Why is there space at the top of ostomy bags?

Jun 06, 2021 12:46 am

Hi gang,

Another one of those things that makes me go huh? My Hollister bags (2-piece) have the top of the hole (that attaches to the barrier) about an inch down from the top edge of the bag. Why do they do this? Why don't they put the hole right at the top of the bag? Are they expecting us to do handstands when the kids are around? When would your output ever occupy the space above the stoma? The reason it bugs me is because that part of the bag is easily detected under my t-shirt. Yeah, I could tape the damn thing down.......but I like to know why things are done the way they are. Just wondering if I'm missing something.........hey, no smart remarks!!! I did a quick search online and except for the Nu-Hope bags........which have the hole at the very top of the bag, not an inch down.....they were the only ones I saw. Just curious, and it's a nice Spring Saturday night out on the deck under the stars..........perfect conditions for asking ostomy questions.......or something like that. Let me know what you think?



Jun 06, 2021 1:22 am


So I put my EZ vent in that space. Seems to help it not clog the vent as much over putting it lower.

Cplumber. #justsaying

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Past Member
Jun 06, 2021 1:33 am

Occasionally if I have oinked out on hot chips or any form of spuds or carbs of an evening, I will wake up during the night with thick output around the top of the filter (I always cover my filter with tape - I have an ileo), so have to smoosh it down to the bottom of the bag. Very rarely happens during the day, so you could be right, perhaps it's just a horizontal thang!

Never gonna stop eating the humble potato, I just know what to expect when I have indulged in my favourite food.

Naturally enough if your output is always liquid this would be less likely to happen.

Wet and windy early winter morning down here in the southeast of Oz, also perfect weather for pondering!

Ciao Roberto

Jun 06, 2021 1:50 am

I'm with you, Bob. I have a urostomy and I've tried all pouch brands, and Hollister works the best for me, but their design could be improved big time. I no longer buy light-colored shirts because you can sometimes see the dark band I wear to keep my pouch against me through the shirt. That extra inch above always sticks out and shows through my shirts before any other part of the pouch, and the material they use is like the material they use for packaging Doritos, way too loud! There must be another material out there that's quieter. For the price we pay per pouch, it shouldn't make a damn sound or stick out in any way! Seriously, why don't the research and developers just ask anyone with an ostomy what works and what doesn't before producing something that is subpar yet super expensive. Makes me shake my head. Would love to send all of the developers into the real world with a bag of Doritos under their shirt on a date or to a party and have everyone ask after they hug them, "Hey, do you have a bag of chips under your shirt?!?!" See how THEY like it! There's my vent for the day! Lol

Uro2011 Rod

Jun 06, 2021 2:14 am

Rod.......I used to use those crinkly bags because I liked to be able to see what comes out. But when they switched from the semi-transparent, non-crinkly bag to the fully transparent crinkler.....I decided to switch to the flesh-colored bag......which is much softer and super quiet. At first, I didn't like not being able to see through the bag, but then thought about how folks would react if they ever saw the clear bag when out and about. I'm now a flesh-colored bag user for life (or as long as I stick with Hollister). You might want to give them consideration.......after a week or two, you won't miss the transparent aspect.

Oh.......if you do stick with the crinkler bag........maybe you SHOULD keep a small bag of Dorito's under your shirt on the other side. That way after a while, all your friends and relatives won't ask about the noise! And.......you'll have an instant snack when you're out late and get the munchies!!

Hmmmmm.......maybe I can use an old Dorito's bag as a bag cover.............Rod...........you're brilliant!!!



How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Jun 06, 2021 4:03 am

I actually have the opaque urostomy bags, but I don't find them quiet. When new out of the box, they crinkle. After 3 days, they are quieter, but I can still hear it if my arm rubs up against it. Maybe the urostomy bags are different? But if I ever get out on a date with a non-ostomate, I might have to pack a bag of chips as a diversion! Lol nbsp


Past Member
Jun 06, 2021 4:18 am


So glad to have you back. I think you and Rod could come up with some good ideas. Lol

Seriously, these are good thoughts to pass on to the ostomy manufacturers. I really like Rod's suggestions - let them wear their products and see how happy they are with them out in the real world. Keep up the good thoughts, guys.    ..mountain.  

Jun 06, 2021 7:26 am

Hello Bob. 

This is an interesting question which deserves some consideration. ( apart from my usual cynical response that people who design these, and other,things, are rarely the people who have to use them).

One of the possible reasons for the space at the top of the bag might be that if the hole was right at the top, then the outer layer would be forced nearer the stoma and would not allow the output to flow so easily, which in turn would lead to more pancaking. I say this because one of my own adaptations to the baseplate and bagging 'system' is to use a removable 90degree wastebend so that the output flows away from the stoma and downwards into the bag/sleeve. This undoubtedly would not suit most people, but it serves its purpose both when I am irrigating and in the hours afterwards when there is likely to be a forceful erruption of output which the  smaller bags would never cope with. 

Interestingly, Coloplast keep reminding me that they now have a team of people/technicians who are available to talk about such issues for those who are so inclined. 

Best wishes


Jun 06, 2021 3:12 pm

Hi Bill,

I did consider the 'pancaking' thing... and I'm guessing that might be part of the reason for the hole placement. Or at least there's some consideration for that issue. I hear ya about designers not typically using what they design, but in this case I'll go easy on them. I'm sure they're trying to please all with a single design, which is never easy or optimal for most... but they have to do what they're told. I always hesitate to engage the manufacturers with my comments as I'm in a real small category of users of their products... and I'd hate to steer a product in my direction that doesn't benefit the majority.

I always wonder what those folks do with the suggestions they get... do they really pass them on to the design team... or is their job just to present a facade of caring for the customer's sake... with what's suggested just going right into the round file when they hang up the phone. Would love to talk to an employee of one of the bigger ostomy product manufacturers... the insight would be priceless.



Past Member
Jun 06, 2021 10:57 pm

I wonder if the hole placement has to do with the physics of what happens when the bag fills.. Maybe having it closer to the top puts too much pressure on the seal or the top seam when it's very full, making it more prone to leaking? (I'm just guessing based on the engineering education I've gotten entirely from Fox Trot and Calvin and Hobbes comics.)

Jun 07, 2021 12:58 pm

Hey Bob, you bring up a good point and I think the extra space allows for pancaking which is a bad thing. That extra space at the top could be for air also when the gas starts flowing.


Jun 07, 2021 2:20 pm

I would just ask the question to the various manufacturers. My opinion of space on top of the pouch is that it gives breathing room. If the hole was on the very top, I have sights of more blowouts.

Jun 14, 2021 11:45 pm

I wear an Ostomy Secrets wrap to support and better hide my bag under clothing. I also wear a Nu Hope support belt as I have a hernia at my stoma that doctors won't operate on for various reasons.

The Nu Hope is fitted to the Hollister bag/barrier and work together. The wrap goes over everything. Knock on my wooden head, this combo has worked pretty well for the last few years.

Jun 16, 2021 9:40 pm

Hi Bob.

Not wearing an outside pouch (I have a Koch pouch inside my body), I was thinking it's there to release gas.
Does this make sense? Back in the 60s, I had an outside appliance. The bags were made of heavy white rubber and were not disposable. Those bags had the extra space above the stoma and had no gas release at the top. So there must be a reason why there is extra space at the top of the bag.
I do remember having gas in the top of the bag, which caused the bag to be visible. Gas takes up space.

Jun 17, 2021 3:28 am

Hi D,

Yeah, I hear ya, but simply moving the hole to the very top of the bag doesn't change the bag's volume... so the same amount of gas would fill the bag in either case... but the answer might be as simple as keeping the filter of the bag away from output.   Now not all bags have a filter, but why make a second mold for a bag without a filter?   The filter wouldn't work real well if it was right where the output impacts the bag.   Just a hunch... but could certainly be wrong.   Myself, I'd prefer a slightly wider bag, but not a horizontal one, maybe a bit shorter in length... so it would hide better under my dress shirts that I wear untucked.   Seems no one size would be optimal for all... which is why there are many to choose from.   We may never know why they put the hole where they put it... but it's fun to try to guess.