What Are Pouch Covers?
Pouch covers go over an ostomy appliance and are a great way to conceal the contents of your bag and add a little style to your appliance at the same time.
They are commonly worn by ostomates who use clear bags, although they work with just about any appliance style.
- Pouch covers offer an easy way to hide the contents of your bag. This can be especially helpful if you like to wear your bag over your clothes.
- Because they come in many fabric options and patterns, you have unlimited options to choose from.
- They are cooler to wear compared to other products like ostomy wraps or support belts.
- Pouch covers don’t work well on all appliances, and some may fall off easily when wearing them on one-piece bags.
- Some pouch covers may not be easy to get off when you’ve got a full bag.
- They tend to make your bag more noticeable under clothing because of the extra bulk they often add.
- While some pouch covers can be tightened around the flange, none are meant to be worn during activities where you’re moving around a lot, as they may not stay on very well. With that said, I’ve worn pouch covers on roller coasters and never lost one!
The materials used in pouch covers can range from 100% cotton to fleece, and the thickness of each cover can also vary from brand to brand.
Pouch Cover Features
The most basic style of pouch covers are closed on the bottom with a simple opening on the back.
Some pouch covers offer an inspection window, just like some brands of ostomy bags do. This inspection window allows you to see the contents of your clear bag without having to remove the cover.
Pouch covers can also come with openings on the bottom, which allow your drainable ostomy bag to be emptied without needing to remove the cover first.
Note that some open bottom covers have fasteners, like Velcro or snaps to keep them closed. Some do not, so you either leave it dangling or you can roll them (or fold them) up.
The back of most covers are round and sewn in a way that keeps the size of the hole the same. These work well if you’ve sized them to your particular flange and have no plans to change the style or size of your appliance.
Some covers use elastic openings or strings, which can be adjusted and used with many sizes of appliances.
My preference is to use pouch covers with a modified opening on the back that’s not as secure as the other options, but it allows the bag to be slipped on and taken off quite a bit easier than the other styles.
How Pouch Covers are Typically Sold
The nice thing about pouch covers is that they can be purchased from a few places, from Etsy to Ebay to Amazon.
Many people make their own pouch covers, and there are quite a few ostomates who make them for others.
Some brands, such as Nu-Hope, carry their own pouch covers.
When purchasing a pouch cover, the most important things to look out for are:
- The size of the cover. You don’t want a pouch cover that’s too large for your bag, or it’ll look awkward. You also don’t want one that barely fits a full bag.
- Rear opening style. As I mentioned in the previous section, there are quite a few types of openings on the back of these covers. Each have their own benefits, but regardless of what you choose, go with something that fits your appliance properly (not too loose and not too tight around your flange).
- Materials used. If you plan to wear these covers outdoors in the summer, try to get one that’s made of thin fabric. If you want one specifically for absorbing moisture off of your bag (i.e. after a shower), you can find covers that do that, too!
- Drainable or not? I like the minimal look of closed bottom pouch covers, but it means that I have to remove them whenever I empty my bag. You may find it more convenient to get a pouch cover that has an open bottom, but be aware that this tends to add a slight amount of bulk to the cover.
Pouch covers range in price from about $8 to $30 each Most are in the $10 – 15 range, but these don’t tend to be covered by insurance. The good news is, these tend to last many years when you take care of them (I always recommend handwashing pouch covers and leaving them hanging to dry).
Purchase on Amazon
Other Places to Buy
You can find other places to buy pouch covers on my Ostomy Clothing Manufactures list.
How to Use a Pouch Cover
Video on How to Put on an Ostomy Pouch Cover
Putting on a pouch cover is pretty easy, and they all work in the same way.
- Feed your ostomy bag through the back opening of the pouch cover.
- Flatten the bag inside of the pouch cover by gently stretching it through the fabric. Pay particular attention to the bottom of your bag.
- Adjust the opening in the back of the pouch cover so that it fits comfortably around the base of your bag or flange. In appliances that have a “floating flange” (like Hollister New Image 2pc systems), I like to make sure that the pouch cover goes under the floating flange, as it secures it better that way.
If you need to remove the pouch cover, you can go in reverse.
Drainable pouch covers don’t have to be removed but exercise some caution not to get it soiled as you empty your bag. You may need to roll it up and hold it in place as you drain your appliance.
Tips When Using Pouch Covers
Here are some tips that I’ve learned over the past several years of wearing pouch covers.
- Transparent bags work better than cloth covered bags when using pouch covers. They slide in easier, and they bunch up less when inside.
- Depending on the style of pouch cover, you may find it difficult to remove when your bag gets full. For this reason, I either don’t wear pouch covers to bed, or I wear one that has a drainable bottom.
- Some stoma guards, like the StomaDome, can be worn under a pouch cover.
Alternatives to Using Pouch Covers
If your goal is to simply keep the contents of your bag concealed, there are a few alternatives to consider.
- Ostomy wraps.
- Ostomy support bands.
You can also find my reviews on several different pouch covers HERE.