As for all of the bags I will discuss, your mileage likely will vary but I hope to just present the information as I have experienced it. All the reviews will be compiled in a separate page called “Bag Bracketology” which can be found at the top of the page. I am not going to describe the machinations of bag changes because this is individualized, rather I will focus on themes .
Ease of cleaning after emptying: The mouth of the bag has two rigid pieces of plastic that create a stiff opening. This creates a strong suction if you are emptying the bag by pinching the ends together. You can open it this way but you will find yourself frustrated and with dirty fingers. This whole problem can be avoided if you use the method outlined below. Click on the pictures to make them bigger. Rather then pinching the rigid plastic, push/pull it in opposite directions and this makes it open easily and it will keep your fingers clean. It may be tough the first time you open the bag because the plastic is quite firm but after that its smooth sailing. Opening the bag this way makes it infinitely better.
Protrusion from abdomen: I would not consider the Hollister two piece system “low profile” but its not jutting out there either. None of the two piece systems are as low profile as the one pieces (obviously) but among the two piece designs this one is about average. With the bag empty it rides quite close and if I am ever concerned about people seeing it I just empty it more frequently, not a big deal. If you are concerned about ostomy bag concealment check out VeganOstomy or The Stolen Colon for men and women respectively. Actually you should check them out regardless because they’re inspiring, insightful and use videos and other media to advocate for IBD/ostomies. Anyways, if I can wear this bag without changing my wardrobe at all then you shouldn’t have to either, i’m a chronic t shirt and jeans wearer with overall horrible fashion sense so you’ll do fine.
Quality of adhesion: I have been using the 57 mm flanges which have held very strong. I do not have any skin breakdown around my stoma and do not use glues or extra paste. When I change the entire bag this thing is still on there really tight and I have to work it off sometimes. I like that, I don’t want weak adhesion or something I can get off easily. I have been impressed with this considering I walk or lift weights daily and I shower on occasion (I have a weird sense of humor, I shower daily). There are two regions of adhesion on the flange. A firm central portion which sticks similarly to the wafers and then a cloth area. I wish I could explain that better but look at the photos. Both regions stick well and that is important to me because my wound drains directly onto the part of the flange right next to belly button. Even times the cloth regions have lost their adhesiveness the central region holds strong. I would say it has above average adhesion. Click the images to make them larger!
Quality of construction: The part of the bag adjacent to the skin is double lined with plastic and a cloth like material that actually touches your skin. By the time I have to change my bag that cloth will have frayed a little bit but this in no way impedes function. The bag does not stick to me when I am sweating at the gym which I like over some of the more plastic counterparts. Another benefit of this cloth lining is that it makes for a quiet bag. It doesn’t rustle around under my shirt so I never hear it at all which is nice. Hollister’s closing mechanism could be improved upon. I love how they market on their website that it is easy to close and good for people with vision and dexterity problems, have they ever tried it? Have they focused grouped this problem because I think this claim would be open to debate. It uses a kind of Velcro system, although its not quite as easy to engage as Velcro. You have to squeeze the male and female ends quite hard to close it and on almost every bag empty I double check to make sure it is truly closed. It is not a positive system in the sense that there is only a little bit of tactile feedback that it’s closed. Aka sometimes you can feel that you closed it properly. Good for people with vision and dexterity problems as advertised? Not in my opinion. This being said, it has proven that it is a strong closure system to me. This may be difficult in individuals with weak hands because you really do have to squeeze down hard. I do not experience any chaffing or uncomfortable poking in the groin region with the bag fully lowered and I dont consider myself that tall. Click on photos to enlarge.
Ease of drying: I just spent time extolling the virtues of the cloth lining but it’s Achilles heel is that it gets wet…Like really wet. Of the bags I have tested this one takes the longest to fully dry. I normally drape a paper towel or wash cloth in my boxers without a shirt on and continue getting ready for the day. This allows the paper towels to absorb the water and prevents my clothes from getting wet, because it does soak up water. I don’t own a hair dryer but I have heard this is a good way to dry bags.
Number of days per bag: 4, The longest I wore it was 6 days, changed due to leak but it did have good odor control. I do not detect any odor as the days wear on.
Perceived weight when full: When this bag fills the 57 mm flange tugs quite a bit on my skin. I would advise using as large a flange as you and your skin will tolerate to increase the distribution of weight over a larger area. This will make it feel better and decrease the sensation of the bag about to pull right off your skin. .
Who I would envision liking the bag: Overall this bag is like the plain bagel of ostomy bags. It doesn’t get the sleek looks, marketing or packaging that its competitors do but it functions well. Also, it makes sense I was given this bag in the hospital since I wasn’t really showering all the time and the bag doesn’t get wet in there. If you have weak hands, have vision problems, are a swimmer or hot tub fiend (time machine?) I do not recommend this bag. Swimmers likely will get frustrated with the lining. This being said, the more time I spend with other bags the more I appreciate this one. Its plain Jane and won’t win any beauty competitions but it functions well. If you have the strength to close the pseudo Velcro tightly, can tolerate a little more drying time after the shower and can deal with a bag that’s no beauty queen you may like this bag.
Tip for Hollister: Invert the numbers on the body of the bag so that us patients can read the reference numbers and sizes more easily. These numbers are there for us right?