Top tips for maintaining healthy stoma skin

Can your stoma care routine affect skin health?

How is the skin around your stoma? Does it look like the skin on the rest of your body? It certainly should, and yet around 73% of people with a stoma experience skin problems1. There are many reasons why you can get sore and irritated skin around your stoma. It can be something as simple as not changing the bag often enough.

Jo had her ileostomy created more than 25 years ago and suffered with sore skin for many years. Jo remembered “I had always had sensitive skin. When I first had my stoma I didn’t change my bag regularly enough and that was what caused me problems, although I didn’t realise it at the time.”


In 2010, Jo’s sensitive skin flared up, “It was bright red, hot, weeping and very painful, not the ideal skin for sticking a bag to. I found myself changing the bag multiple times in a day as I found they simply would not stick for long.”

This can be a common side effect of sore skin. Research also found that pouch leakage can cause discomfort and distress and the fear of this happening can profoundly affect daily life, activities, and social life2.

“It really got me down and at its worst it was debilitating. I couldn’t go out of the house as I didn’t have confidence that the bag would stay on, and at night I kept waking up worried I would leak” said Jo.

“My breakthrough moment came when I discovered a powder that helps absorb moisture while skin heals. It was recommended by a nurse I met at an event I attended. It made such a difference, my bags now stick whilst the skin heals under the baseplate.”

If you feel powders could help you, try Orahesive® powder from Convatec.

Jo looked at a number of ways to improve the way she manages her condition effectively. She says “to be in control I realised I needed an effective routine. I started changing my bag every fourth day and now stick to that fairly rigorously unless it suits me to change a day earlier, but I rarely leave my bag on for longer than that. The result has been rare occurrences of sore, irritated skin so I can get on with my life with confidence.”

Top tips for maintaining healthy skin around your stoma

  • Keep stoma care routines simple – avoid using products on the skin containing perfumes, chemicals or anything else which may cause irritation
  • Always ensure your skin is completely dry before attempting to attach the baseplate of your stoma bag
  • Make sure your bag fits snugly and check the hole cut into your baseplate is the right size for your stoma
  • Check your skin regularly – even take pictures to help record changes
  • If you notice output on your skin this could be a sign your bag isn't fitted correctly 
  • A healthy diet can help towards healthy skin ask your GP for advice
  • Consider a barrier cream or adhesive remover if you don’t already use them
  • As soon as you feel any soreness or itchiness around your stoma contact your stoma nurse

As everyone is an individual there are no set specific guidelines for how often you should change your bag, everyone is different, but if you are experiencing sore skin you may need to review your stoma care routine. If you can’t see your usual stoma care nurse, Amcare Group customers and me+™ members can request a visit or a call from one of our specialist stoma care nurses on 0800 085 2516 (UK) or 1800 721 721 (RoI)

Alternatively, if you would like to review the products you use or try Orahesive® powder for yourself, call one of our friendly Product Specialists on call 0800 282 254 for all UK enquiries or 1800 721 721 for all Republic of Ireland enquiries.

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