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What Are Pouch Liners?
Pouch liners are used to collect ostomy output without soiling the inside of a standard ostomy pouch.
The idea is to save money from having to replace expensive two-piece pouches, since liners are a fraction of the cost to replace.
How Pouch Liners Are Usually Sold
Liners come in boxes of 100-300 units per box, depending on the brand. Most suppliers who carry pouch liners will offer two sizes to accommodate both large (57mm and larger) and smaller (up to 57mm) flange sizes.
I’ve seen at least two brands of pouch liners available in North America. Colomajic is a popular brand, but the Attiva liners from Ostomy Essentials are nearly half the price (CDN$0.29 vs. CDN$0.16 / liner). Colomajic does advertise that their products are 100% biodegradable, so that could play a factor.
The cost per box ranges from CDN$29 – $45 depending on the quantity per box, and they should be covered by insurance (my insurance company, Green Shield Canada covers them). As you can see, they are significantly cheaper than two-piece pouches, and can potentially save you a lot of money.
Purchase on Amazon
How to Use Pouch Liners
Pouch liners are used in two-piece appliances, but it doesn’t matter if the pouch is close-ended or drainable.
Note: Some liners require that you poke pinholes into special areas to allow gas to escape from your pouch, but some brands have holes included.
Using a liner is pretty easy in theory, but I find that they are awkward, especially if you’ve got to change one while your stoma is active! The idea is to place a single liner into your pouch so that enough of the liner sticks out when you snap your bag onto the wafer (see photo).
Once your pouch reaches the point where it needs to be emptied (don’t wait until it’s FULL!), you remove your entire pouch, remove the liner, flush that liner down a toilet, put a new liner into your pouch and re-apply the pouch to your wafer. There are a lot of steps, and things can get a little messy if you’ve got an ileostomy, although colostomates shouldn’t find it nearly as difficult.
Ideally, this processes should be quick, but practice is definitely needed to become a pro.
Tips When Using Pouch Liners
- While several manufacturers give you the impression that these liners biodegrade easily, I found during my research of the materials used that there are specific conditions that need to be met in order for the material to break down and biodegrade. I don’t believe those same conditions are found in your plumbing or your local municipality water treatment plant, so keep that in mind if you’ve got a toilet that tends to clog often!
- I found that dropping a full liner in a toilet while in mid-flush gets it to go down easier.
- All the manufacturers I’ve seen offer free samples, which I highly recommend trying before you commit to a box of 300!
- Keep a spare pouch with you in case the liner leaks. This isn’t as important if you have a drainable pouch, but I’d highly recommend carrying a spare if you use close-ended pouches.
Are Pouch Liners Vegan-Friendly?
I don’t have information about liners, and have been trying to get more details on their ingredients. The biodegradable liners from Colomajic use BASF’s EcoVio polymers which include PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) and (Polylactic acid), which can be obtained through non-animal sources, however, I have not been able to confirm this.
I will add any confirmed products to my list of vegan/non-vegan ostomy product list as information comes in.