In lieu of a video review I wanted to write this so that I could add to the conversation about the StomaCloak. I received two StomaCloaks (1 black, 1 beige-see bottom for disclosure) and if you look at the company website you will see that these pouch covers are reported to a) decrease/eliminate odor b) inhibit bacterial growth c) wick away water. Here I am not going describe the technology they use but I’d recommend checking out their website for a description of their proprietary material. Click here to visit the StomaCloak website. This being said, I think I can speak to how the StomaCloak holds up to daily hard use. Here is what I wanted to know about the StomaCloak and what I thought I could reasonably answer:
- Does it actually meet its claims? (Specifically reduce odor and wick water)
- Does it fit my lifestyle? (Can I wear it in hard exercise but also in dress clothes?)
- Is it cost-effective?
After a month and a half of daily hard use I can address these questions. If you are pressed for time skip to the ‘bottom line’ at the end of this post.
First impressions: When I first received the StomaCloaks it took me a little bit to figure out how to get it on and over the support belt clips of the 2 piece Hollister pouch that I use (18193 pouch and 14206 flange). There was a small learning curve, actually I was just hesitant to mess with the flange, but after I took it on and off a few times I was able to quickly fit it over and onto my pouch/flange without ever having a problem. I was impressed by how comfortable the material felt against my skin which was certainly an upgrade over the ostomy pouch cloth like material. It also reduced both the ‘digging in’ feeling that can happen from the closure region of the bottom of the pouch and the rustling noise of the pouch under my shirt. I immediately noticed that it did not add perceivable weight to the pouch which is something I care a lot about because I do not wear a support belt. I had 3 initial concerns: would the beige pouch stain in the event of a leak, would they collect sweat and trap odor after exercise, and whether the closure system of the pouch would actually trap odors…more to come on that.
Testing: Well during these 1.5 months I have been using the StomaCloak on daily hikes in over 100 degree F temperatures, playing tennis, on several multiple hour car drives, in dress clothes, in T shirts/shorts, slept in them, wore it to the beach, and washed the beige one almost 10 times (I purposefully wore that one during times I would have leaks so that one was washed more than usual). I’m about to go fishing on the Chesapeake Bay and I’m bringing my StomaCloaks along for that as well. The benefit of having two pouches was that it allowed me to dedicate them to specific purposes.
The black StomaCloak:
I used this exclusively for exercise and during a “two week challenge” to see if it would collect odor from sweat. I used it during outdoor daily hikes for two weeks straight, without washing it once. All hikes were a minimum of 1 hour in duration, with a weighted hiking backpack, and yes I sweat heavily. I am happy (and really surprised) to report that it did not trap bad odor! I tried to smell the pouch basically every day and after two weeks my brave oldest sister tried to smell it and neither of us could smell anything gross. I was VERY impressed and actually so was my sister because she claims to have a great sense of smell. I would not have dared do this with any of my other clothes obviously. Of course this is not the most objective test but it was the only way I could think of really testing odor. My sister or I could not smell anything bad. The only reason why I knew it needed to be washed was because I knew I hadn’t washed it-it didn’t smell at all. After 2 weeks I decided just to wash it because well hygiene matters.
During this exercise I also found that wearing the StomaCloak kept my flange much more dry as compared to when I do not wear it without making me feel hotter like I was wearing more clothes or anything. Normally the adhesive region of my flange is soaked through with sweat and it starts to peel up but this was greatly reduced when wearing the StomaCloak. Additionally, the cloth cover of the Hollister pouch was kept completely dry after exercise as the StomaCloak kept it off of my skin. In speaking about the ‘water wicking properties’ I also liked to put the cover on right after showering. One of the negatives of my pouch itself is that it can take a good amount of time to dry but using the StomaCloak I could shower, pat down the pouch with a towel, throw on the StomaCloak and no moisture would get out and dampen my clothes. Not having to thoroughly dry the pouch after a shower was really nice.
The beige StomaCloak:
I used the beige pouch for non-exercise daily activity and sleeping – when I have the most leaks. As I mentioned, I was concerned about a leak staining the light colored StomaCloak which would have been a deal breaker for me so I wanted to see if washing it removed any discoloration. I had 3 leaks while wearing the beige StomaCloak and below is a picture of before and after washing (you’ve been warned). The beige cover did not stain when it was leaked on and I did not use fancy wash cycles or special detergents or anything out of the ordinary. I also found that after washing this cover over and over there was no problems with the overall construction-no stitching came loose and I did not observe any fraying. Both pouches are well sewn and they continue to hold up well to heavy use and washing. I was impressed that the beige pouch did not show any signs of discoloration after 3 leaks.
Odor: My ileostomy pouch has a filter which is only functional for about a day or so and after which can be the source of bad odor. After 4 days of wearing a pouch I normally can smell what I think is coming from the filter or possibly from the bottom of the pouch. I did not detect any of this ‘4 day odor’ while wearing the StomaCloak. This was really nice.
Driving/seatbelt: At times the StomaCloak can seem like it has excess material which makes it unduly thick. This has been commented on by other reviewers (see Thalia and VeganOstomy review). I too noticed it could seem thick but on long car rides this actually provided some cushion between the seat belt and my pouch-again I don’t wear any stoma guards or anything so I liked this.
Confidence: I don’t think this is unique to the StomaCloak but this was the first time I walked around my apartment without wearing a shirt in the morning with my roommates around. It definitely had the effect of increased confidence and to be honest that was a completely unexpected finding.
Drawbacks I found: The material can seem a little thick if you are wearing dress clothes but I think this will depend on the location of the stoma/pouch, how tight you wear a belt etc. It wasn’t a major issue and I continue to wear the cover with dress clothes. If you have a Coloplast pouch such as the SensuraMio, the StomaCloak does not have external Velcro options that allow you to fold it in half like the actual pouch. Not a problem for me as I have been wearing Hollister but that is something I noticed. For those that like ‘dressing up’ their ostomy accessories these only come in black and beige which to me isn’t a big deal but maybe you’d like more options.
My bottom line:
As I said for me to purchase something like this I want it to do what it says it does, fit with my lifestyle and be cost effective. The StomaCloak delivered on all of the following:
- Odor: Masked odors well-specifically eliminating odor that I can detect after 4 days of wearing 1 pouch. It does not collect or trap odor from sweat on the exterior of the pouch after exercise.
- Water wicking: Kept my flange drier and pouch completely dry when I exercise and sweat heavily. Very useful after showers as you don’t have to spend time completely drying the pouch, just throw it on after a towel pat down of the pouch and you don’t have to worry about getting clothing wet.
- Cost-effective: The covers are robustly sewn and did not fray during heavy use or 10 machine wash cycles (beige pouch). Also the beige StomaCloak did not stain, even after several leaks-I am confident that having 3 would last 12 months or more. I do not know of any competitive options to compare the pouch against.
Taken together I would highly recommend the StomaCloak to any ostomate concerned about actual or perceived odor from their pouch. As an aside, I think these would make an awesome ‘stocking stuffer’ for the ostomate you know-you don’t even have to tell them it will reduce odor so its a win win 🙂 !
Disclosure: I received 2 StomaCloaks free of charge for the purposes of this review. This product actually works and I like it, I am going to offer to purchase them.