IF YOU HAVE AN IRREGULARLY SHAPED OR A DIFFICULT STOMA 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.
So it’s the beginning of March which means one thing…March Madness (it means several things actually but one sounds better). This year I’m bringing the brackets we all know and love to the realm of ileostomy bag reviews. If you are a serious basketball fan I know the bracket resembles the NIT but let’s not split hairs here folks. So how did I get this idea? Well it was born out of an emergency situation for an ostomate (I’ve talked about learning from crazy situations in a previous post somewhere). I accidentally traveled without extra bags. Here’s what happened. I was about to go home and I was meticulously, or frantically depending on your vantage point, packing up supplies. I was swapping wafers between boxes, checking stoma powders, locating flanges, wondering whether I needed de-deodorizing spray, checking scissor sharpness (exaggeration), packing my little emergency day bag, throwing out trash…I was in the zone. Except when I threw all that into my truck I forgot the bags. You could argue those are somewhat important. Anyways my sister is an awesome person (who also happens to be a nurse) so she was able to get some bags from her hospital to hold me over. After using the new bags I realized that compared to my previous system there were some pros and several cons with these new bags which takes us to where we are now.
The only dog I have in this fight (an unusual expression) is that I’m looking to settle on a bag to call my own. I’m taking you all along so that hopefully you can learn something and minimize your own trial and error. Okay, so unfortunately I need to say this but let’s be serious, I’m nowhere near important enough to have “deals” or payments from companies to rig this. All of the bags I am using for these tests are free samples procured by filling out two second online requests. Check out any major ostomy supplier website and they’ll usually send you a sample free. Why wouldn’t they? They do want your business after all!
So how will this work? Since I’m only one guy and putting together a somewhat helpful review takes time with each bag I will be rolling out reviews as I go. I have completed several but will be releasing content in a piecemeal fashion ensuring I have adequate time to get a good impression of each bag. One and two piece bag designs are actually quite different so to prevent ‘apples to oranges’ comparisons they will form my two ‘leagues’ culminating in a championship. My goal is to start from the sweet 16 round and go from there. The winner will become my daily bag.
For some baseline information about factors affecting my bag. I’m 6 foot 195 lbs (183 cm, 88 kg) and use flat flanges. I will be walking, lifting weights and showering daily as I am currently training up for my 10k. I don’t use any fancy ostomy support bands or anything of that nature, I just tuck it into the waist line of my pants and go. All bags will be worn to the point of first leak or any odor, whichever comes first. Yep I’m actually going to do that. This is a labor of love for my fellow ostomates. Another thing about my bag that many people may not have to deal with is that my wound (see yesterday’s blog post) drains directly onto the flange compromising the adhesion to the skin.
All bags will be rated on the following points:
- Ease of opening, cleaning and closing after emptying
- Protrusion from abdomen
- Quality of adhesive ( I do not use any paste or extra adhesive products. Just wafer and flange baby)
- Quality of construction (i.e. Does it make noise like I have a grocery store plastic bag under my shirt?)
- Ease of drying after showers (I hate swimming, sorry all you aquatic people out there)
- Number of days per bag
- Perceived weight when full (usually just a function of flange diameter)
- Who I would envision liking the bag (if I can think of a type of person that may favor a particular bag
These are some criteria I think ostomates value and I will be sticking with them for consistency but I do want to stay flexible. If I am forgetting something obvious please tell me and I will edit old reviews. I will use pictures as necessary to demonstrate any key points and I’m hoping this is provides some clarity and information to those of us in the ostomy bag market even though much of this is subjective I am sorry. To complete this will take some time so please be patient with me and I hope you enjoy this format.