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To Change or Not to Change Your Stoma Bag?

Disclaimer: bare stoma photos in post

When should you change your stoma bag? Is there a right or wrong way? Posting about being able to keep a baseplate on for 7 days with a 2-piece system caused a slight influx of comments and messages about how often others change their appliance. 

For me, testing out the 2-piece system was a game-changer and an eye-opener. Having used a one-piece on and off for the last 10 years I can say that the change is something that I have to be rather meticulous about and have the timing down to a T, my ileostomy is like a constant dripping tap and there is nothing worse than getting the whole site cleaned and dried and then have it spurt away and having to start the cleaning process again. On average I get 3-4 days out of a one-piece and I typically change it due to the bag being wet rather than having that dreaded itch that indicates the bag is due a change. 

Using the 2-piece was more freeing and less time consuming but alas I am going back to my trusted Vitamin E one piece as I have run out of the large bags that were kindly provided to me by Dan at Pelican Healthcare. 

Is there a right or wrong way to when you should change? 

After garnering advice from some stoma nurses there is just a midway line for people changing. 

Some prefer to change daily. Others like me will prolong the bag wear and change when they feel the baseplate is ready to give. 

As per the stoma prescribing guidelines, this is the advice your stoma nurse will give you:

Ileostomy

  • One-piece drainable- pouch change – 1-3 days
  • Two-piece drainable – baseplate change 2-3 times per week – Pouch change 1-3 days

Colostomy

  • One-piece closed pouch – 1-3 times daily
  • Two-piece closed pouch – baseplate change 2-3 times per week- Pouch change 1-3 times a day

Urostomy

  • One-piece pouch change – 1-3 days
  • Two-piece pouch change – Baseplate change 2-3 times per week – Pouch change 1- 3 days

It also states that each patient may vary and that the patient may require less or more items depending on their change frequencies. 

My Supplies

Being in the UK we are incredibly lucky and for me having a permanent ileostomy means I have a medical exemption card and I no longer have to pay for my stoma supplies. I am also rather conscientious about only ordering what I need to use to help keep costs down. 

One-piece

I typically use 8 bags per month, an average of 2 changes per week. So 3 boxes of ten will typically last me nearly 4 months. I also order 30 barrier rings per order and they also last me nearly 4 months.

Two-piece

These were sent to my from Pelican Healthcare. They were samples, I typically changed my baseplate every 7 days. Changed pouch every other day so in a 4 month period. 

This would have averaged out at 16 baseplates for that period and 48 bags for that time period.

I’m not actually sure as to what would work out as the most cost-effective so have decided that if the 2-piece is launched with added Vitamin E then I will switch as find it more convenient and fits my lifestyle better. 

As indicated via this post there is no right or wrong way to when you change your bag. It is down to preference with each ostomate. Some change daily as they like to feel clean. Others change less frequently as this is what works for them. 

How often do you change? 

As always

Many thanks for reading 

Louise X

*Disclaimer*

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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