One of the most recognized products in the ostomy world are Eakin Cohesive Seals.  The brand is so well-known that an entire category of products, barrier rings, are often referred to simply as “Eakin rings”, much like how we often use the name “Xerox” to mean photocopy.  I’ve being buying Eakin Cohesive Seals for over a year, and it’s time for a review!

Video
https://youtu.be/KCdQcIC9Gkk
About the Product
The Eakin Cohesive Seals are manufactured by TG Eakin Ltd., a family owned and operated company based out of Northern Ireland.  Eakin has been making Cohesive Seals since 1980, and they’ve been a product I’ve used to help heal my skin and prevent leaks. The seals come in several shapes and sizes, but I’ve used the Small Cohesive Seals and the Slim Cohesive Seals over the last little while.

Cohesive Seals are like sticky plasticine rings, perhaps a bit stiffer than that, but they are intended to help prevent leaks for all types of ostomies (ileostomy, colostomy and urostomy). They are free of animal ingredients and are quite gentle on the skin.

Eakin Ring

Eakin Ring

Both the Small Cohesive and Slims are 48mm in diameter, but the Slims are… slimmer (approx. 4.2 mm vs. 3mm).  One nice thing about this product is that you can cut, mold and shape these however you like.  Because of this, I find that buying the thicker rings works best for me, because I can use an entire ring or split it up and use half the amount (essentially turning it into Slims).

Eakin ring thickness

This is the “Small” Eakin Ring, which is thicker than the “Slims”.

The Small and Slim Cohesive Seals are sold in boxes of 20 or 10 sealed packets (although you get 30 in Europe), and there is a larger, 98mm version called Large Cohesive Seals, which are ideal for urostomates, and that one is packaged in boxes of 10.

Eakin rings box

Eakin rings box

Eakin rings package

Eakin rings package

How I Use These Rings

There are two ways to apply these rings: directly onto your skin before applying your wafer or onto your wafer before sticking it to your skin.  When I started using these rings, I found that applying them to my skin worked well, but I ran into a few appliance changes where my stoma would be a little wet (as stomas tend to be) and if the Cohesive seal would touch it, it would no longer stick properly to my skin.  Now, I’ll stick the seals to my already-cut wafer before applying the wafer to my skin.  This has been the most reliable way, but it’s a matter of preference.

Eakin ring around stoma

You can apply these rings directly to your skin around your stoma.

Eakin Ring on wafer

Or you can apply it directly to your wafer.

The seals are meant to last the entire time you wear your appliance, which for me has been between 3-5 days (mostly 3).  Cohesive Seals have a tendency to breakdown with prolonged exposure to moisture, including sweat, which causes them to “melt”.  This hasn’t happened often to me, but it is something that does happen under the right circumstances; these seals have lasted longer than other products I’ve used.

Do They Work?
For the most part, Eakin Cohesive Seals have worked to help heal the skin around my stoma and prevent leaks.  I do, however, find that the results can sometimes be inconsistent, which is common for barrier rings, at least in my experience.  For instance, I might see very little erosion after 4 days of wear on one appliance change, and very heavy erosion after 3 days of wear on another.  I’ve had a few leaks while wearing these seals (which were contained under my wafer), although I can’t say that the seals have been to blame every single time, I’m more inclined to point the finger at overnight pouch ballooning instead.

I’ve also notice that when I use a full thick seal (Small Cohesive Seal), it can sometimes create more pressure on the skin around the stoma, similar to what a convex wafer does, and that causes my appliance to stick out a bit and it makes things slightly uncomfortable; the Slim seals do non’t do this.

One thing I don’t like about this product (and other barrier rings, for that matter), is that it leaves a very sticky residue on my fingers when I’m molding it during an appliance change. This can make things a challenge when applying a wafer, although a certain level of stickiness is expected in order to adhere to your skin and create a good seal.

Worse than having sticky fingers, though, is how difficult these are to remove off my skin.  I use adhesive remover wipes, but it’s a challenge to remove the seal and it’s residue during an appliance change.  The reason I find this particularly frustrating is because shaving around my stoma is impossible if that residue isn’t removed completely off my skin.

Conclusion
At the time of this writing (March 2015), a box of 20 Small Cohesive Rings (p/n 839002) cost around CDN$120, and a 10 pack of Slims (p/n 839005) are approx. CDN$60.  As stated before, these come packaged in boxes of 30 in Europe. ConvaTec is the main distributor of Eakin products in Canada and the United States, so any retail store that stocks ConvaTec ostomy supplies should have Eakin products too. These are covered by my insurance company (Green Shield Canada), and should be covered through most other insurance providers.  Eakin does offer free samples internationally through their site HERE.

Pros
  • Helps prevent leaks and protects the skin around the stoma.
  • Manufactured by a family owned and operated company.
  • Can help to save money if your leaks forced you to change your appliance often (also see con re: cost).
  • Can be molded to fit around any size or shape of stoma.
  • Available internationally.
  • No animal ingredients.
  • Gentle on the skin.
  • Individually sealed.
Cons
  • Inconsistent results (for me).
  • Can sometimes “melt” during sweating and high temperatures (i.e summer).
  • Leaves a residue on skin that requires an extra effort to remove.
  • Can add a significant cost to your appliance change if you aren’t trying to prevent leaks (also see pro).
Recommended

There’s no doubt that Cohesive Seals can be a huge asset for any ostomate who’s experiencing leaks or soreness around their stoma (caused by leaks).  They’ve helped my skin tremendously, and I know of many ostomates who’ve experienced the same benefit. Despite some of the annoyances that are common with this type of product, Cohesive Seals can improve the quality of life for any ostomate who’s experiencing skin or appliance problems.

For more information, please visit: http://www.eakincohesiveseals.com/

Question: Have you used Eakin Cohesive Seals? How have they worked for you?