Tips for Changing Colostomy Bag with One Hand (Right-Handed)


I broke my right arm and need advice on changing my one-piece bag. I am right-handed. I've had a colostomy since 2017. Thank you for your help.


Hope you have a brave partner / friend ... you're going to need them!! All the best. Magoo

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Past Member

Sorry to hear you have broken your arm, Maureen. ((Hugs)) x

Just thinking, maybe could you manage better if, say, you were lying down while changing your stoma bag? At least it will stay in the right place while you are putting it on and pressing it into place. Other than that, a mention, as Mayoman has said.


With a colostomy, you should have some extra time while changing without the worry of having output. With that said, simply take your bag off using your left hand, clean the area, and let it dry. Apply your new bag and hold it in place. The only issues that may be more difficult with one arm is cutting your bag (if you don't have pre-cut) and lining up the new bag over your stoma. Not impossible, just gotta take it a little slower.


IMO, your two options are: 1) struggle for a long time and create a huge mess, or 2) have someone help. I don't think I'd be able to do it, especially with my non-dominant hand.

BTW - sorry to hear about your injury.

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Hello Maureen.

So sorry to hear about your broken dominant arm, which will inevitably make it more difficult to manage your colostomy.

This is a scenario that none of us would wish on any of our fellow ostmates as it is bad enough coping with the thing when everything is going alright.

However, it is something that we should put our minds towards, as it could happen to any one of us, at any time.

As Mayoman has said; a good partner or friend would be a great asset in this situation.

However, failing that, a caring professional might be an option. I would contact the stoma nurses to see if they might have any suggestions in your area and on your predicament.

Trying to ‘imagine’ what I might do in such circumstances, The first thing that springs to mind is irrigation. This at least might put the problem into a manageable time frame and you should have little or no output to cope with in between irrigations. It should also be more manageable for a ‘carer’,  both in terms of helping with the practical side and having reasonable intervals in between.

Recently, I have been wrestling with a problem I posed myself, which involves trying to get a 2 piece baseplate that will fit both an irrigation sleeve and  a ‘normal-bag’. After a few failures and discussions with Coloplast, I have found a combination which utilises a Coloplast 2 piece baseplate, 10522 60mm coupled with the sensura click 60mm 14896 bag (I think there will be other bags that would also fit, but this one suited my present needs): This baseplate also accommodates Coloplast irrigation sleeves 12836 (60mm)

It should be said that I make my own baseplates, upon which I would stick the Coloplast ones, which would make management of these things even easier. Hence, on my own baseplates  I might also try the Dansac irri-drain 950 (35mmhole) with hydrocolloid adhesive, and simply use the sleeve as a ‘bag by folding it up and pinning it as I do presently for overnight .

The 2 piece systems with matching bags and sleeves offer an opportunity to leave the baseplate on for lengthy periods (days/weeks) as necessary whilst still managing the output in a sensible way, whether irrigation is used or not!

These suggestions are only my own, initial, brief thoughts on a fascinating problem, which I do hope you manage to resolve quickly.

Best wishes



Sorry about your predicament, Maureen. I think about this from time to time - "what if?" I've never looked into it but is it possible that one of the ostomy companies has a system that's easier to take care of? Maybe people who've had a stroke, a broken arm or shoulder surgery and are limited? I don't have an answer so I'm not much help but I like the suggestions others have posted here. Wishing you a speedy recovery!


Find a handsome handy ostomate to help you. I think I have a picture of one.

Homie With A Stomie NS

Oh girl, sorry about the break. Please heal quickly.... As for changing, if you have access to in-home nursing services, friend, relative, or partner, utilize them...

Stay strong and carry on, sending hugs.


ron in mich

Hi Maureen sorry to hear about your injury, but this might be the time to look into hiring a home nurse for an hour everytime you do a change, that way you get peace of mind that its done correctly until you can manage on your own.

Past Member

I'm so sorry about this situation you're in! I tried to imagine myself in your place, and I have to say that I don't have anyone that would help me change my colostomy bag. So maybe a visiting nurse? I know I've had a visiting nurse come to my house several times after surgeries to help with my colostomy bag. Good luck, and I hope you heal quickly.


Sorry to hear of your mishap. What I would do in this situation is get a two-piece precut gasket and bag. I would use a stand-up mirror and stand in front of it. I also use Eakin Seals, so with one hand I place it around my stoma, then take off the plastic protector on the gasket and place the gasket on perfectly while looking in the mirror. I then remove the paper from the adhesive backing of the gasket and smooth all the adhesive so that it sticks well to my skin. Finally, I would place the pouch over the gasket and I make sure it is sealed tightly. Good luck! Mike


Hi Maureen, just following up to find out how you solved your one-handed bag change dilemma...


Hello again, Maureen.

Over the past few months, I have been writing rhymes for and on behalf of my wife who runs a 'stroke club' for those who manage to survive the first shock of having a stroke and are now looking to get back to some sort of 'normality.'

Your post reminded me that anyone with a stoma could find themselves in a similar position with regards to stoma management if they lose the use of one arm (among other losses).

Here is my attempt to capture such a concept in rhyme:

Best wishes,



To put this rhyme in some context,
imagine what in life comes next,
if we had a stoma and
a stroke, to take away one hand.

I have pondered the implications
of this unwelcome situation,
because, like many other folk,
I know I'm at risk of a stroke.

I've seen what strokes have done to folk,
and I must say it is no joke
to see how hard it is for them
coping with the stroke's mayhem.

Paralysis of leg and arm
is often not the only harm
a stroke inflicts on humankind,
for it can also hit the mind.

Some strokes cause dysphasia,
and some create amnesia,
which can be quite significant
for a sick communicant.

Imagine trying to explain
all that angst and complex pain
accompanying stomas and
getting folk to understand.

When managing my stoma, I
need both hands and mind as I apply
my bags or empty them when full,
if I am to be successful.

Imagine what it might be like
if a major stroke should strike
and we do then not have the skills
to cater to our multi-ills.

Be Withers 2022

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