I love wearing my ostomy bag sideways, but some people may find it difficult to adjust to, especially when it comes to emptying their appliance.
There are plenty of advantages to wearing your appliance sideways, but there’s always been a nagging issue with some bags.
Depending on how you empty your bag (sitting, kneeling, squatting, etc.), it may be really awkward to empty a bag when the outlet isn’t facing straight down.
Some 2-piece bags, like the Coloplast Sensura Click or the Sensura Mio Click can freely rotate before being locked into place, but other products like Hollister New Image systems cannot be rotated easily.
One of my readers had reminded me of a trick that I had only read about but had never tried: lubricating the flange.
I decided to give this a shot and found that it works very well! Not only can I rotate my Hollister 2pc, but I can do so with very few problems.
Note: I do all of this while my wafer is already on my skin. The entire process takes less than 20 seconds.
1. Have the following handy: Your 2-pc bag, oil of choice (I use sewing machine oil as the bottle has a fine tip, like THIS one), toilet paper/gauze to clean off excess oil.
2. Carefully put one drop of oil at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock position in the flange of your bag.
3. Hold the bag vertically and allow the oil to drip down to the bottom.
4. Wipe off any excess oil.
5. Attach the bag to the wafer in the vertical position.
6. Gently rotate the bag while holding the wafer securely. It will get easier the more the bag spins. I usually spin it 360 degrees to make sure it’s adequately lubricated.
That’s it! Now you should be able to rotate your bag freely without worrying about it being fixed to one position.
So, what’s the catch?
While this trick has been reliable for me, it doesn’t come without risks.
- The bag can come off.
- Oil can stain your clothing.
- You may have leaks between the bag and wafer coupling.
If done properly and using the right amount of lubrication, this should not be an issue, but if you put too much oil or the oil comes in contact with the wrong parts of the flange then there’s a risk that it may cause the flange to lose its seal.
It’s also crucial to make sure that your bag is always being well supported. If you lubricate your appliance with the intention of wearing it sideways, make sure you’re wearing a support band.
And when it comes time to empty your bag, make sure you are supporting the weight of that bag so it’s not tugging too much.
If your bag is too full, then I would suggest not rotating it at all (regardless of whether you’ve lubricated the flange or not).
What about using lotion?
You may be able to skip the oil and rub lotion on your flange instead (do it on the wafer side).
The reason I use oil and not lotion is because I like to get the oil right inside the channel of the flange, which is difficult to do with lotion.
I also find that machine oil doesn’t dry up or get sticky, which may happen with body or hand lotion.
Can you use any oil?
I use sewing machine oil because the bottle has a really nice spout, but you can use just about any type of oil: mineral oil, coconut oil, olive oil, baby oil (which is usually mineral oil), etc.
Keep in mind that some oils may be too “runny”, so try a small amount to start (one drop should be enough).
Burp your bag? Use caution!
If you tend to “burp” your appliance to relieve ballooning then I would recommend you to do this with caution.
Every time you open your flange to burp your bag you increase the chance of your flange becoming lubricated in the parts that are supposed to keep it in place.
And while I really haven’t had any issues in the months of doing this, it is something to note as a potential problem.
If you wear your bag horizontally and find that emptying your bag is an awkward affair then give this trick a try.
It can help to improve your quality of life, but be aware of the risks before dripping that oil on!