How to Prevent Ostomy Pancaking

Man with ostomy sitting on couch on computer

Ostomy pancaking is when stool overflows from the stoma. It leaves a thick, pancake-like mass of stool at the top of the bag. This can be unexpected and unpleasant, but there are a few things you can do to help prevent this from happening.

What Is Ostomy Pancaking?

Stool output collects at the top of the bag under the wafer barrier instead of going into the pouch. The stool becomes too thick, backs up and can’t slide down the bag causing it to have nowhere to go but outside the bag. Don’t confuse this with leaking. A leak occurs when there is a crease in the belly or there was a user application error and the output somehow finds a way out.

Ostomy pancaking can potentially block the filter, and the bag also can be forced off the body. This happens most frequently with ileostomies and colostomies because the stool tends to be thicker than urine.

Tips on How to Prevent Ostomy Pancaking

Cheryl Hutton, a wound, ostomy and continence nurse (WOC nurse) with CHC Solutions, Inc., shared some tips on how we can try to avoid ostomy pancaking.

  • “Check your diet’s fiber content. You may want to increase your intake of fiber pending your doctor’s approval.
  • Also, increase your intake of fluids. Make sure you are drinking lots of water and lower your caffeine intake.
  • Another way is to use lubricating deodorant. You squirt the deodorant inside the bag to allow the stool to slide down easier.”

Visit the United Ostomy Association of America, Inc. page at to learn more about common ostomy problems and concerns and how you can resolve them. For more information on ostomy support, visit

*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.