Dealing With Ostomy Pouch Odors – OSTOMY TIPS (w/ video)

Dealing with ostomy pouch odors 2017 small

Bathroom odors can be an embarrassing challenge for anyone, but ostomates have a few advantages when it comes to odor control. In this post, I’ll be going over the most popular (and a few DIY) options of dealing with ostomy pouch odors.

Intro

Before I offer these tips, it’s important to remember that you should only notice odor from your ostomy pouch when emptying it or doing an appliance change; a sealed pouch should NOT smell.  

If you notice odors at any other time, it could indicate a leak, defective ostomy appliance, improperly cleaned pouch outlet or a non-functioning filter (if it’s clogged, it may leak out odor).

You should talk to your ostomy nurse if you are having any problems like that.


Video Tips

I’ve put together a short video below, but this article does have more info to consider.

Dealing With Ostomy Pouch Odor: Stoma Care tips
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Pouch Deodorants (both scented and unscented)

Perfect Choice ostomy deodorant sample bottle
You can often purchase small bottles, large bottles or deodorant sachets.

Note: This option may be covered by your insurance plan.

This is one of the most popular ways of controlling pouch odor, and it’s one of my preferred methods because it offers several advantages over the other options.

In-pouch deodorants are either liquids or gels that are poured into your ostomy pouch with each bag change and/or every time you empty your pouch.

Some of these deodorants, like the Coloplast Brava Lubricating Drops are lightly scented, while others like the Perfect Choice pouch deodorant are designed to kill odor-causing bacteria.

I’ve tested many and have success with most. They are often convenient to use and nobody around you will be affected by the bombardment of scents that often comes with using the next option: room deodorants.

Info: I’ve reviewed quite a few pouch deodorants HERE.


Room deodorants (both scented and unscented)

This is a popular option that is used in bathrooms, not only those occupied by ostomates. This is my least favorite option for the following reasons:

  • They usually bother me a lot: My eyes get itchy, my nose stings, I often get a headache and I cough when I’m around these products. I don’t think I’m the only person who experiences these “side-effects”, and I certainly don’t want anyone else who might be using the bathroom after me to be affected either.
  • Most don’t work. What’s worse than walking into a room that smells of crap? Walking into a room that smells of crap with a slightly “floral” chemical smell. Products that are designed to mask odors usually don’t mask them well.
  • They are inconvenient to use in public. If it’s an aerosol, people will hear you using it, and if it’s a liquid spray, it’s usually not going to be effective enough and you may find yourself spraying before and after you use the bathroom.
  • I question their safety when using it 5-10 times a day. If you’re exposing yourself to chemical scents, you’re probably not going to do your body any favors.  In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that some may be downright dangerous [SOURCE].

There are some products that aren’t meant to mask doors, but are designed to eliminate them from the air (this could just be a marketing gimmick), but I haven’t used anything like that. The closest I’ve used would be a product I received in the hospital during my ileostomy surgery. It’s called “Hex-On” by Coloplast, and it claims to not only remove odors, but it also leaves a “fresh linen” scent that, in all honesty, nauseated me.


Toilet Deodorants

Just a drop ExtraStrength30ml
Just one of the many brands of toilet deodorants.

Note: This option may be covered by your insurance plan.

This would include products like Poopourri and several other brands.

The idea behind these is to stop odor from coming up from your toilet water. I haven’t tried this solution (yet), but I have a hard time believing that it will effectively handle odors coming from gas or output as you empty your pouch – before it hits the toilet water.

Some people do find this option to be both effective and convenient, so there’s no harm in trying it before making it your long-term solution.


DIY Solutions

I frequent several forums and come across a lot of very creative solutions to dealing with pouch odor.

While some of these may work, I hesitate to recommend them as I don’t know if their “off-label” use is safe.

Remember, our stoma (especially with an ileostomy) has the potential to absorb nutrients, as well as chemicals. It’s also made of delicate tissue that isn’t adapted for exposure to certain chemicals found in these DIY solutions.

Here are a few that I’ve come across (use at your own risk!):

  • mouthwash used in pouch.
  • hydrogen peroxide used in pouch.
  • essential oil drops.
  • fabric softener(Please don’t!!!!!)
  • baking soda
  • putting mints like Tic Tac in your pouch

Chlorophyll tablets

Note: This option may be covered by your insurance plan.

While you can still find these on the market, it was shown in 1984(!) that these don’t offer any benefit over placebo when it comes to pouch smells. SOURCE


Devrom Tablets

Devrom tablets
Photo Credit: www.devrom.com

Note: This option may be covered by your insurance plan.

I mentioned Devrom in my article about pouch ballooning, and it should help with both gas and odor.  

You take it internally in either tablet or capsule form, and it goes to work. This product contains no animal ingredients.


Dietary Change

Onions
While healthy, onions can increase pouch odor.

This option requires some effort, as you’ll have to watch what you eat and eliminate things that might cause your output to come out smelling stronger than usual. Each food affects us differently, and you’ll have to experiment for yourself to determine what the offending foods are for you.

Foods that can cause odor

  • Asparagus
  • Baked Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cod liver oil
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Peanut butter
  • Some vitamins
  • Strong cheese

SOURCE I don’t eat fish or eggs (obviously), but from what I’ve read on forums, those are the worst offenders.

I do eat garlic, onions, broccoli and beans quite often as they are very nutritious foods and I’d rather not eliminate them from my diet, even if they did cause an odor (since you can still deal with odor in other ways).

Foods that might help reduce odor

  • Cranberry juice
  • Orange juice
  • Parsley
  • Tomato juice

SOURCE Many people eating plant-based diets will likely agree that our poop isn’t as offensive as our meat-eating friends.

You’ll read a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting this, but I’d love to know if there’s actually been a study done to confirm this (there is at least one study linking meat-eating to “less attractive” body-odor in men [SOURCE]).

Special consideration: Keep in mind that some medication or supplements (like probiotics) we take can also adversely affect how our output smells.  Dietary changes may not reduce odor if this is the case for you.


BONUS: What About Soiled Appliances?

Managing odor from what comes out of your bag is one topic, but we also need to watch out for odors coming from our used appliances as well.

Not everyone has the convenience of taking their soiled appliances outside to a trash bin, so here are some things to help contain odors until you can properly dispose of them.

  • Odor-proof bags. These can range from products made specifically for ostomates, like THIS product, or even bags used to pick up dog poop.
  • OstoSolutions seals. These work great when all you’re doing is swapping your two-piece bag.
  • A “Diaper Genie”. I know many ostomates who use these to dispose of their used appliances.
  • Scented “kitchen catcher” bags. These are what I use at home as these medium sized bags are really handy during appliance changes (see how I use them in THIS video).

I’ve experimented with ZipLock bags but find that they don’t contain odors very well.


Conclusion

As you can see, we have a lot of options to choose from, and you can even double-up on a few options at once. I prefer the in-pouch solutions as they don’t require any change to my diet, and they are often really convenient to use and effective.


Sources

Question: Which solution do you find works best for your situation?

45 thoughts on “Dealing With Ostomy Pouch Odors – OSTOMY TIPS (w/ video)”

  1. Such interesting remedies here! As a new ostomate 12 plus yrs ago I didn’t know about M9 or the Osto EZ Vents  until VO, I find it works fabulously.   For myself & foods I enjoy, lol, I needed more drops the suggested on bottle so I use about 18 drops mostly counting it out to kill odours & it works great.   If I’m not mistaking, I think it even neutralizes Gas odours to a  greater degree.  Anyone else find this?? 
    I believe because our guts have less time to process foods like thru a “normal length” intestinal system, that the time in our shorter gut is why output is more offensive. Plus its practically in our faces when we empty which really makes us aware of the smell. 
    Before M9 my son located a recipe on line using 3% grade Hydrogen Peroxide, (HP). I would use a plastic one gallon milk jug & add  1 1/2 bottles of HP, not the sauce, lol  & then about a 1/4 of Johnsons baby hair &  body  shampoo then a gallon of pre-  boiled water. I put shampo in last to avoid too many bubbles then diluted all by swishing around the jug then placed some in a refilable bottle. I used an old washed out bottle of expired stoma powder, use a funnel. Lol! Since I’ve been able to purchase M9 I get about a month from a bottle of M9  counting the drops into my pouch.
    I’ve been keeping some empty M9 bottles for this purpose as the price of  M9 keeps climbing I may well need jeed to go back to this process.  If I do I may add some of the diluted white vinegar as well if its COMPATIBLE to HP, or switch out the HP. Well see I guess,   but I’ll be sure  & keep you in the loop if I do. 
    Could some of you share what you  pay for a bottle of M9  & where you purchase it from. My price is creeping closer to 30 bucks a bottle thru a medical supply company that delivers to home, orders over I think  60$ …are free delivery.   This is still better then the  $52.00 dollars my pharmacist was charging me for 1 bottle the same product! Ugh!!!! Lol, I wanted to cry every time I paid for that liquid gold! 
    I’m widowed & in Canada on a very tight budget so any ideas are helpful. M9 is so handy & works so much better than anything I’ve tried. If your interested in viewing the sight I purchase my M9 & other needs  from, just say it,  I’d love to share. Thank you in advance .   
     

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  2. Peptol bsimol taken right after eating something that might cause odors or soon after or even before, will bind the odor molecules and neutralize them. I only use it at night right before bed so that I mthe morning. It won’t be as bad when changing pouch. The only other time I will use, is before going out or to family gatherings. That coupled with “Stop Odor Plus” (just a few drops in pouch- 8 does the trick) help to almost entirely eliminate most odor. I don’t worry about odor so much at home, but do like waking up and not having to deal with the smell from hell inmthe mornings.

    I but the generic bismuth liquid (I found the tablets don’t work as well) which is like almost 1/2 the price of peptic bismol and works just as well. If I eat things like,onions, or fish or something smelly, I will take some right away before eating.

    It doesn’t work on all odors, but on most I would say. You may need more than the recommended dose depending o. Strength of food odor, or,how muchmof,themfood,much of,, eat. I just take a,good swig right from bottle. It supposedly be ds with certain odors, and I can attest that it works pretty well. Not perfect, but it really cuts down the odor.

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