Convatec Esteem One-Piece Drainable Moldable with InvisiClose, Filter (4413521)
Ease of cleaning after emptying: This bag has the same closure system (and is similar overall) as the Convatec Natura so I will use much of that text here with further elaboration on one of the issues in closing these bags. Before wearing the bag it appears to have a good closure system. What do I think is a good closure system? Well, one with exterior reinforced plastic pieces that provide support to push against when opening (see pictures below). These plastic pieces are an important feature to look for because they facilitate easier opening and cleaning. However, after wearing this bag and doing several bag empties I quickly realized the flaws in the opening. What problems? There are 2 major ones I identified. The first is that the mouth has these protruding plastic pieces (lips I guess) which, as they don’t have support, fold back onto the bag when you are trying to clean the bag after emptying (see pictures below). This folding back causes the exterior of the bag to get dirty along with your fingers. To me that is unacceptable. I suppose you could cut these off but personally I don’t want to take the time to modify my bag. The second major problem I identified was that since the bag closes up towards you in the first fold there is virtually no way to control the rate of emptying once you undo the pseudo-velco closure system. This creates like a rapid arching waterfall effect when you have liquid output. I do not experience this issue with bags that close in the opposite direction (tucking down in the first fold rather than folding up, look at the images below for visual representation).
Protrusion from abdomen: This bag rides closely to the abdomen. While it’s not what I would call a true one piece, it does not have the Tupperware like connection between flange and bag so it rides more closely.
Quality of adhesive: There are two adhesive regions. The moldable region adjacent to the stoma sticks very strongly against the skin. Parts 1, 2 and 3 that remove from bag and go onto the skin first adhere quite well to the skin (see pictures below). The most exterior adhesive region also has a strong connection. My skin has not been weeping up to this point and my wound has closed so my body is being nicer to these bags that I am reviewing hereon out. In the shower and during exercise this bag has stuck very strongly.
Quality of construction: The adhesion system in this bag is quite strong. Aside from the Natura (previously reviewed) Convatec gets adhesive materials right. Also I like the peak window to view the stoma without having to have a fully transparent bag. I also found that the filter on this bag works quite well, I did not experience ballooning for the duration of wearing this bag. Attaching this bag takes a bit of learning curve as the 1, 2 and 3 pieces detach from the bag and go onto the skin first. My first bag change I had to refer to the instructions which took some time, but after that I had it pretty well nailed down because it is fairly easy (see pictures below). The completely cloth lined bag traps water after showers. This bag closure system is frustrating because I cannot figure out a way to keep the outside of the bag clean. Your mileage may vary but for me it has been tricky.
Ease of drying: The bag is totally wrapped by a double lined with a cloth like layer (see above photos). While this does quiet down the bag under your cloths it also traps water after showering. Like all bags that are double lined with cloth it just takes time to dry. It’s a balance of warmth on the skin, having a non-transparent bag and one that doesn’t make sound to easy of drying. The Convatec ActiveLife drys rapidly (great for swimmers probably) but does make sound under the shirt and is obviously transparent.
Number of days per bag: I was able to get a respectable 4 days with this bag. The adhesive system held the whole time but the closure system makes the exterior of the bag get a little dirty (at least in my experience) so I had to change due to odor.
Perceived weight when full: This bag has quite a large attachment point to the skin which makes it feel secure when full. It carries well and I had confidence wearing the bag unsupported without any belt when it was filling.
Who I would envision liking the bag: If you have an irregularly shaped stoma I think that the moldable technology is the way to go. Additionally, if you do not like the traditional snap to close Tupperware two piece bags because of their protrusion from the abdomen then you may like this bag as it seems like a compromise between a 1 and 2 piece system. If you like the discreetness of a covered bag while maintaining the ability to view the stoma then this system provides that. Attaching the bag requires a slight learning curve but after that I did find it quite pleasant to wear despite the problem of the the opening. This was the bag I wore for the 10K (I had a variety of options to choose from) because it is very comfortable to wear.
Does anyone else have experience with this bag? Let me know how it went for you.
Convatec ActiveLife with Durahesive Plus Skin Barrier
Ease of cleaning after emptying: This bag comes with what is called a tail closure clip. This clip functions similarly to Velcro push to close systems in that it is what is preventing the bag from opening. The clip is positive, secure and easy to open during cleanings. Only 1 tail closure is provided per box so I would recommend keeping them in case you lose one. How would you lose one? While emptying the bag. I had to be super careful so as not to drop it in the toilet. I wouldn’t want to go fishing after it so having the piece of mind of extra clips is worth having. If you are not used to these tail clips it does take some mental adjustment because it does not seem like a secure closure system but it does get the job done. Unfortunately cleaning this bag is difficult as compared to Hollister, Coloplast and even other Convatec offerings. Since the tail has no reinforced plastic in it there is nothing providing structure that can be used to help you open the bag. It is literally like trying to separate a wet stuck together plastic bag. A difficult task especially if you are trying to keep your hands as clean as possible. The only way I could somewhat quickly clean the bag was folding a piece of TP over the mouth and pressing out whatever was left in the tail into that TP. I repeated this several times before I could even open the bag.
Protrusion from abdomen: This bag is super low profile and light weight. I could hardly feel that it was there and even when full with gas it was already so close to begin with I couldn’t even tell with a T-shirt on. The Active life definitely would fulfil the role of a low profile bag if that is your main concern.
Quality of adhesive: The ActiveLife series has two types of adhesive systems. I used the Durahesive Plus skin barrier but there is also a Stomahesive skin barrier. They market the Durhesive as “the product choice for ileostomies and urostomies” while the Stomahesive “provides high-quality protection for colostomies”. The Durahesive barrier was fantastic. I used it with a Hollister wafer and it attached onto a large area of my abdomen and didn’t go anywhere. This bag had no problem handling my wound draining on it constantly, showering and exercising daily. One of the top adhesive systems I have used, I was very impressed.
Quality of construction: Super light-weight but it does make noise under your shirt. It has that plastic bag kind of feel and sound. The sound could easily be mitigated with some sort of maternity band to hold the bag in place but I don’t use these. I would think that the tail should have some sort of reinforcement so that cleanings can be performed more easily however this may diminish the lightweight aspect of the bag. One thing that did bother me was that as I would perspire during exercise, the bag tended to stick to my skin and then naturally as I moved it would peel off. This gave the sensation of the bag being pulled off my skin and I was always touching it to make sure it was still there. I would recommend using a bag cover to prevent this if you are exercising.
Ease of drying: This bag dried rapidly after showers. I would wrap up in the towel and after walking to my bedroom it would be dry. It whisks away water and to dry all it needs is dabbing from a towel.
Number of days per bag: I went 7 days with this bag, changed due to odor. I credit the quality of adhesive.
Perceived weight when full: This bag has quite a large attachment point to the skin which makes it carry very easily when full. It outperformed many two piece systems I have used in this area.
Who I would envision liking the bag: Swimmers, athletes and anyone who favors a really low profile bag. I will add the caveat that you must be willing to spend a bit more time then you may be used to while emptying the bag. When looking at a super lightweight, fast changing bag like this you have to consider where they are cutting weight and for this bag weight is cut from the tail (making the emptying challenging) and the materials of the bag (which make some noise, but also whisks water away). If this doesn’t bother you give it a try!