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How to Measure Your Stoma: Ostomy Tips  

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VeganOstomy
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January 24, 2017 11:00 am  

Have any tips to share on how to measure your stoma?

My full, written article can be found by clicking on the link below.

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Geylen
 Geylen
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July 8, 2017 12:48 pm  

I'm a new ostomate, temporary ileostomy for cancer, post surgery a little over two weeks. I have been constantly reading and researching what's out there that might streamline the process, but it's still a frustrating learning curve, as what works one time might not work another. It has to get better! I'm having reaction to bag adhesive and have skin breakdown at the stoma site, so your information has been MOST helpful! Love the videos and I appreciate that you are freely sharing your experiences, as it lets me know that people live well with this and there's a lot out there to try.Thanks!


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VeganOstomy
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July 8, 2017 3:41 pm  

Thank you, Geylen!

The beginning is always the hardest, but it will get better and you will find a system that works perfectly for you.

Take care!

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Kaleb
 Kaleb
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October 5, 2017 11:00 am  

Has anyone made a stoma measuring guide that you can clean? A box of ten bags comes with (paper) measuring guide, which of course gets dirty as soon as you use it once. I would GLADLY pay $5-$10 for a plastic one which I could re-use.


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VeganOstomy
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October 5, 2017 11:22 am  

Yeah, the paper ones are trash.

B. Braun has plastic measuring guides that they give when you purchase their appliances (I think you have to call them first), but if your stoma doesn't change size too often, you can use the plastic release liner from the back of your wafer as a template.

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Brian
 Brian
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January 27, 2018 1:43 pm  

Just a comment on the adhesive. Be careful of Holister brand because they use pectin in their adhesive so anyone allergic to apples, peaches, plums, ect. might react to their products. My skin blistered under the water and took some effort to heal.


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VeganOstomy
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January 27, 2018 2:47 pm  

That's an interesting observation. Many ostomy products contain pectin, but that is a valid point.

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Jamie baker
 Jamie baker
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February 4, 2018 12:14 pm  

I am a new colostomy patient. I swallowed a toothpick (Yup that's right) and caused infection. I am fortunate mine is temporary. I habe had it a month now. I just recently started experiencing under my stoma a raw, burning feeling that itches and hurts. Any advice? Maybe my wafer is cut too big? Thanks!


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VeganOstomy
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February 4, 2018 12:22 pm  

Hi Jamie,

Toothpick? Ouch!

New stomas tend to change in size a lot in the first month or so, and it's possible that the wafer needs to be cut a different size every time you change your appliance.

A few suggestions:
- Don't wait too long to change your appliance until you have better results. I was changing once every day or two in the beginning.
- consider using a barrier ring, which can help to heal the skin around your stoma: https://www.veganostomy.ca/healing-skin-around-the-stoma/
- Try other wafer brands until you find something that works best for you. Even when you're doing everything right, the appliance itself may not be ideal.

Best of luck to you!

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Geylen
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February 4, 2018 6:22 pm  

I found the Convatec  Natura sur-fit moldable flange to be ideal; I didn't have to cut the stoma opening every time. It was pretty forgiving, too, and I could mold it back if I made the opening a little too big on it.  A real life-saver for me.

I so much appreciate your openness with your experiences; it has helped me tremendously.


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Jess Thomson
 Jess Thomson
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February 25, 2018 2:32 pm  

HI: I Found this blog the best yet maybe because I could relate to it. I have a urostomy and use Hollister bags, when first having my bladder removed over 4 years ago I talked with a guy who had both, he suggested each time I opened my box of 10 to cut them all to the required size of course leaving the transparent backing on, I also put the tape on, this means when my bag needs changing every 2nd day I only have to remove the backing and tape. As a box only contains 10 bags my stoma size does not change during this time. Originally it took me an hour to cut all the bags now I am down to 45 minutes..
Not sure if this is a help to anyone else with different ostomies.
Regards Jess


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VeganOstomy
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February 25, 2018 8:58 pm  

Thanks, Jess. I find that my stoma changes too often for me to cut my wafers in advance, but I know many people who do that and have no trouble with it. Take care!

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Tod Thompson
 Tod Thompson
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September 26, 2018 6:28 am  

Any tips on measuring a stoma that is not round? Mine is oval, about 40mm wide and 25mm in height?


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VeganOstomy
(@veganostomy)
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September 26, 2018 11:55 am  

Hi Tod.

Instructions on how to measure for stomas that are not round tend to be up in the air. Most of the time, you will need instructions from a stoma nurse who's there in the room and can do it for you the first time. I have heard of some people measuring half at a time (using the same paper measuring guides I show in this video, but folding the hole in half so it's a half-moon.

Another option would be to look at moldable wafers, which can be shaped to fit any shape stoma with relative ease.

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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john68
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September 26, 2018 1:15 pm  

Hi Folks, Was having a think about this problem, and what could be SAFELY put round the stoma to then trace an image. One item I have thought of is a "pipe cleaner" these are bendable covered in cotton and would hold shape. Am thinking that fed round the stoma and used to make the shape. this could then to traced on the wafer. These are sold now a days for craft work in packs. Have to say ALWAYS be careful what goes near the stoma.

ileostomy 31st August 1994 for Crohns


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VeganOstomy
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September 26, 2018 1:20 pm  

Hey John,

Ideally, once someone has a good trace of their stoma, they can reuse the plastic liner from the back of their appliance - assuming their stoma doesn't change size/shape very often. This would be the most ideal: get it right once, and repeat the hole after that. 

The pipe cleaner sounds like an interesting solution, although I don't know how practical it would be in actual use. I know there are researchers working on a way to 3d scan stomas and print a wafer that fits exactly how it's supposed to. Those are a long way off from hitting the market, but some people may be able to get into trials while they test the process. 

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Teresa
 Teresa
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April 12, 2019 12:13 pm  

What happens when you cut the hole to big..


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VeganOstomy
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April 12, 2019 3:44 pm  

If it's only cut very slightly too large, then it usually isn't a big problem because most wafers will puff up a bit and will fill up the gap. However, if the hole is too big, I would cut your losses and cut a new one. Using one with a hole too big may cause leaks, skin irritation, or both. I had been able to successfully use a few wafers that I had cut too large by combining them with a barrier ring - however, if you are paying for barrier rings, then this might be more costly than just using another wafer.

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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LK
 LK
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April 12, 2019 9:16 pm  

I suggested a while back to someone having trouble measuring a difficult stoma shape that they take a piece of paper, or even wax paper, or parchment paper. Trace on a circle from your wafer for size, with a ruler, run lines thru it to make uncut wedges. Then with a sharp scissors or knife cut thru the straight lines. Then you have what looks like a pie cut in wedges. Place the paper over your stoma and then fold back the wedges to the how ever close you want it to the edges of your skin and stoma. Do not make it too small, you can cause swelling and even bleeding. Check the fit with a mirror  and then carefully trace it onto another piece of paper, cut it try it onto your tummy, and then trace onto your wafer., if the fit is good, you can use the plastic as Eric said for a guide to measure again. I hope this works for you.

On healing the skin, it is always wise to check with your doctor to make sure whatever is going on does not need an antibiotic or a fungal cream. A fungus can be hard to clear up and needs a prescription. But if you caught a rash quickly from a leak, it will tingle mostly or burn. For myself, I have used the stoma powder, but I have also used some Penetin Baby diaper cream. However, I used  q-tips and ran it between my finger to tighten the cotton, and then used a tiny bit to place on the areas hurting and then the stoma powder on top of that, and then the wafer. The cream can be hard to remove so use sparingly, it stopped further moisture from burning my skin and the stoma powder also absorbed further moisture. I had a rash so bad one day week that I replaced my one piece bag up to three times a day. The rash was oozy of clear moisture and hurt badly. I could hardly move. So, I changed the pouch often for about two days and then was able to lessen it daily as it healed. I have sensitive skin and eczema, but doing it this way helped a lot.  I would also place a wet, but frozen cloth over the pouch after changing to cool the skin, protect the stoma with another cloth. I had been gardening and bent once too often and did not feel the rash taking place so this is what I got. It took a good week for the area to heal again, and not had a rash since thank Heaven. This is not what Eric or his site recommends. The experience was hit and miss. 

Linda


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