Stoma bag wearers can sometimes complain of sore skin. Sometimes referred to as skin stripping, the soreness can vary from a little redness to sores and weeping wounds. It often affects the skin around the stoma bag baseplate. It can be uncomfortable and even painful.
Everyone is different and the causes of sore skin will differ from person to person. But there are some common causes.
This is the most likely cause of soreness around the stoma bag area. Leakage can happen for a variety of reasons including, wrongly sizing of the baseplate, the type of baseplate used or products that prevent the baseplate from sticking to the skin. All of which can cause soreness when urine and faecal matter makes contact with the exposed skin.
It may be that your baseplate doesn't quite fit. In this case your stoma nurse may recommend resizing your template. Alternatively, you may not have quite mastered the cutting techniques. As a result, the bag may not fit properly. A quick refresher course might be the answer.
If the baseplate isn't sticking to your skin it could be because you're using products that interfere with the adhesive. This then becomes a vicious cycle as some products designed to help prevent skin irritation stop the baseplate sticking, exposing the skin and causing more soreness. A good quality barrier spray could help here as it won't affect skin adhesion. Always ask your stoma nurse before using any new products.
It may simply be the stoma baseplate you're using isn't quite right for your skin. In this case your stoma nurse could recommend an alternative all-in one solution or a two-piece bag which reduces pouch change frequency.
Many of those with a stoma don’t realise that there are a multitude of different companies that manufacture stoma bags. You should always get advice on what alternatives are out there from a qualified nurse or specialist.
Many proprietary soaps and body wipes contain chemicals to make them fragrant. These products can irritate the skin under the stoma bag baseplate. So in this case it isn't the baseplate itself which is the issue but rather the cleansing products you may be using.
Avoiding any soaps and lotions which contain chemicals could be an easy way to reduce soreness. Stoma bag wearers are advised to use warm water to clean the skin around their stoma and dry thoroughly with dry wipes which can be requested as part of your prescription in most cases.
Some people can suffer a reaction to a particular product, but this is very rare. If there is a reaction it is often to the microporous tape used to attach the baseplate rather than the stoma bag itself, again this is extremely rare.
If you do have an allergic reaction, switching to a product which doesn't use tape could be a simple solution to this problem. You should consult with your stoma nurse before making any changes.
We asked Andrea Benn, Senior Medical Affairs Specialist at ConvaTec, what she would advise. She said: "If you're worried about soreness always contact your stoma nurse. It's very likely your nurse will have seen these issues before and will be able to advise you on how to tackle the problem.”
“I understand some people are reluctant to contact their stoma nurse because they don't want to bother them, but as nurses we’re only too happy to help."
“I work for Amcare™ Group & ConvaTec who offer a Clinical Support Line to anyone who needs it, they can provide general advice over the phone but often sore skin needs a visual review so they can arrange for an Amcare™ Group Community Nurse to visit you at no cost to you.”