Stoma guards are often exclusively worn to protect someone from injuring their stoma.
But some products, like the Stoma Protector, offer more benefits than just that.
In this review, I’ll be looking at the Stoma Protector, which was sent to me as a sample by the makers of this product.
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About the Stoma Protector
The Stoma Protector is a unique style of stoma guard that offers added benefits over a traditional hard guard.
Unlike many stoma guards, which tend to come in one piece and use an elastic waistband, the Stoma Protector has three components that can be used in combination:
- The cover. This is the hard shell that protects your stoma. It has two Velcro strips on the back (left and right side) that help it stick to the baseplate of the Stoma Protector (not your appliance baseplate).
- The baseplate. The baseplate is firm, but not solid. It has a fabric backside (the part that touches your skin) and Velcro loops on the other side.
- The keyhole plate. The keyhole plate is used to prevent pancaking but offers no protection from impact to the stoma. Like the cover, the keyhole plate also has Velcro hook strips on the back.
It should be noted that while the Stoma Protector does not come with a waistband, it still needs to be supported either by a support band (ostomy wrap) or underwear. I’ll discuss more in the next section.
There are a few key areas where the Stoma Protector claims to help ostomates in:
- Stoma Protection. This probably why most people would use this product.
- Leak Protection. Because of how baseplate of the Stoma Protector works, it applies gentle pressure on your appliances wafers. This should help to prevent leaks.
- Helps to prevent pancaking. A unique feature of the Stoma Protector is its ability to prevent pancaking using the keyhole plate or cover. It does this by diverting output towards the bottom of the bag using its unique shape.
The Stoma Protector comes in various sizes to accommodate different flange sizes; you are also given a choice between one made for a 1pc or 2pc appliance configuration. The one that I’ve used is made for a 2-piece system since that’s what I tend to wear.
Using the Stoma Protector
It took me a few tries to understand how the Stoma Protector works because it comes in several different parts, but it became easy once I got the hang of it.
The idea is that your ostomy bag will be sandwiched between either the cover and baseplate or the keyhole plate and baseplate. In addition, you’ll use a support band to keep things in place, or your underwear if it goes high enough.
Both the cover and keyhole plate attach to the baseplate using Velcro, and they are fairly secure once they’re attached. You can easily remove them if you need to, although you don’t have to unless you’re changing it or your appliance.
- With your ostomy appliance on your skin, feed the bottom of the ostomy bag into the hole of the Stoma Protector baseplate.
- With the baseplate against your skin and your appliance flat on the baseplate, you’ll place either the cover or keyhole plate over the baseplate ensuring that the Velcro hooks and loops touch each other. It’s important not to get your bag in between the Velcro pieces, so you’ll need to move that just a touch out-of-the-way if it is.
- Put your support band over the Stoma Protector to keep it in place. If you’re wearing underwear that goes pretty high up, you may be able to put that over the Stoma Protector.
This is enough to keep things secure for most activities.
Cleaning the Stoma Protector is pretty straightforward. The plastic cover and keyhole plate can be hand washed in warm, soapy water and patted dry (or left to dry overnight). The baseplate can be washed the same way, but it’ll need more time to dry since it’s made of fabric.
My Experience with the Stoma Protector
I’ve worn quite a few stoma guards before, so I knew what to look for when using this one (more or less!).
This product does offer good stoma protection from both day to day activities (wearing a seat belt or bumping against a counter), but also from harder impacts like moving furniture.
I like the fact that because the baseplate fits firmly around the flange at the base of my bag, it doesn’t shift around when moving. This is important to note because if you plan to use this for sports or activities that require a lot of movement, you’ll want it to stay put!
In terms of pancaking, this can be hard to test since I’m not always encountering a problem with pancaking, but I do have pretty thick output.
My experience in this area has been mixed. Sometimes, it seems like it is helping to prevent pancaking, while other times it seems to put more pressure on and around my stoma as output builds up.
With the cover on, I do feel that pressure, and because of how the Stoma Protector fits you can’t simply lift up the guard to give your output more space (like you can with other guards). This is less of a problem when using the keyhole plate, but it’s still far from perfect.
As you can see in the photos below, one of the benefits of using either the cover or keyhole plate is that it seems to protect the filter from getting output on it. This could make a difference to someone who also has problems with ballooning.
Leak prevention can also be tricky to measure for a review like this, especially if you aren’t having consistent leaks.
I can see how the Stoma Protector may be able to help reduce leaks since it does apply some pressure on the wafer. But, at the same time, I don’t feel as if it was applying consistent pressure to make enough of a difference for me.
Part of the trouble I have with the Stoma Protector is that the way it sits on my abdomen lends itself to being uneven, regardless of the band I use.
Over several weeks of using the Stoma Protector, I’ve used it with four different bands:
- OstomySecrets Classic Wrap, which has an inner pocket and is not too tight around my abdomen.
- Awestomy! wrap, which also has an inner pocket, but is also tighter.
- OstomyCares wrap, which has a small inner pocket and is the tightest wrap I own.
- A regular maternity band, which has no inner pocket and is comfortably tight around my abdomen.
The first three wraps all offer a different experience with the Stoma Protector. I find that tighter wraps support this product better, but they can also pinch the bottom half of the bag, restricting output flow.
The maternity band is useless if you decide to wear it over your clothes because the bottom of the bag shows.
I reached out to the people at Stoma Protector to see what they usually recommend, and they said the Confizz 7″ waistband with silicone strips work well. Unfortunately, those bands aren’t available in Canada, so I have no idea how much better they work.
I do not have underwear that are tall enough to go over the entire appliance, but I also don’t like the feeling of my bag under my underwear so this wouldn’t be an option I’d personally go for.
I have worn the Stoma Protector under my pants, and it works reasonably well, although the pants need to be rather loose/baggy to properly accommodate pouch expansion.
Another concern I have, which is common with many hard stoma guards, is that it sticks out when using the cover.
Because the cover protrudes, it’s more difficult to conceal your appliance while wearing the Stoma Protector. It’s a little better when using only the keyhole plate, but most people who are looking for protection wouldn’t be using only the keyhole plate.
Part of the problem is that because wraps can’t get tight enough to offer more support and be comfortable at the same time while allowing proper flow, the Stoma Protector doesn’t stay flat enough on my appliance.
This contrasts with other guards, which have adjustable belts that can tighten the guard independently.
That’s not to say that the Stoma Protector can’t stay flat, it just doesn’t on the more rounded areas near my stoma. I think that had it laid flatter, the profile wouldn’t be as noticeable.
I think it’s really important to note that this has less to do with the product and more to do with the shape of my abdomen and the wraps I’m using. Having seen videos offered by the company, I know that the Stoma Protector can be worn without the protrusion I experienced.
Compared to other guards, the Stoma Protector is neither the biggest or smallest, but it’s definitely on a bigger end of things. To me, this makes it more ideal for sports, rather than everyday wear (although, it’s still comfortable enough to wear all day).
Ideally, an accessory should work seamlessly with your daily appliance routine, including emptying your ostomy bag.
One of the challenges I’ve had is that I’m unable to properly empty my bag with the cover on. I have to remove it, set it somewhere (not easy if you’re in a public washroom), and then put it back on when I’m finished.
It’s not as necessary to remove the keyhole plate when emptying your bag, but I honestly felt that if you tugged on your bag just a little too much that the keyhole plate would come off and fall into the toilet. It’s never happened, but because there’s a chance that it could, I also remove it when emptying my bag.
This made things a little frustrating since I’m used to simply lifting up a stoma guard or moving to the side if I need to empty my bag.
For some people who empty their appliance infrequently, this won’t much of a bother, but for people who empty 7+ times a day ( like I do), this can get annoying.
At the time of this writing (April 2017), the Stoma Protector sells for 69 euros, which is approx. CDN$97 or US$73, plus shipping. This is in the medium price range for a stoma guard, but keep in mind that you’ll still need a wrap to go over it.
Insurance coverage will vary, but in my experience stoma guards aren’t covered.
The Stoma Protector does come with a 45-day money back guarantee, which is quite generous and gives anyone an incentive to try this first.
Overall, I would say that using the StomaProtector has some benefits at the expense of a few key areas.
As a stoma guard, it does a great job at protecting from impact, but some ostomates may find that it’s too large or sticks out too depending on the wrap they wear.
While I can’t say this will help to prevent leaks, it’s a nice benefit if you wear this product for its other uses. On its own, I would not wear it for leak prevention due to the size.
And as an anti-pancaking device, using the keyhole plate provided me with the most benefit, but I wouldn’t use the StomaProtector only for pancaking since other methods work better without the need for the extra bulk.