Every Little Tip Helps: Skin Issues With My Ostomy

I honestly went back and forth in my mind about whether or not to share what I have been doing for the past few weeks because it is a little embarrassing.


I have skin irritation around my stoma and I know that the more I get the area wet, the worse it is. {Also the reason I avoid swimming and getting in the water but that is a whole other thing ; ) }

So, in an effort to try to make the skin heal quicker,  I have been avoiding showers (in the traditional sense) and will continue to until I feel like my skin is in the best shape it can possibly be. On the days that I don’t go to the gym ( I always take a regular shower after working out!), I have been using wash clothes and washing my hair in the sink. Basically, doing everything I needed to do in the shower… outside of the shower so my ostomy appliance wouldn’t get wet.

It has been helping and I still feel clean and perfectly fine. I am a person who (unless I am in the hospital unable to move) always wants and needs (for mental health reasons) to have good hygiene. I may be in sweats a lot with my hair in a messy pony tail but I am always clean. I can’t even get into bed at night until I feel good in that way.

Point being, I know it may sound gross to admit to not showering a ton recently but it has been helping my skin to heal quicker than it ever has (knock!) and I still feel just as clean as I would if I had taken a regular shower.

If anyone needs help figuring out the best way to do this (it took me a bit of trial and error,  as silly as that sounds, to get things in order). please email me Marisa.IBD@gmail.com.


Any other tips please send them my way at the email address immediately above. Thanks for reading!


  • http://veganostomy.blogspot.com/ veganostomy

    Whatever works!

    When the stoma around my skin looks sore, I leave my stoma out and exposed after taking my wafer off… sometimes for a few hours. It’s often impractical to do often, but it does help.

  • http://duncancross.net/ Duncan Cross

    Sorry to hear that, but thanks for being open and candid about your problems; you’re definitely not the only one. This is going to be sort of a data-dump, so apologies if it’s things you’ve already tried.

    -I had the same problem for a while, and also tried to spend some time every few days with no appliance. I had to time it carefully.
    -Another thing that helped was ‘crusting’ the skin with powder and Cavilon before I put the appliance on.
    -My problem turned out to be a sensitivity to the adhesive in Cymed. It started right after a surgery, but went away after about a year and a half. In the meantime I found Coloplast tolerable, but got much shorter wear times.
    -When they don’t irritate my skin, Cymed appliances are the bees knees. They let me swim, shower, whatever, and I get a reliable 4 to 5 days of wear time.

  • https://plus.google.com/+MatthewDobos Matthew Dobos

    Hi Marissa, so sorry to hear about your struggles. Let me share what I’ve learned over the last 20+ years with this thing. I’m certainly not saying “do as I did and you’ll be fine”, but maybe something will help!

    Lessons I learned:
    1) When the skin is upset, I don’t use any creams to help it heal. I use powder. Stomahesive powder is good, but I’ve also liked the Gold Bond medicated powder. Powder helps the skin stay dry better, and the drier the skin is the better the bag stays on, and quicker the skin heals.
    2) Two-piece pouches stay on better- so I’ll use these when the skin is acting up
    3) Check the stoma size. Bags with holes too big or too small cause problems. If the stoma is short, then you’ll need a convex wafer- you’re more likely to leak with a flat wafer/flange and leaks ruin the skin.
    4) I always add some protection to a new bag. Specifically, I use a one-piece, and will use a Eakin large barrier over the stoma- this really, really helps the skin stay dry and heal underneath. After I put on the Eakin barrier, I’ll also wipe down the part of the barrier the bag goes over, with a protective wipe. I like the Allkare line for the value, but others work well too. The combination of Eakin barrier and wipes has double my wear time and saved my skin.
    5) When the skin is really sore, keeping it clean and dry are the two biggest challenges. I can definitely see why you avoid showering, but a good wipe down with some gentle cleaner around the stoma should be ok. Might sting a bit at first, but it goes away quickly after the powder is used to dry it out.

    From your past posts your skin issues were much more sever than what I ever had to deal with so I’m not sure how much of my “lessons” you don’t already know. But maybe it helps someone. Hope you’re better soon!