If you have an ileostomy, the thought of showering with a stoma bag can be, well, icky.
What if the stoma leaks while you’re showering and you get stool on your skin. While it’s easy to immediately rinse it off, anxiety and worry could cause showering to become a stressful, unpleasant experience.
So can you shower with the bag on? You can if you have a waterproof system. In fact, in some cases, the heat and steam of the shower will help the bag adhere better to your skin. If your system isn’t waterproof, you will probably need to remove the bag before hopping in the shower. And remember to thoroughly dry your skin and keep it free of oil-based lotions, soaps, and creams. Otherwise, the system may not adhere properly.
If you’re tired of fumbling with a bag during showers and all other times of the day, consider these options that allow you to live with an ileostomy that doesn’t require a bag. These surgical options retain stool on the inside of your body, allowing you to empty it only when it’s convenient.
To create a J pouch, a surgeon will create a reservoir in your ileoanal area. One end will be connected to your intestine, the other to your anus. Solid waste will be stored in the reservoir until you empty it using a thin catheter. While more convenient than a colostomy bag, a J pouch can leak and can lead to fistulas.
The gold standard among ileostomies is the BCIR or Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir. This option creates a stoma on the lower part of your abdomen. A reservoir connects the stoma to your intestine. The special valve stops stool or gas from leaking through the stoma until you empty it with a catheter. The BCIR offers the most convenience and freedom of any ileostomy option.
Dr. Don Schiller is an ileostomy expert who can discuss any of these options with you. To learn more, please call 323-472-9931 or request an appointment using our contact form.