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Overcoming common issues you may face with your stoma

Ostomy Pouch Leakage

How to spot leakage and how it is different from mechanical irritation and other complications.

If you experience skin problems or complications, you should always consult your ostomy care nurse straight away. However, spotting evidence early can help you catch a potential skin problem even before it develops.

Start by looking for any stoma output, either on your skin or on the back of the adhesive plate. Even if there is no direct visual sign of leakage, be aware of anything unusual, such as if the adhesive plate looks 'melted' (because the adhesive has reacted with the output.)

Signs of mechanical irritation

If you skin is red, sore and moist, maybe even bleeding a little, but you have not had any leakage, the issue could be 'mechanical'. That means your skin is simply being irritated from removing the pouch too often, too vigorously or from cleaning or scrubbing the skin to roughly.

To avoid mechanical irritation, try to be as gentle as possible, both when removing your adhesive baseplate and when cleaning the skin. Try to peel the plate off slowly, rather than ripping or tearing off. Using the other hand to hold the skin tight can help reduce stress on the skin. Adhesive removers may also help when removing the appliance.

What is ballooning?

When you swallow food or water, you also swallow a certain amount of air. Most ostomy pouches have charcoal filters built into the bag. These allow the air to be released. However, if the filter capacity cannot handle the amount of air produced, or if the filter has become wet or blocked by the output, ballooning can occur.

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Overcoming skin irritation around your stoma


Skin irritation around your stoma is usually caused by leakage from your ostomy pouch and the output from your stoma getting underneath the adhesive and onto your skin. It is uncomfortable and can stop your pouch from working well. Skin Irritation around my Stoma.

The skin around your stoma should look similar to the skin on the rest of your body. Immediately after you take off the adhesive, it may be a little pink, but if this doesn’t fade or if the skin is broken or damaged, your skin may be irritated.

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Pacaking and how to overcome it

Pancaking happens when there is a vacuum in the stoma bag and the bag sticks together. This stops the output from dropping to the bottom of the bag and can block the filter. There is then a risk that the pouch will be pushed off the abdomen.

What can you do to prevent pancaking?

Blowing air into the pouch before putting it on will help stop a vacuum from occurring. In addition, a drop of oil or lubricant in the pouch will help the output to get to the bottom of the bag.

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