Ostomy odour – what to do?

In this post I will be explaining what to use to combat the smell when emptying your bag; particularly useful for staying away or for making emptying your bag in a public toilet for example less of a worry.

Let’s face it, it’s waste from our bodies, so ostomy or not, it’s not going to smell of roses! But this is something that worried me when I had my operation. I was worried whether the smell would be worse, and if I would actually be able to stay at a friend’s or away without being worried about emptying my bag and leaving the smell behind.

In my experience since my surgery, I’ve generally found the smell to be stronger than before surgery, especially with certain foods. Certain foods contribute to causing a lot of gas and/or odour as a result of eating them. Everyone is different, but I find that fizzy drinks, indian food and anything with a lot of rich flavour in increases the amount of gas I get. Fizzy drinks are the worst for me, sometimes to the point where it makes me uncomfortable and causes my stoma to make quite a lot of noise, so I usually save myself the hassle and leave fizzy drinks out. I also find eggs, onions and a lot of frozen processed food such as fish fingers can give me an increase in gas. Odour wise, it’s pretty much the same foods as what I have mentioned regarding gas. I avoid eggs as a rule and only have those others mentioned once in a while when I feel I can cope with it 😀 Foods that give me problems because of my narrowing which cause me discomfort I tend to just avoid altogether and the ones that come to mind right now are; beans, lentils, most vegetables unless they’re soft and without skin, steak or casserole beef, nuts, too much of stodgy food such as wotsits and mash potato, and wholegrain rich foods.

So what do I use to help minimise/get rid of the odour in my bag when I empty? I use Salts No-Roma Ostomy Appliance Deodorant. I put a little bit into my bag when I put a new bag on and after each time that I empty my bag. The product is handy as I use the 227ml big bottle for at home, and the small 27ml bottle to take in my handbag when I go out or when I stay away from home. The different product sizes are great for convenience. I just leave the big bottle next to the toilet at home for easy use when I empty my bag, and put the small bottle in the inside pocket in my handbag. I have used this product for most of the time I have had my ostomy and I find that it works brilliantly and 99% of the time gets rid of all odour. This definitely boosts my confidence dramatically and enables me to go places without worrying about having to empty my bag and leaving a smell behind. The 1% that I have found it does not work in every single time is if I use the drops overnight in my bag, but the odour that is there when I empty my bag is nowhere near what it would be without usually, so this does not really phase me. I’ve been told by family members for example that if you can’t leave a smell in a toilet, then where can you?! Which is true, but I’ve found a lot of people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease for example and those who have an ostomy feel a lot more conscious about leaving a smell behind, me included. If I could have found a product that helped me keep odour to a minimal or get rid of odour completely before I had my bag and I still had my large intestine, that would have been great but the only things I found accessible were air fresheners which never worked in my favour. This is why in a way I find having my ostomy more convenient, as you can treat the smell before you empty the waste.

I hope if you are reading this then you are well, and feel free to drop me an e-mail at: ostomismnotpessimism@yahoo.com or leave a comment if you need any advice or a chat and I will do my best to help! 🙂

Before I finish this post, I’d like to recommend another blog for you to check out by the lovely Hattie. This is the link to her latest post, which I feel really brings home the message that we really have to listen to our bodies and keep pushing for medical help if we feel something really is not right.:

http://morethanyourbag.com/2015/02/27/why-young-woman-need-better-medical-attention-stop-blaming-womens-troubles/

Sadly, it seems cases like Hattie’s have become increased or we have been made aware of them more. It is vital that research and awareness carries on enhancing so that cases like this can decrease.

Thank you for reading! 🙂

Until next time,

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6 thoughts on “Ostomy odour – what to do?

  1. Hi Amy, very informative and useful advice on odours and foods that may exacerbate the issue. I do think you are so right when referring to how individuals may respond to foods slightly differently and of course the smell that emanates from your bag.I have had my stoma since 1987, which was then re-sited in 1991 because of a major flare in 1991 and severe inflammation just inside the old stoma. I was 25 in 1987 and have had crohns from 1976. I used to have one piece pouches and used atmocol spray back then, now i use drainable pouches because the stoma is always overactive, come what may. Totally agree about gas and fizzy drinks, also eggs and some vegetables. I do find i still am oversensitive and can pick up odours which i ask loved ones and they cannot smell. I do think the gut has days when for no reason at all it is simply very pungent no matter how i attempt to overcome the smell. I tend to wave the white flag and accept it and over deodorize. Pouch management is an art in itself for us with stomas, that includes managing the smell. though the availability of new and different sprays and crystals are a godsend. Keep up the great work with the blog and take care

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