When You’re in a Pinch, Here’s How to Find Ostomy Supplies

Finding ostomy supplies header

Imagine this: You head to the cottage for the weekend and bring along a spare ostomy appliance “just in case”.  That spare is needed soon after because of a leak and you’re left with nothing extra.

In an ideal world, you should be able to get by without needing to change your appliance again before heading home – but this isn’t an ideal world and your dog decided it was a great idea to jump up on your lap, tearing your “just in case” spare.

Many would say that you’re SOL at this point, but in this article, I’ll give you some ideas to try before you head home.

Medical Supply Stores

This will be the easiest place to get supplies, assuming they are open.  If it’s the weekend, chances are they will be closed, but it’ll still be worth searching for suppliers in your area to see if anyone’s open.

If you’re using an internet search, it may help to put the term “medical supply stores open on the weekend” or something similar to narrow down your results.

You should even be able to search on Google Maps to find suppliers in your current location.  A bonus when using Google Maps is that you’ll also get the store hours listed as well.

Durham Medical hours Google Maps - Copy
Google Maps will list store hours, which can help narrow down who’s open when you call.
Medical suppliers Google Maps - Copy
Finding a local medical supply store can be easy with the help of Google :)

Local Classified Ads

This is a great wildcard to keep handy since you may find that someone is either selling or giving away free supplies through websites like Kijiji or Craigslist.

Local classifieds for ostomy supplies
Remember to narrow down your search and use different keywords.

Tip: Don’t just search for “ostomy supplies” or “ostomy bags” when using these local listings. Some people might list these items under a brand name like “Coloplast” or “ConvaTec”, especially if they are selling supplies that belong to a family member and not products they’ve used themselves.


Some people suggest trying a local hospital to see if they’re able to spare a few bags.  This will likely NOT work unless you are a current patient, but there’s no harm in calling ahead.

Social Media

What a time to be alive! Social media can not only play a huge role in finding support after surgery, but it could also save the day when you run out of supplies!

If you are using Twitter or Facebook you might have luck by simply asking followers in your area for help.

Asking for help on Twitter
There’s no shame in asking for help on social media.

You may or may not be a part of a local online group (to the area you’re visiting), but finding one and asking for help may produce some results.

Heck, I’ve even seen people ask for help through Reddit! You’ve got nothing to lose but the help of thousands of people online! Give it a shot.

Local Groups

You may be fortunate enough to be staying in a city or town that hosts local ostomy support groups.

If you can find a local group, try to contact the person(s) who organize the group to see if they might be able to help you source out emergency supplies.

Canada: You can find local chapters on the Ostomy Canada website: https://www.ostomycanada.ca/support/canadian-chapters/

USA: The UOAA has a great lookup tool here: http://www.ostomy.org/Find_a_Support_Group.

UK: You can use the lookup page on the Colostomy Association site: http://www.colostomyassociation.org.uk/index.php?p=172&pp=161

Australia: You can find a list of support groups here: http://www.australianstoma.com.au/index.php/about-us/support-groups

Prevention is Best

It goes without saying that if you can prevent this situation from even coming up then you’ll be far better off.

Even when going on a “weekend trip”, there’s no harm in bringing more supplies than you think you’ll need, so double or triple the spare wafers and bags in your emergency kit and go have fun!

Question: Have you ever been stranded without supplies? What did you do?

24 thoughts on “When You’re in a Pinch, Here’s How to Find Ostomy Supplies”

  1. Hi Mary, Hoping you are feeling better today.
    I found VO, VeganOstomy, when I was searching the internet not long after my surgery to see what clothing might work for my new silhouette (“what to wear” was not my biggest issue, but this gave me something else to focus on). A stoma is quite an adjustment – the body and spirit have so much to adapt and get used to. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s do-able. VO, VeganOstomy, has been a great help, and I hope that you are enjoying the videos, product reviews, Eric’s story, and the great people on the forums. 
    I’ve learned a lot, through both VO and experience: to not eat big meals (though I certainly eat plenty during the day!), keep the number of products as simple as I can, take good care of the skin around the stoma, find a good, effective bathroom spray – and M9 drops. And that none of us are alone with this.
    Have heart and take care,

  2. Mary… I came here tonight to specifically check & see how you are doing & if you have any questions needing answers. 
    Mary we are here for you & want to help you adjust & figure things out. We all have ostomies of one sort or another & we want to help you! 
    Having a stoma does not always mean leaks or waking up with one. Right now you may feel all you do is empty your pouch but Once you figure out what works for you & what signs of possible leaks to look for & how to avoid them… believe me life will become so much more DO-able. 
    I was thinking this morning about the leaks I had in the first years of learning to live with my ostomy.  Had I known to look for support thru the internet just like you have… then things would have been much easier for me I’m sure!  Right now your guts are still learning to adjust as much as you are.  Give them time to settle down from pain & surgery. 
    The best thing I learned was to eat “smaller meals more often" so I didn’t feel hungry all the time and to NOT eat a few hours before bed.  I still eat my main meal between 3:30 & 5:00 p.m. & this way by bedtime, usually about 10 or 11 p.m. my guts have settled down & I can sleep knowing I won’t have a bad night.  If I’m hungry in the evening I snack on a few cheese & crackers & a few easy to digest foods/veggies or pickles, like olives verses dill pickles, foods didn’t cause gas &  I learned that my guts like. I kept track in a journal of everything I ate & how my guts reacted to them & how long it took foods to go into my pouch.  I learned all that and so much more here!! 
    You’ll figure these things out too Mary!!  I agree with all above, life is fun & so worth living!  Ask anything!!!  THERE IS NO  SHAME or JUDGEMENTS here! 


Leave a comment. (Your email will not be published)