A Mini Guide to Ostomy Supplies: Gelling Products (w/ video)

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Video

What Are Gelling Products?

Gelling products offer a novel way of minimizing some of the problems that go along with having liquid or loose stools.  They are designed to gel the contents of an ostomy pouch without the need for any dietary changes to be made by the ostomate.

How Gelling Products Are Usually Sold

You can find gelling products in a multitude of types: tablets, capsules, sachets and powders.  Each have their own strengths, but they all do the same thing; I generally prefer sachets, as they are the easiest to travel with.

When you buy tablets, capsules or sachets, you often get 100 or more in a package; powders will come in a container.

The price for gelling products can range between CDN$16 a bottle (140 tablets) to nearly $80 for 100 sachets.  The good news is that most insurance companies will cover gelling products.

Purchase on Amazon

You can purchase gelling products on Amazon (affiliate links): USA | CANADA

How to Use Gelling Products

You add gelling products directing into your pouch each time you empty it. Most manufacturers will suggest adding one tablet, sachet or capsule at a time, but if you feel that they aren’t doing a good enough job, you are free to add more.

I’ve found that most gelling products will work very quickly to solidify your output, usually less than 10 minutes. I’ve got a cool video demonstrating how this works using the ConvaTec Diamonds sachets:

At the time of this writing (June 2017), I haven’t used loose powdered gelling agents, but I can only assume that they will solidify output the fastest of all the types.

Tips When Using Gelling Products

  • It is not recommended to use gelling products if you have a urostomy.
  • Keep these products away from moisture! If you store your supplies in your bathroom, make sure they are either in a sealed container or airtight Ziploc bag.
  • Get samples before settling on one brand or type of gelling agent; some work better than others.
  • Using a gelling product can make wearing your pouch horizontally (like with a Stealth Belt) more manageable and comfortable.
  • The ConvaTec Diamonds and Trio Pearls sachets will include a mini Ziploc bag that keeps the sachet free from moisture and makes it easy to travel with.

Are Gelling Products Vegan-Friendly?

Most gelling products are free of animal ingredients, but capsules tend to be made using gelatine, so it’s best to avoid those.

I have a list of products that are vegan/non-vegan, including gelling agents, on THIS page.

Additional Resources

If you’re having trouble dealing with liquid or loose ostomy output, you might want to check out the tips on THIS page.

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Eric
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Eric

Hey, Eric

I was interested in the ingredients of these sachets because they are quite expensive and I didnt want to wait for my insurance to approve it (pre-authorizations are annoying). And I remembered I used to have a magic trick as a kid that used this super absorbent powder which looks just like this. Indeed it looks to be the same. I found Convatec’s patent for their product, and it appears that it primarily contains sodium polyacrylate (the stuff that does the absorbing), zeolite (odor absorbing powder), and activated charcoal, which I believe is the stuff that makes it black.

Here’s a link to the patent: https://patents.google.com/patent/US20140330229A1/en

You can buy literally pounds of each ingredient on ebay for dirt cheap, like 1lb for around $15. All you really need is the sodium polyacrylate, but mixing with zeolite would help with odor. If anyone needs to use a lot of this stuff and their insurance doesn’t pay for enough of them (or at all) I’d say you could go this route. Its all non-toxic stuff. I believe the patent page even lists the ratios for the ingredients. Each brand might have slightly different formulations in terms of odor control but I’d bet the primary ingredient in all of them is the sodium polyacrylate. Of course, sachets are easier to carry, but this can be carried in a bottle /w scooper, which is how it’s also sold anyways for a huge markup.

Hope this was interesting or helps. I actually was going to ask YOU if you knew the ingredients but I guess I solved the mystery. None of the companies put the ingredients publicly on their site.

edit: For anyone wondering, Convatec’s patent says: “The water soluble sachet comprises 2 g of sodium polyacrylate and 250 mg of zeolite” so that should be useful. Interesting to note is that they also mention a pouch with one of these sachets already attached inside it, but they dont seem to have ever put it into production. They also mention a better odor absorption ingredient called CW90 Zn made from zinc salts, which does not cause the black color like charcoal does. It’s unclear why they still use charcoal though..perhaps due to cost. (edit: it wasn’t as effective as charcoal in testing)

Also, just in case you want to pull a prank on your fellow ostomate, add some salt to their pouch beforehand. It will reverse the reaction and make it liquid again. (Just kidding dont do this)

Sincerely,
Eric in Parkland, FL

Darlene Martin
Member
Darlene Martin

I have been leaking for 8 months and spoke with several ostomy nurses and nobody ever told me about this gelang product