According to Coloplast, ostomy ballooning occurs when there is a gradual build-up and accumulation of gas (flatulence) in colostomy or ileostomy bags. This gas passes through the stoma and fills the bag gradually just like inflating a balloon. The bag eventually fills up until it looks like a balloon attached to the abdomen.
This air accumulates and needs to be let out through the filter of the disposable ostomy bag or at the folded base of the drainable bags. If it is not, the pressure build-up may make a person’s abdomen ache slightly and cause discomfort. It also can cause clothing to bulge.
Causes of Ostomy Ballooning
Wound, ostomy and continence (WOC) nurse with CHC Solutions, Inc., Cheryl Hutton, includes common causes of ostomy ballooning:
- Swallowing excessive air
- Chewing tobacco
- Chewing gum
- Eating rapidly
- Not chewing properly and swallowing large pieces of food
- Eating gas-producing foods such as beans, cabbage and broccoli
- Drinking carbonated beverages
It is important to request a filtered pouch for your ostomy care to help release the gas. Also, it can be helpful to avoid gas-producing foods for about 24 hours before attending an event.
If you encounter ostomy ballooning, make sure your pouch is properly sealed afterward.
Patients should talk with their doctor if they continue to have issues with ostomy ballooning.
Finally, to learn more, visit our ostomy blogs page here.
*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.