What is an Ostomy Support Garment?
Ostomy support garments, as the name implies, are a group of accessories designed to help support the weight of an ostomy appliance.
Support garments usually come in the form of a band or belt, although some unique styles have become available recently.
They will nearly always feature some kind of pocket that your ostomy pouch goes into, but are more structured compared to ostomy wraps.
- Support garments can offer great support of an ostomy appliance, even one that’s getting full.
- They can conceal your appliance, which is ideal if you wear clear pouches.
- Are available in horizontal, vertical, and even diagonal configurations.
- Can flatten the look of an appliance.
- Quite a few styles and options are available.
- Most allow easy access for emptying the appliance without needing to remove the support garment.
- Some support garments can be used with stoma guards for protection.
- Some styles work great during intimacy or sports.
- Most are designed to look like anything but a medical appliance.
- Can be expensive.
- Tight support garments may restrict the flow of output, cause pancaking, cause leaks, or increase the risk of a stoma blockage.
- Some support garments are designed to fit specific flange sizes, so they may not fit if you change the brand or size of your wafer.
- Most do not offer any protection from impact to the stoma.
How Ostomy Support Garments are Typically Sold
Many support garments are sold directly by the manufacturer and are often custom made.
I’ve seen several different styles, but I’ll highlight three of them below:
Horizontal Band style
These products are meant to be worn with your appliance in a horizontal position. You can read more about why I wear my appliance sideways in THIS article.
This is my favorite style of accessory and I’ve spoken about them many times!
Vertical band style
Vertical bands are great for people who want to keep their appliance in a natural position but want better support over an ostomy wrap.
Many vertical bands, like the Eh, OK Mates by Joe is, offer a bottom opening to make draining your appliance easy.
Belted pouch cover style
This style isn’t common, but it opens up to some unique products like the Ostomy Amigo.
Purchase on Amazon
Unfortunately, most of these styles of accessories can’t be purchased through Amazon, but I will post links if any become available.
How to Use an Ostomy Support Garment
Considering there are so many styles of support garments, it’s not possible to go through every method of putting them on.
However, most will feature a similar set of instructions:
- You start by placing the garment around your waist.
- Then you feed the bottom of your appliance into a hole in the back of the garment.
- After the pouch is secured, you will close up the garment using a zipper or flap. Some are closed garments, so this step may not be needed.
Below is a video on how I put on my StealthBelt:
And here’s how to put on the Ostomy Amigo:
When it’s time to empty your appliance, many support garments can be left on as they usually have an easy way to expose the pouch outlet.
Tips on Using Ostomy Support Garments
Support garments can be a great addition for any ostomate, but here are some tips I’ve learned along the way :
- Don’t order a support garment until you’re done healing and have chosen a long-term appliance. A change in your body size or appliance could mean that your support garment may not fit well.
- Use looser support garments if you have thick output as this will help to avoid complications like pancaking.
- Small stoma guards, like the Ostomy Resolutions guard, may work under a support garment.
- Support garments may be worn 24/7 if you’re comfortable doing so.
Alternatives to Ostomy Support Garments
Many ostomates who are looking for pouch support might find that ostomy wraps will do the trick.
If you aren’t too concerned about concealment and just want to have better support of your appliance, accessory belts may also be a helpful alternative.
They were also a part of my Secrets to Dressing With an Ostomy presentation.
You can also find my reviews on several different support garments HERE.