Worry about ostomy odors? No need! There are products and lifestyle adjustments you can make to reduce odors from your ostomy.
After your ostomy surgery, you’ll have many questions about adjusting to your new reality. Can I still do sports? Can I enjoy the same foods? With time and practice, you can return to your normal activities with few changes to your daily life.
Yet one major concern many ostomates express is whether their ostomy surgery will cause embarrassing odors in public. Although it’s understandable to be self-conscious about noticeable smells from your ostomy pouch, you can take precautions to avoid ostomy odors.
The thought of unwelcome smells can cause anxiety in many ostomates. But don’t let the possibility of ostomy odors deter you from enjoying your life. By following these five tips you can put that worry out of your mind.
Find the Best Fitting Appliances. Fighting ostomy odors begins with finding the best fitting ostomy supplies. An appliance that adheres snugly around your stoma reduces the chance of a leak that produces odors. When you change your appliances, make sure your skin is dry and shows no signs of irritation. You have many ostomy products to choose from, so chances are good you’ll find one that conforms to your body. Your ostomy nurse can work with you to order the one that fits you best.
Empty Your Pouch Often. The more your ostomy pouch fills with fecal matter, the more it will likely emit odors or dislodge from your skin due to the weight of the output, resulting in a leak. Instead of waiting to empty your bag when it’s completely full, release it when it’s between one-third to one-half full.
Use Deodorizing Products. Worried about odors when in public? Fortunately, there are numerous products specially made to neutralize ostomy odors. Deodorant tablets, gels, and drops can be put in your ostomy pouch to cancel odor-causing bacteria. You can also try ostomy filters that attach to the pouch and reduce gas and odors. Some ostomy pouches come with filters already in the appliance. You can also carry a deodorant spray. If you have to empty your pouch in a public restroom, the spray can mask any odor.
Avoid Odor-Causing Foods. Certain foods, especially those high in soluble fiber and sugar, cause gas and odors. Among the foods and drinks to avoid if you want to prevent smells are cabbage, beans, broccoli, onions, apples, nuts, cheese, eggs, beer, soda, and alcohol. That doesn’t mean you can never enjoy those foods. You can — as long as you take precautions (like emptying your pouch often and using deodorizing products) — to combat any odors. Or, you can simply reduce your intake of those food items. Certain fruits and vegetables are known to produce less smells, and drinking plenty of water, eating yogurt, and taking probiotics also help. Talk to your doctor about which foods are easier to digest and reduce ostomy odors.
Ask Your Doctor About Medications. If you find the above methods fail to reduce stool odors, ask your doctor about a medication to counteract the unpleasant smell. One medication currently on the market — Devrom — contains bismuth subgallate, a substance that neutralizes smells from fecal waste and flatulence. It comes in a chewable tablet form. Before you take it, ask your doctor about any possible side effects and how it may interact with other drugs you’re prescribed.
As with all aspects of your new life after ostomy surgery, your doctor and ostomy nurse are there to guide through your recovery. The Center for Ileostomy Surgery has helped many patients recover from ostomy surgery and enjoy full, productive lives. To learn more and get expert advice, visit our website and contact us for a consultation.