Open or Closed? Seeking advice on managing colostomy bags.

Past Member
Jan 28, 2022 3:55 pm

I'm new to the colostomy bag world. I am doing pretty darn well managing my open-ended Hollister two-piece bag. I empty it usually three times a day. I could go down to two times, I suppose, but don't want the weight on my still healing guts, even though my output is pretty low because I'm not a big eater.

I wonder about closed pouches. I'd be allowed two per day. So what is a person's schedule with two bags? After breakfast output, change to a new bag and wear that until the next morning? That seems like a long time.

Seeking people's personal use and preference! Thank you.

Jan 28, 2022 4:24 pm

I wear a drainable pouch but was told by my wound nurse that I could go to a closed pouch if I wanted to. My issue, for me, with closed pouches is that I would always have to carry a pouch with me in case I had enough output to warrant the need to change the bag. My work and my hobbies don't always have me close to a trash container so being able to dispose of a bag isn't as easy for me. Having the drainable allows me to empty just about anywhere without much issue. And, like you, I could get 60/month but there are days I need more than 2. Plus, do I want multiple piles of poop in my trash can waiting for trash day to come once a week? Right now, I have 2 small trash bags that have dirty ostomy bags per week going to the trash. If you figure 2 bags/day going in your trash that gets picked up once a week, I'd have 14 or more trash bags of poop in my trash. Just some things to consider as I have. Have a good day.

Gray Logo for MeetAnOstoMate

Why Join MeetAnOstoMate?

First off, this is a pretty cool site with 34,000 members who truly understand you.

It's not all about ostomy. We talk about everything.

Many come here for advice or to give advice, others have found good friends, and some have even found love. Most importantly, people here are honest and genuinely care.

🛑 Privacy is very important - we have many features that are only visible to members, ensuring a safe and secure environment for you to share and connect.

Create an account and you will be amazed by the warmth of this community.

Past Member
Jan 28, 2022 4:32 pm

Hi :) I use a 2-piece Coloplast pouch. I don't have insurance, so I pay the full price. So cost is something I need to consider. I like that I can empty, rinse, deodorize, and go wherever I am.

Past Member
Jan 28, 2022 6:21 pm
Reply to AlexT

Alex, thank you so much for your thoughts and experience. They are all helpful to me. My main thoughts center on "Two bags a day? That could be really inadequate and quite gross." Kinda matches what you shared. I don't go anywhere or do anything, as I am just three weeks out from surgery, am immunosuppressed due to multiple autoimmune disorders, and there's a pandemic. So I always am able to conveniently empty my bag. I'd also be able to conveniently dispose of a closed pouch... but two bags of crap into the trash can every day? I'd feel very compelled to take those bags to the outdoor can, no matter the weather or my mobility that day. So many adjustments, on top of the usual post-surgery anxiety and depression (I've had 7 surgeries in the past 1.5 years, the way I feel is very familiar).

Thank you for your help!

I am Angela

Past Member
Jan 28, 2022 6:28 pm

Hi Sally and thank you for sharing. I'm sorry you do not have insurance helping you. I'd have thought that in Canada you would be covered. Obviously I am wrong.

It is handy to be able to empty and know you are heading out with an empty pouch. I have received conflicting opinions on the rinsing of the pouch, though. I've had two stoma nurses say "Rinse away!" and two others say "Never rinse! It can cause leaks at your flange connection." I guess I could call Hollister with this question and get another confusing opinion. I get the Adapt bag additive that makes contents empty easier and make contents smell like a weird vegetable garden.

I hope the sun shines on you today in Ontario (I lived in Kingston at one time)

I am Angela

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Jan 28, 2022 6:30 pm
Reply to Anonymous

7 surgeries in 1.5 years, you're stronger than me. I hope it all turns out okay for you. I rinse sometimes if I get heavy pancaking. However, I have noticed that if I rinse quite a few times throughout the 4 days or so I go between changing bags, that my skin right around my stoma will be irritated. I'm guessing that's from the water diluting the output and a very small amount gets under my barrier ring. &zwj

Newbie Dana
Jan 31, 2022 9:58 pm

I went through the same calculations and thought processes as you did, and came to the opposite conclusion. Isn't life wonderful - we are all different, and that's great!

Here's how I decided finally on the sealed mini pouches: 1) I am short. I used to be 5'2", but over the years I have shrunk and am now barely 5'. A re-sealable 9" pouch hangs halfway down my thigh, and swings back and forth against my thigh when partially full. I can't stand it! The sealed 7" mini pouches hang comfortably to the point I don't even notice them anymore. That alone was almost enough to decide in favor of the sealed pouches by itself.

2) I have rather solid-ish output. When I empty the re-sealable pouch into the toilet, it splashes me, the toilet seat, and sometimes the floor and/or rug next to the toilet, almost every time! Ugh! No, thanks.

3) Every time I used the re-sealable pouches, I could never quite get the closure clean. Every time I closed it back up there were bits of waste stuck to it that I could swear I could smell when I left the bathroom. Again, no thanks.

Instead, I remove the pouch, clean myself off with moist wipes, and snap on a new pouch. Old pouch into the disposal bag, disposal bag into the trash. Every few days, trash out to the trash can. I use the mildly scented bathroom can liners, which keeps down the odors in the bathroom.

Perfect? No, but neither is anything in this world! Cons: The disposed bags are in the trash for a few days, but a lidded trash can and the scented trash bags really keep the odor down. Also, I definitely use more than just 2 per day. You just can't argue with Medicare (well, you can, but it doesn't get you anywhere!). So I buy extra boxes on eBay as I need them. Price varies depending on when you look - I have paid anywhere from 50 to 100 per box of 60, so there is a cost issue. However, in my mind the convenience and the wearability so outweigh that, I am happy to "pay the man" as they say.

I strongly suggest that you contact Hollister or whoever makes the supplies you use, and ask for some samples of different kinds of pouches, re-sealable, closed, regular and mini, and see how they work for you. Hollister, Coloplast, all the big manufacturers are more than happy to send you all kinds of samples. That's how I finally decided on mine.

What it all boils down to in the end is whatever actually works well for you is what works well for you, in spite of anybody else's experience. And we all have different factors we weigh differently in making our decisions.

Good luck!

Feb 02, 2022 3:52 pm
Reply to AlexT

I have a 2-piece. I drain it 2 to 3 times a day and change it about every 2 to 3 days. I do carry extra when traveling. So for me, it's a lot more convenient that way. I have to watch what and how much I eat. If I consume soup, salads, or a lot of fluid, that's what I get rid of. It's a learning process, sadly a necessary nuisance. I've had mine for 6 years and still hate it, but there wasn't a choice as my colon had completely deteriorated. I understand your frustration.

Past Member
Feb 02, 2022 11:47 pm
Reply to Newbie Dana

Thank you for your detailed response!

Many of the points you raise match me 100%. I am 5' tall and slight. The Hollister bag does hang and swing, etc. Under certain pants, it appears that this tiny woman has grown a rocket in her pocket. This makes finding the right clothing impossible. (Highly recommend LLBean high waist!)

As for the disposal of the bags, my dear husband suggested he put a can in the driveway, directly below a window on the main floor 1/2 level above. He would pad the bottom of the barrel and I could drop the bag out the window. Bombs Away! Luckily we don't have any nearby neighbors lol

I have gotten tricks to keeping the closure and its Velcro clean as a whistle and have a fairly loose output so have no bombs away events.

I have received about 10 mini pouches as samples from Hollister and I'm going to give them a try. Emptying my mess is just too much on top of a lot of other self-care tasks I have due to autoimmune conditions. The Rheumatoid Arthritis in my hands presents a constant challenge. Valuable info that I can get extra bags from eBay. I do have a secondary insurance and will call them to see if they'd cover extra bags bought from the supplier I use.

Thank you!

I am very new to this (Colostomy 1/3/22) and appreciate everyone's help

Past Member
Feb 02, 2022 11:49 pm
Reply to AlexT

AlexT, we all become as strong as we need to be. Thank you for your support!

I did call Hollister about rinsing the bag and got a resounding NO, unless you like leaks. Another visiting stoma nurse gave me a big no. So the no's are ahead.
I had some pancaking the other day, so I emptied the bag in the toilet, then removed it, cleaned up my stoma and flange, rinsed the bag in the utility sink, and snapped it back on. Not something I'd want to tackle often.

Feb 03, 2022 5:48 am
Reply to Anonymous

I was at the ostomy/wound nurse Tuesday and I forgot to ask about rinsing and using soap around the stoma. My memory needs a lot of work.

Past Member
Feb 08, 2022 2:50 pm
Reply to AlexT

AlexT, you'll have other opportunities to ask. Write down your questions and pin them to your forehead.

Here, my hatred of emptying continues. I will be trying out throwaway bags but have to go through my supply of emptying ones before insurance catches up with me. And I'll need to buy extras off Amazon since Medicare will only pay for two. My rheumatologist wants me to file an appeal with Medicare for one more bag a day, given that I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands and am using all those hands have on this care. She will write up an attachment for the appeal. Who knows, it might work. It is true and hard.

Because of this new colostomy situation and my multiple autoimmune disorders, it seems that I spend the majority of my time each day on self-care. Not that there's much else to do during a bleak winter and pandemic. But the bag emptying is a challenge. I have a good OCD system where everything is lined up and ready to enter the scene as needed. First, I gotta do the squeeze pop thing into the potty. Squeeze the stuff that is trapped in the exit door of the Hollister bag. That can be a really gross experience no matter how careful one is. Then clean up the inside and outside of the exit because I don't wanna see stuff stuck there. Put in the lubricating deodorizing stuff, squish it around. Then wash, wash, wash hands and clean and tidy the remnants left behind from the emptying. It's exhausting. I'm very particular about the cleanliness of my environment and myself.

Just complaining, that's all. Today I'm going to try pouring a bit of water in below the flange so I don't screw up my seal. That low rinse could make emptying and cleaning the exit a bit more tolerable. Or I could end up with a splash heard round the world.