Sarah Amundson from Sanford joined us for our meeting today and she answered lots of questions from participants! She started out by giving her best advice for the things she sees the most often in her practice:
After removing your skin barrier to replace it, always make sure you clean the surrounding skin with WATER prior to placing a new barrier. If you use any kind of soap or adhesive remover to remove the barrier, it is imperative that you thoroughly rinse with water to ensure a good seal.
If you have redness on the skin around your stoma, it is fine to use powder; however, she sees people in her practice using powder when there is no sign of any skin irritation. Avoid using powder if not necessary!
To prevent breaking the skin or irritation, try to use some kind of adhesive remover wipe or spray. This makes removal of the skin barrier far less traumatic for the underlying skin.
Some questions received from participants and Sarah's advice were as follows:
Is bleeding around or on the stoma normal? Some bleeding is normal but if you have excessive bleeding it is always best to consult with a professional. If you are cutting your barrier flange, always make sure the edge is not touching or cutting the edge of the stoma; this can cause bleeding and sores.
Pancaking seems to be a bigger issue when using a large pouch at night for sleeping. Why is this? Sarah did not have a good answer to this question but recommended using lubricating deodorant drops inside the pouch to help move stool toward the bottom of the bag. One participant relayed a story about using mineral oil in the past and that was detrimental in that the mineral oil came into contact with the stoma and caused severe irritation -- so using mineral oil inside the pouch was discouraged.
What can be done about the irritation under the barrier ring? Sarah noted that it is possible for people to be allergic to certain materials in different products so trying a different brand can sometimes be effective. Also, using a barrier spray can put an additional layer between your skin and the barrier product you are using. 3M makes a product called Cavilon which can be purchased on Amazon.
Will Head & Shoulders shampoo work to treat skin irritations? Sarah said she had never heard of anyone using Head & Shoulders to treat infections but she said it may possibly work if it contains an active anti-fungal ingredient. She is unaware of the ingredients of this shampoo. In her practice, they recommend using Nizoral when the patient exhibits a possible fungal infection. Nizoral can also be purchased on Amazon.
What is the best way to prevent an urostomy bag from "flopping around" when doing activities? While Sarah did not have advice beyond trying to keep the pouch close to your body, several ostomates in the group recommended Stealth Belt because of its unique design to specifically address the needs of active ostomates.
If you have other questions related to your ostomy, please don't ever hesitate to reach out anytime. You can submit a request on our website!