How to Help Control Colostomy Gas and a Noisy Stoma
For many ostomates, the potential of colostomy gas can be a source of anxiety. While there is no way to control the release of colostomy gas completely, there are a variety of ways to improve the odor and lessen the noise. Very Well Health has provided some tips on how to reduce gas and odor from a colostomy:
Check the Fit of the Colostomy Pouch
If a colostomy pouch is not sealed around the stoma properly, it can leak air, odor and even feces. A well-fitted pouch only should smell during pouch changes. Beyond just stoma odor, an improper fit can cause damage to the stoma itself and to the surrounding skin.
To ensure a properly fitting colostomy pouch, an ostomate must first measure and size the stoma. To size the stoma, ostomates will need a stoma measuring guide, a skin barrier/wafer and gauze and a pair of scissors made for cutting ostomy barriers. Access to a pen and mirror are also helpful when sizing the stoma.
The opening of the pouch should be measured or cut no more than 1/8 larger than the stoma itself.
For a step-by-step guide on sizing the stoma, consult with a healthcare professional.
Choosing Different Pouching Systems
There are two different types of ostomy pouches: one-piece and two-piece. Consult with a WOC nurse about the pros and cons of each in regard to your specific situation.
For more information on pouching systems or to learn where an ostomate can get free samples, contact the United Ostomy Association of America at 1-800-826-0826 or wocn.org.
If It Doesn’t Fit, Don’t Patch It
After applying a pouch, don’t patch up leaks or poorly fitted areas with pastes or tape. Pouches should fit properly without additional materials. If a pouch does not fit properly, you may need a different system.
A WOC nurse can help with this process by looking at an individual’s skin and body contours to determine what pouches will best fit the ostomate’s body.
Pouch deodorants (deodorants made specifically for ostomates) are a simple way to reduce the smell of colostomy gas. When added directly in the pouch, these deodorants will quickly reduce any odors. Pouch deodorants come in both liquid and gel forms.
Think About Diet
The same foods that caused gas before an ostomy surgery will continue to produce gas now. To cut down on noisy emissions, try limiting intake of the following gas-producing foods and beverages:
- Carbonated beverages
- Beer and other alcoholic seltzers
- Dairy products
- Spicy or fried, greasy foods
Additionally, some foods may help decrease the natural odor of gas and feces. When thinking about diet, consider adding the following:
- Herbs like parsley, peppermint and sage
- Fermented dairy products such as yogurt, buttermilk and kombucha
To reduce gas formation in the gut, be mindful when eating and drinking. Activities where someone may swallow excess air, such as chewing gum and drinking through straws, can contribute to gas formation in the gut. To avoid this, take smaller bites and try not to eat while talking.
For more information, go to Very Well Health.
*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.