FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Which products will help prevent skin breakdown around the stoma?
Skin barriers — what we usually call the wafers that sit between the skin and the ostomy bag — can also refer to creams, pastes, and powders that protect the stoma area and help prevent skin breakdown around it. Skin barrier sprays and silicone-based wipes create a breathable protective film between the sensitive skin and any ostomy adhesives used for keeping the pouching system in place. Most silicone-based products can offer protection for up to 72 hours, which is also the recommended time interval for removing wafers, changing ostomy bags, and applying ostomy skin care products.
How should I clean the skin around the stoma?
You can gently clean the skin around the stoma with just warm water and a washcloth. There is no need to use gauze, gloves, or soap, but you must wash your hands well before and after caring for it. If you want to use soap, by all means, do so but go for a mild one, like an antimicrobial foaming skin cleanser or a non-allergenic cleansing spray that leaves the skin moisturized and nourished, such as THERA Antimicrobial Body Cleansing Spray. Avoid using baby wipes and other types of towelettes that are not specifically intended for cleaning peristomal skin and stay clear of alcohol and other harsh chemicals. Make sure the skin is perfectly dry before you put on a new skin barrier.
Why does the area around my stoma itch?
An itching sensation around the stoma is usually associated with a rash and caused by either fungal infections, allergic reactions, or an infection of the hair follicles. If the skin appears healthy, without redness, rashes, or breakdowns, it can be caused by leakage, heat, humidity, or excessive dryness. In this case, the recommended approach is to simply remove and replace the ostomy pouch, but infections and allergies take time to heal, which is why it is best to prevent them.
- Fungal infections tend to occur in dark and moist areas, so make sure your skin is always dry before connecting a skin barrier or an ostomy bag.
- Allergic reactions can occur the first time you use a product or they can develop after months or even years of usage. To confirm or rule out allergies, give up on using cleansing products for a while and see if there is an improvement. Also, consider changing the type of skin wafer or one-piece ostomy bag. Only use non-allergenic, non-sensitizing, latex-free products, like Esenta Sting Free Skin Barrier Wipes.
- If the area around the ostomy requires shaving, the itching can also indicate a hair follicle infection. Make sure you always remove the adhesive plate gently and consider switching the traditional razor for an electric shaver or scissors.
What is stoma dermatitis?
Stoma dermatitis presents itself as a red and sometimes wet area around the stoma. It is usually caused by a skin irritant that can be found in soaps and lotions but stomal leakage should not be ruled out. Always report skin redness and itchiness to your stoma care nurse or doctor — it is a prevalent, yet often overlooked condition.
How do you treat irritated skin around stoma?
How do you remove stoma paste from the skin?
First of all, make sure your hands are clean, and remember to always be gentle when caring for your peristomal skin. Stoma paste can usually be removed with just lukewarm water and a washcloth. If you find it difficult to gently remove the paste this way, consider using adhesive removers instead of rubbing harder. You can use either adhesive remover wipes or sting-free sprays, depending on which you find more convenient. As a rule of thumb, sprays are more effective and easier to use, whereas adhesive remover wipes may also help clean the skin.
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