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Taming Ileostomy discharge
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Taming Ileostomy discharge

My mother recently had an ileostomy.  Her incision is very close to her stoma so we have to trim the adhesive tape and the seal isn't always good.  When changing her bag, her stoma leaks continuously.  How can we stop the leaking while we change the bag?  We've tried giving her marshmallows, but they don't seem to work well - also it takes a while to get from the mouth to the stoma.
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My mother had lots of problems with her ileostomy last year until after it was reversed.  We had lots of trouble with the seal leaking and I had to change the bag for her sometimes multiple times in the same day.  We never figured out how to slow down the flow - sometimes we hit it lucky and sometimes she kept squirting out stool and it took us forever to get the new bag on.  One nurse suggested pressing a tampon on top of the stoma, and that seemed to help some.  Mother would hold the tampon while I got everything ready; then she'd move it off and I would try to hurry and smack the new bag on.  Sometimes we'd have to go through 2 or 3 tampons before we were able to finish.

Evidently, everything with an ileostomy is just trial and error for quite awhile.  Mother's stoma was in the fold of her skin, just around from her belly button.  We mostly used one-piece bags, but we had to go back to the two-piece ones with the separate wafer for a short time.  One time I was changing it and got the new wafer on but couldn't get the bag attached before more fluid from her stoma made a mess - so I had to start all over.  After that day, I went back to the one-piece bags and that was a lot easier.

What finally seemed to be working for us was a convex bag plus a ring called Eakin seals.  We had been using a different ring and getting by, but then we starting having more problems again and I decided to try one of the Eakin seals.  To our surprise, these worked better than anything we had used.  The texture of the Eakin seals was different than the other one we'd been using.  

The way we did it, I would remove the old bag and clean her; she would then hold the tampon on her stoma.  I took the Eakin seal, rolled it between my hands to be long like a snake, then put the seal around the hole on the bag.  Then I warmed the whole thing with a hairdryer for several seconds.  Then she would pull the tampon away and hopefully the stoma would remain quiet for a couple of seconds while I positioned and began to stick the bag.  If the stoma wasn't quiet, I would have to put the bag aside, clean her again, re-warm the bag, and try again.  Once I applied the bag, I pressed down firmly all around it; then we put something hot on top of the bag and waited about 10-15 minutes before she got up (we used one of those rice-bag heating pad things).

The ostomy nurse told us to try changing her bag early in the morning before breakfast because her stoma should be less active then.  The one time we were able to try that (because she hadn't had a leak for a couple of days), her stoma was very active and it took forever to change the bag.  So we gave up and decided to just wait until she leaked.

After we started the Eakin seals - which was about a month before her reversal - we had much better luck and she could wear her bag for several days without a leak.  Then we were finally able to work out a schedule and change it on our terms instead of because of a leak.  Her best time seemed to be in the late afternoon/early evening, before supper.  So I guess each person just has to find what time is best for them.

I am just so glad the Eakin seals worked so well for us.  Her skin around the stoma had stayed red from all the leaks and once got pretty raw; we got it to heal somewhat, but then we were having problems again and her skin was getting worse.  The Eakin seals allowed her skin to heal, and I think every bit of the redness was gone by the time she had her reversal.

I hope our story helps someone.  We had no idea what these bags were like or how many people had problems with them until she went through this last year.
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