In the past, I’ve discussed regular and high-capacity ostomy bags, but I never went into detail about the smallest bag of them all: stoma caps!
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Stoma caps are the smallest ostomy bags you can find.
Realistically, stoma caps can’t really be considered “bags”, since they have nearly no extra capacity to hold stool. But at the same time, they are used just like a traditional ostomy bag.
Stoma caps are available through most major manufacturers, and I’ve taken a look to see if they’re called anything else and it seems that “stoma cap” is standard across all brands.
This is good because I’ve often found that appliances being referred to as “midi” and “maxi” or large” and “medium” tend to be unhelpful when each brand uses different capacities for their appliances.
In fact, many of the features you’ll find on a larger bag can be found on stoma caps. Features like filters, mechanical couplings with a lock, clear and transparent options, and adhesive coupling systems are all options depending on the brand!
Many of the stoma caps you’ll find are pre-cut, although cut-to-fit options are available. Pre-cut products are ideal when you have a stoma that does not change size and has been consistent for a while.
One other thing that should be noted, as it’s common across the board and you can see it in the photo above, is that stoma caps tend to have an absorbent liner inside of them. That’s to help absorb moisture that’s naturally produced by the stoma.
When Would You Use a Stoma Cap?
Stoma caps can come in really handy when discretion is a priority.
Some examples include:
- When swimming.
- During intimacy.
- At the gym.
- During a fitness or modeling competition.
Of course, many people wear stoma caps to enjoy everyday activities as well!
You might also find stoma caps used to cover a relatively inactive mucus fistula, although special fistula appliances with larger capacities also tend to be used.
How to Use a Stoma Cap
Stoma caps go on just like a regular appliance would, so there’s no steep learning curve to these.
Here are some basic steps on how to apply a stoma cap:
Step 1: After gathering your supplies, clean the area around your stoma and shave the area if needed.
Step 2: Prepare your stoma cap. If you are using a cut-to-fit product, you’ll want to cut the hole to the appropriate size. The cap in the photo below is pre-cut.
Step 3: Remove the plastic liner from the back of the stoma cap. Note: Some stoma caps, like the one below, have a large release liner and two smaller tabs that need to be removed. Many will have just one release liner. Be sure to remove them all when ready.
Step 4: Apply the stoma cap to your skin, making sure there are no wrinkles as you stick it on. I like to start from the bottom, but it’s totally up to you.
Step 5: Check for any wrinkles are areas that have not stuck 100% and push them down.
Step 6: For better adhesion to the skin, it’s recommended that you apply gentle pressure to the appliance for about a minute or so. I use my hand because heat also helps the adhesive to stick better.
Step 7: You’re done! With practice, you’ll get it on much better than I did in the photo below (my first time, and only for this demo).
Because nearly all stoma caps are “closed’, meaning they have no drain to empty output from, you’ll either be removing and replacing it entirely if you’re using a one-piece, or you’ll be replacing the cap portion in the case of a two-piece system.
Removing the stoma cap is as easy as removing any other appliance. I like to use adhesive remover when I take my wafer off, but that’s optional.
And if you have a filter on your stoma cap? Then you’ll want to follow the same rules when using filter stickers.
The Ideal Ostomate for a Stoma Cap
Here’s the bad news: Stoma caps can’t be used by every ostomate.
Obviously, because of the small size and the fact that these are not drainable means that only an ostomate who has an inactive stoma can benefit from wearing a stoma cap.
This often means colostomates who irrigate or even people with a continent ostomy may be able to put stoma caps to good use, while ileostomates and colostomates who do not irrigate will have to stick with regular appliances.
Is a Stoma Cap Right for You?
After reading this article, I hope you’ll be able to answer this question for yourself.
As a general rule, if you have an ileostomy or unpredictable colostomy then you should avoid stoma caps as they won’t offer enough capacity to be worn without trouble.
If you irrigate your colostomy and have fairly infrequent and predictable bowel movements, then a stoma cap may be an option for you (either for short-term use or daily wear).
Where Can I Get Them?
Nearly every major brand make stoma caps, so your regular ostomy supplier should have these in stock.
They can also be purchased on Amazon and other online retailers who sell ostomy supplies.
But before you run out and buy them, I recommend requesting free samples! You can check out which manufacturers give out free samples on THIS page.