When you are in hospital or with someone that may be supporting you at home, you will be taught how to change your stoma bag so, by the time you leave, you will be familiar with the process. With practice, your confidence will grow and stoma bag changing should eventually only add a few minutes to your normal bathroom routine.
The step by step pictorial guides in this section will help to guide you and serve as a useful reminder, whether you're changing a one piece stoma bag or a two piece stoma bag.
Preparation for stoma bag changing
The ideal setting for changing your stoma bag is the bathroom but it can be done anywhere you are comfortable and have space to lay out the items you need.
Before starting your bag change, make sure you have the following to hand:
- Warm water, either in a bowl or from the tap if close by
- Non-woven wipes
- Disposal bags
- Medical adhesive remover if required (e.g. Appeel)
- Fresh stoma bag
- Deodorant spray if required (e.g. Limone or CliniPeel Mint)
The next step after preparation is the actual changing of your stoma bag which involves emptying and disposal of your old bag as part of this process.
Changing a one piece and two piece stoma bag
Two piece stoma bags have a separate adhesive (flange/baseplate) with a raised collar over which the stoma bag is fitted. The flange can be kept on for 2 -3 days and the new bags can be attached when necessary.
- Wash hands
- If using a drainable or urostomy bag empty the contents of your stoma bag into the toilet
- Apply a small amount of medical adhesive remover spray or wipe on top and around the edge of the flange to be removed and wait a few seconds
- Gently peel back the flange, holding the skin above taut to ease removal. Apply additional medical adhesive remover if required
- Remove excess soiling on the stoma and surrounding skin with a dry, non-woven wipe
- Use water to wet a non-woven wipe and wash stoma and surrounding area, then dry thoroughly
- If necessary, check the size of your stoma using a measuring card
- If your pouch or flange needs adjusting, cut a hole to the required size using a pair of pouch cutting scissors*
* POUCH CUTTING SCISSORS ARE AVAILABLE FREE OF CHARGE OR A POUCH CUTTING SERVICE IS AVAILABLE, ALSO FREE OF CHARGE, TO CURRENT USERS OF THE SECURICARE HOME DELIVERY SERVICE.
- Remove the protective cover from the adhesive flange/baseplate on the fresh stoma bag
Emptying and disposing of your used stoma bag
The method of emptying and disposing varies according to the type of stoma bags that you use:
Drainable and urostomy bags
Empty the contents of your stoma bag into the toilet, then place the used pouch and any wipes into a disposal bag. Seal the bag and put into the domestic refuse bin, then wash your hands.
Put the bag, along with its contents and any wipes, into a disposal bag. Seal the bag and put into the domestic refuse bin and then wash your hands. Alternatively, some colostomates with looser output may prefer to cut the bag and empty the contents into the toilet before disposal.
If you are using Aura Flushable colostomy bags, you can flush the inner liner and flange in domestic toilets, septic tanks and single flush siphonic systems, meaning only the clean outer bag needs to be disposed of in the bin.
Domestic Waste versus Clinical Waste services
While it is fine to dispose of used stoma bags into normal domestic waste, some local authorities offer a ‘yellow bag’ clinical waste service for stoma bags if you prefer. They will provide the yellow bags and collect the waste. Contact your local council for information but please note there may be a charge for the service.