What a lot of people don’t know about ostomies is that they are actually very annoying to try to maintain. Like all things in life that are frustrating to deal with, sometimes taking care of my stoma is that absolute last thing that I want to do. Especially when I’m having a really busy day or having a hard time at work or something like that, my stoma hygiene is usually the first thing to fall off since I just really don’t feel like dealing with it. Well, the bad news is that stoma care is super important when it comes down to it.
Keeping your stoma clean is one of the single most important things that you can do as far as avoiding any sort of complications with your stoma and all that. People with ostomies will know that taking care of a stoma is frustrating work sometimes, but it is much better than the alternative of having to deal with a stoma that has been neglected and now needs some immediate attention at the hospital.
Personally, I have had a stoma for a long period of time, so I know all the ins and outs of how to best care for one and what to do in any given situation. One thing to keep in mind is that everyone’s stoma is a little bit different; however, cleaning the stoma should be relatively consistent across the board. If you have been having trouble keeping your stoma clean, then you have come to the right place my friend.
The best advice that I can give as far as keeping your stoma clean is that you need to be consistent. Like I mentioned earlier, a neglected stoma will leave you in a world of hurt as you move forward in your life. That’s why I highly recommend making some sort of stoma cleaning schedule and sticking to a routine if you can. One thing that could be beneficial is planning to clean out your stoma everytime you change your ostomy pouch.
Since you are going to have access to your stoma anyways, it makes sense to use this time to clean your stoma out. In addition to all this, it is super critical that you are using the right type of materials when cleaning your stoma. You may be surprised to hear that you actually don’t need some fancy stoma products or bath and body works products to clean out your stoma effectively. Actually, most soaps and other cleaning products will actually hurt your stoma more than they help it. My advice to you is to stick with some basic, clean water straight from your sink (if you have clean water at your place). Otherwise, using bottled distilled water is a good option and it is really cheap at most grocery stores or any other place where you can buy water.
Once you have cleaned out your stoma thoroughly with water, the next important step is to dry it off. In order to dry your stoma, the best advice I can give is to use a very soft rag or towel that is also clean. When you are drying your stoma, be very careful of the tissue and avoid rubbing the towel against the skin barrier and the stoma. Rather, it is best to lightly pat the towel onto the stoma to dry it off.