Bag leaks… Don’t you just ‘love’ them?

Hi everyone,

I’ve been experiencing increasing bag leaks the last few weeks, which as fellow ostomates will know, can be quite inconvenient. More than anything, I find that they knock my confidence a little and are a messy annoyance.

After my surgery, I was started on the Dansac bags which material wise have been my favourite; the bag covers are nice and soft and look the best in my opinion. The adhesive didn’t work for me though, mainly at night. This was because I tend to get quite a lot of wind at night causing the bag to balloon and subsequently with the Dansac bags come away from my skin. Since then, I have been mainly using the Coloplast Sensura One-Piece Drainable bags; I find that these are the best for adhering to the skin, especially when experiencing ballooning on a night. I have given a few others a try but haven’t found them to be suitable for me due to the decreased adherence to my skin compared to the Coloplast, such as the Salts Aloe Vera range, although I loved the bag itself.

The last few weeks I have been getting leaks which up until now I have not really had that many of, so I have been lucky in that sense. One of them was driving back from a gig and hotel stay in Manchester with my Mum when we were literally passing the sign that told us that the next services were not for 20 miles! My initial reaction to that was panic, but I quickly told myself that I’d just have to make the best I could of the situation, especially as I was driving and pray that Stacey didn’t do much else until we reached there. Still, it’s not over pleasant feeling your output seeping its way out under the bag and onto the skin, waistband and leggings! Then other leaks have been when I’ve been out and about or at home in the daytime. I had one when I was out shopping with my Mum the other day and changed my bag and sorted the mess in my Mum’s car in the car park; all in all it was about a minute bag change, which considering the mess and annoyance I can’t really complain at.

I always carry a little kit around in my handbag for such events and I have done since right after my surgery. I prefer to be prepared for the eventuality and carry something around rather than risk it. In this kit I have:

  • Dry wipes (4/5)
  • Skin barrier wipes (4/5)
  • 4/5 bags (I’ve had a few occasions where I’ve had a few leaks one after the other)
  • Wet wipes (You’re not really meant to use these on the skin near the stoma as a regular thing, but in the case of leaks it’s sometimes a case of whatever you can grab to make the job easier, so long as it isn’t considerably harmful)
  • A few disposable bags
  • A spare pair of knickers (having output seep down your knickers really isn’t pleasant to put up with all day!)

I carry my kit in a little make up bag, although a lot of ostomy companies provide kits as part of their delivery service for taking out and about.

Just like with having Crohn’s before my surgery, having accidents or bag leaks either way is never convenient or pleasant but I’ve found that if I try to stay as calm as possible and just tell myself that accidents do happen and I will be able to sort it that I’m not as panicky. Even people without bowel problems have accidents from time to time, and it’s just something we all have to deal with when the eventuality arises. Even 2 and a half years after surgery, I still find I do get a little upset by it, especially because it reminds me of Crohn’s experiences before surgery, but now I am thankful that I am actually able to have a life and go places which wasn’t possible for many years before surgery.

I have recently tried the Pelican Select Convex One-Piece drainable bags, which I have found a lot better for the daytime. I still wear the Coloplast Sensura of a night because of the strong adhesive and find my leaks usually occur in the daytime away from home. The Convex design means that instead of the baseplate being flat, it is curved and in a sense pushes the skin around the stoma properly down and the stoma more outwards to ensure that output goes down into the bag properly. I also find that I’m more confident now about wearing my tighter clothes and leggings etc, as I always have worn since surgery, and am less worried that a leak is going to occur. This is because I feel that the Convex bag gives me that little bit more room and leeway to ensure that output actually goes into the bag and not underneath the baseplate. I sometimes get a lot of output build up behind my stoma and it suddenly all rush out at once, as I get muscle spasms behind it that can stop output coming through as well so its vital for me that the output has the best chance of getting down into the bag as possible. I love the fact that the skin protector around the bag also has a foam backing for that added bit of comfort and security. The only thing I have found that bothers me a tiny bit about the bag is that there are two places at either side at the top that don’t stick down to my skin properly just around the outside of the adhesive, but this isn’t a huge problem to me as I wear a waistband over it anyway usually and it’s only a tiny bit of the outer adhesive. I find that my skin appeared sore the first day I tried the Pelican bags but it has been okay since and I put that down to the skin having a change in bag adhesive to get used to.

I also have the Coloplast Convex Light Sensura samples on order so I shall be giving those a try.

Until next time,

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