Bag Bracketology: Marlen Gemini (2 piece)

I have 2 additional Hollister 1 piece bags that I will be reviewing I just forget their model numbers

IF YOU HAVE AN IRREGULARLY SHAPED STOMA OR SKIN PROBLEMS YOU SHOULD KEEP USING THE FLANGE/BAG COMBINATION THAT YOU AND YOUR STOMA NURSE HAVE FOUND THAT WORKS WELL FOR YOU. THESE REVIEWS ARE JUST MEANT TO PUT A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON SOME OPTIONS OUT THERE.

Marlen Gemini 2 Piece Drainable: 

Ease of cleaning after emptying: Opening the mouth of this pouch is very easy. It has a tab that allows you to pull up and open the mouth without having to push the sides or struggle with it (See photos). This is the only pouch I have tested that has this feature and it worked great for me. Opening the pouch with this tab along with having plastic reinforcement makes cleaning this pouch super easy. I did not have any issues with the outside of the pouch getting dirty by any means. Furthermore, it does not have the extended plastic beyond the mouth which makes it more similar to a Hollister style as compared to Coloplast or Convatec which tend to have a plastic extension beyond the opening (See photo). I like how the mouth just ends, no plastic extensions to fuss with. The diameter of the mouth is quite small compared to competitive options. In a picture below I compare the mouth of the Hollister 18133 (just what I had on standby) with that of the Marlen Gemini. You can see the dramatic difference in diameter between these two. As I have an ileostomy and the effluent tends to be more liquid this was not a problem for me however patients with colostomies or thick stool may struggle with the small opening. Lastly, this bag allows you to make the first fold up or down depending on which you prefer (see photo). I have belabored this point in other pouch reviews but being able to make the initial fold down allows you to control the rate of emptying and prevents a waterfall effect.

Protrusion from abdomen: The pouch runs close to the abdomen for a 2 piece because it doesn’t traditionally snap in like you would think with a two piece. Instead the plastic ring serves as a place holder and there is an adhesive where the pouch and flange connect.

Quality of adhesive: The adhesive that is directly on the skin stuck quite well for me. There were no signs of pulling away at the edges after showers or exercising. The second region of adhesive, connecting the pouch to the flange was insufficient to be polite. I was unable to get any of these pouches to last longer then 24 hours which was super annoying and every leak came from the connection point between the pouch and the flange. The adhesive either is not strong enough or does not stand up well to a largely liquid consistency stool. I never fully trusted this connection point between the pouch and the flange (never a good sign) so when I was standing and sitting I would catch myself holding the connection point in place. I was always fully aware that a leak could occur at any time and I knew it was going to be from this connection point. Slightly nerve racking pouch to test.

Shows where the pouch connects to the flange. The plastic rim piece does not snap in, rather it serves as an edge where the adhesive between the pouch (left) connects to the flange (right). Serious flaw in the pouch I think.

Shows where the pouch connects to the flange. The plastic rim piece does not snap in, rather it serves as an edge where the adhesive between the pouch (left) connects to the flange (right). Serious flaw in the pouch I think.

Quality of construction: During the time I wore this pouch I had no issues with the filter (although I was not able to wear it long enough to get a real impression as ileostomy filters do not hold up well over time).  The opening of the mouth will be very familiar to Coloplast users as it has the velcro with two arms that come and secure it. This is a nice closure system as it is tactile (you could close it in the dark easily) and does not require as much hand/finger strength as the Hollister Lock n’ Roll. The pouch has a mid length piece of velcro which you can fold the pouch in half for more discrete wearing or if you are exercising which is where I find this option helpful. The tab on the mouth is a unique feature that just works. It is well thought out and I like that kind of simple innovation to make life easier. The flange has belt clips for those ostomates who use that option (I do not use any support on any pouches because I like to test their strength).  The connection between the pouch and flange is a real problem. Had they used a tupperware system (like God intended 2 pieces to be) this would be a slam dunk pouch.

Half fold option similar to Coloplast.

Half fold option similar to Coloplast.

Ease of drying: The pouch is 1/2 lined with cloth (see the first photos above) and it drys fine. Probably faster then the Hollister pouches but it is still cloth so you have to take some time to dry it or just go on your business with damp shorts/pants/whatever else you wear.

Number of days per bag: I only managed 1 day per bag. As I mentioned above every change was due to a leak at the connection points between the pouch and the flange. It is not a true “tupperware” connection system like most two piece systems instead it is an adhesive based connection.

Perceived weight when full: The flange is quite large so the pouch did carry well. This is about the largest flange I can wear even using my modifications for cutting the flange.

Who I would envision liking the bag: This pouch has several features that make it desirable (good opening/mouth, tab to open, fold in half option) but the connection point between the pouch and flange was miserable for me. Obviously it works for some people, and I imagine they have thicker output perhaps colostomies. Another serious draw back on this pouch is the exorbitant price. A quick look on Amazon will show you what I mean….a  box of 5 flanges about $100. I don’t know of anyone who can afford that price out of pocket.

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