing, or contingent upon which pouch system you like best. It’s entirely up to you, but there are certain advantages to either approach.
Benefits of Using Ostomy Paste
- Despite its name, it’s more like a glue or caulking, but it’s perfectly safe for direct skin application. Some patients do it either that way or by using it on a wafer and adhering it to the pouch system.
- Ostomy paste is often more cost-effective than barrier rings and other seals.
- It only takes about a minute or two to apply, wait to dry, and walk away with an almost leaker-proof pouch.
Benefits of Using Barrier Rings
- There’s far less mess involved with barrier rings.
- By browsing through our selection of Entrust barriers, you’ll find ways to mold and apply them to fit your particular size, shape, and skin conditions.
- This may be the safer option for handling either high liquid output, thick and heavy output, or an unpredictable combination of both.
- It’s also possible to use our barrier rings together with ostomy paste.
Tips for Applying Them
There are a few things to remember when applying ostomy paste or skin barriers.
For ostomy paste, clear the surrounding skins of any other obstacles or residues to ensure sturdier adherence. It’s best to avoid soaps that leave residues altogether. Then, make sure you dry your skin effectively after showering or sanitizing.
For barrier rings, you should also focus on getting the skin dry. Then, you can decide whether to apply them directly to your skin or to a wafer (either method is acceptable). You’ll also find that the material is pretty stretchable, which can work to your advantage when you’re new to all this.
Don’t forget that you can reach someone at Fortis Medical Products anytime if you have questions regarding ostomy paste, barrier rings, or any other ostomy products. We hold over 25 U.S. and international patents for the pouches and accessories we create. Contact us anytime to inquire about samples or application steps by calling 855-550-2600.
Important Stoma Skin Care Strategies for Ostomates
It’s essential for ostomates to pay close attention to the condition of the skin around their stoma. Otherwise, you risk suffering from redness, irritation, and even infection. It’s not too difficult to keep your stoma area clean and healthy, provided you follow these important self-care precautions.
Inspect Your Stoma Everyday
Nothing beats monitoring your skin (at least once a day) with a mirror in a well-lit area. This prevents you from ever being caught by surprise. Check both the skin around the supplies and your ostomy supplies. If the flange has a wrinkle or crease in it, then it’s not positioned properly, and creating friction with your skin. Furthermore, it’s even more important to inspect for leaks or stomal output. Both are a significant problem and will irritate or infect the surrounding skin.
Carefully Changing Ostomy Pouches
First, always make sure you don’t go too long without changing pouches. Most ostomy products aren’t designed to go beyond three to five days without replacing. Sometimes, the condition of the supplies themselves may give you a clue regarding your stoma skin health. Then, you’ll also want to be sure to clean off the old adhesive substance before applying new pouches.
Take Advantage of Accessory Items
Stoma skincare is so much easier with the liberal use of wipes, stoma powder, and other must-haves for ostomy care. Stoma paste is another key item, which will make it faster to find and correct leaks/gaps, and handle tough spots, scars, and uneven skin. Finally, don’t forget to keep an ostomy product cleaner handy. It should go without saying that sanitizing your supplies and applicators is rudimentary for stoma skin health.
Get a Professional Opinion Once in a While
The skin around your stoma is no different from any other healthcare matter. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to seek a second opinion from a physician. It’s wise to ask the doctor to evaluate your skin condition when you visit for follow-ups every so often. You can also speak with fellow ostomy patients through various support networks. They’ve undergone the same procedure and have to endure similar skin challenges.
Those are the basics of caring for the sensitive skin around the stoma.
Fortis Medical Products is proud to offer first-rate ostomy supplies, the industry’s safest even if you have to deal with complications or scarring. They protect your stoma, keep everything sanitary, and are easy to apply/change with less leaking. Contact us anytime to learn more about our medical innovations and products by calling 855-550-2600.