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Is There a Right or Wrong Way of Emptying Your Stoma Bag?

Myself being ever so curious & nosy I posted up polls across my handles at the beginning of March and left them to run for a week or so. Along with responding to everyone’s comments. I have to admit that it has given me a massive giggle along the way. empty

I originally posted after being sent some storyboards about stoma emptying and some cute little stick men and women. 

When you get discharged from hospital there isn’t an instruction manual on how to empty your stoma, there is no right or wrong way. For me, it has always been standing to empty my bag. After the countless surgeries, I have had it was bad enough trying to sit on the toilet to pee and after a few unfortunate UTIs due to splashback of emptying my appliance whilst sitting I have never grown to love that way of emptying. 

Standing to empty your stoma, especially if you have an ileostomy or urostomy, then that does carry a certain risk, I shall explain that later on in this post. 

I was absolutely blown away by the number of people that responded and the feedback and comments were both tongue in cheek and I have learned a few things along with the standard emptying of Male Vs Female. 

All in all 173 people took part.

Here are the results from that:

Poll percentages 

  • Sitting – 43%
  • Standing – 31%
  • Kneeling – 20%
  • Sitting backwards – 6%

When I first posted I thought to stand would win hands down. I have for the most part always stood empty, realising that sitting was a more common thing than standing. I had to sit and question why I was over analyzing as always.

Standing 

So I will have to admit standing to empty your ostomy comes with its own risks and dangers. Splashback is real, you will be amazed how far liquid poop can jump and it’s not until you occasionally start inspecting your walls near ceiling height that you may discover an escaped dash that you missed during clean up. Not to mention if you’re wearing light-coloured clothing then your legs may get splashed as well. Also, the amount of bleach, toilet cleaner and antibacterial wipes I go through on a weekly basis are quite high. I should seriously reconsider the way I empty but kneeling is not always appropriate depending on the place and good luck getting me back up off the floor.

There are ways to limit the potential splashback issues with standing. Common is to shove loads of loo roll down so it doesn’t hit the water, a slight bend to the knees or attempting to squat whilst emptying is also useful. Things like thickening sachets also help to bind up the output to stop it sloshing on route out of the outlet.

Sitting

Sitting does seem like a logical thing to do. I myself rarely adopt this method purely because my stoma needs emptying more than I pee. Emptying like this reduces splashback, is most likely more comfortable. There have been a few ladies and gentlemen that have said that they can’t empty this way due to being overweight and not having the space to empty between their thighs. I for one wouldn’t attempt this post-Barbie Butt surgery but it is something I do when visiting family to avoid damaging others’ paintwork. 

Kneeling

Now, this was a popular one with the gents. Kneeling means you’re pretty low to toilet level, this also means that gravity is not turning your current emptying output into the equivalent of the atomic bomb going off. The risks to this are whilst out in public, public toilets are not the most sanitary. You’re always hit by the public toilet smell when entering the building so guessing floor germs are not what you want on your current jeans or trousers. 

Sitting backwards

Now I would actually pay money to see people sit like this, for one is it even possible, 2 – is it uncomfortable, 3- what happens if you overbalance and fall off? The same principle as sitting but that’s about it. 

That’s about it for emptying your stoma. There is no right or wrong way, it is what you feel comfortable doing.

Do any of you have any genius ideas on how to make stoma emptying easier ? DO you think there’s a device that could be invented like a little slide or a funnel that’s at a lower level to make it easier? Would love to hear your ideas and feedback. 

As always 

Many thanks for reading

Stay safe 

Louise X

Louise uses our Platinum Vitamin E range to keep her stoma site healthy. If you’d like to try a sample, click here. 

This blog post is intended to give advice to ostomates. The information given is based on Louise’s personal experience and should not be taken as clinical advice. Each ostomates needs are unique to them and their stoma care routine. Please consult with your Stoma Care Nurse before undertaking any changes to your stoma care routine or if you are experiencing any health issues.

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