Need advice for severe stoma skin irritation!

Sep 28, 2022 4:30 am

I have only had my ileostomy for about 3 weeks (and it is temporary), but I have some pretty extreme skin irritation in a 2" diameter around my stoma. The weeping causes leaking, which causes me to have to change my wafer, which causes more damage and irritation. It's a painful and inconvenient cycle, and I don't know what to do. I have been changing the wafer 2-5 times every 2 days. I'm tired of leaking, and I'm tired of the burning when I apply a new one. I've tried the wax ring under the barrier; I've tried the paste, and I've tried just the barrier alone. Nothing seems to make a difference. I went to the drug store and purchased some liquid bandage, thinking if I could prevent the barrier from being applied directly to my skin, it would give me a better seal, prevent leaking, and help my skin heal. But when I tried to use it, the burning was so intense on the mildly irritated skin, I was too scared to apply it to the raw skin. Please help me. I don't know what to do, but I can't keep living this way, and I don't want to be in a position to have to go through this in a public place/restroom again. Any advice?

Sep 28, 2022 4:51 am

Have you tried using the barrier spray and stoma powder?

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Sep 28, 2022 4:54 am
Reply to AlexT

No. I've gotten very little guidance as my healthcare was from a general surgeon and I was not referred to anyone for ostomy support. What do the powder and paste do? How are they applied? Are they an option in place of something I'm using or are they something to add to what I'm doing?

Sep 28, 2022 6:26 am

Instead of the liquid bandage stuff, try this ....

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Sep 28, 2022 6:28 am

And this stuff....

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How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Sep 28, 2022 6:37 am

I posted those backwards on how to use them but here ya go....1) Remove your wafer gently. 2) Clean your skin around your stoma with warm water and/or soap (no moisturizer in the soap)/water. If it's really irritated, I'd just use warm water. 3) Let skin dry well. 4) Apply the stoma powder to the irritated area. 5) Spray the Cavilon barrier spray over the area where your wafer sticks, let it dry. 6) Apply your wafer/bag/barrier ring. The barrier spray helps protect the skin from the adhesive on your wafer/bag/ring and the stoma powder helps absorb moisture and forms a crust over your damaged skin so it can heal. If you can leave your bag off for a while after you clean your skin without output getting on your skin, the fresh air can do wonders on helping heal your skin cause it lets the area dry out. BTW, there are various types of barrier spray and/or wipes along with various types of stoma powder, I just used those as examples cause I know they work well.

Sep 28, 2022 7:36 am


Find an ostomy nurse quickly and get in there, the products Alex suggests are good. I have used the Cavilon spray. Less is more, practice on the back of your hand first. You might consider getting some Micropore tape from the chemist. Stick the tape directly over the irritated skin as a barrier, then stick the bag to the tape. It should give you some relief.

Sep 28, 2022 7:56 am

I use two variants of what Alex talks about.  Instead of the No Sting Barrier Spray, I use the Cavilon wipes, as I feel that I can control where it goes better.  The stoma powder (mine is called Karaya Powder from Hollister) has a healing quality as well.  You do need both these items and they ought to cure your skin problem.  Putting you on your own after such surgery without the advice of an ostomy knowledgeable nurse is actionable negligence to me.  Good luck to you.

Sep 28, 2022 11:39 am
Reply to HenryM

Same happened to me. Nurse showed me how to change the bag then released me from the hospital. No ostomy nurse or nothing. I couldn't even change the bag myself because of limited mobility.

Sep 28, 2022 12:22 pm

What a crummy cycle to be in with no support from the professionals. The technique that Alex described saved me when I had a temporary loop ostomy and constantly weepy skin around my stoma. I would only add, and it's described as such in his response, how important it is to end the sequence with the liquid or spray, not powder, otherwise your bag won't stick.

Sep 28, 2022 12:25 pm

Try Stoma powder first, then use spray.

Sep 28, 2022 12:25 pm

It's disgraceful the way some of you guys are tipped out of hospital without any support. Where I am in Oz, the stoma nurse at the hospital spends time with you doing changes and sampling different bags, then makes sure you join the ostomy association where the supplies come from, and there is a resident stoma nurse permanently available. Then they get you back in a few weeks at the hospital to review what you are doing with appliance changes. Then you go home and make a mess of it and come back for help until you get a handle on the process. You should be receiving better treatment than that. For what it's worth, I cut the hole in the appliance slightly smaller than the stoma to make sure all the skin around the stoma is covered but not enough to cut into the stoma with the edge of the appliance.


Sep 28, 2022 12:29 pm

Also try a silicone-based spray, not alcohol. I can't use anything with alcohol.

Sep 28, 2022 1:50 pm

I do the alternating power spray way also. Good luck.

Little Stinker
Sep 28, 2022 8:53 pm

I am having the same issue. I just changed it out yesterday and it had seeped out again. I put a new flange on and saw it wasn't going to stick, had to take it off and use barrier wipe. That did dry it out and I applied a new one. But today I noticed it was stinky and burning so I guess another one in the morning. Ugh! In time we will learn what works and what doesn't. I think mine is permanent so I hope I learn. I agree with Axl, find a stoma nurse. They released me from the hospital after showing me once, and that wasn't enough. I called to get a visiting nurse. She came 2 to 3 times a week till I was comfortable. It was so helpful! I'm in Iowa and just have to call the Dr. to order it and then my insurance will pay for it (I have Medicare).

Sep 28, 2022 9:44 pm
Reply to Little Stinker

I was practically thrown out of the hospital after my surgery. LOL It was when COVID first started and the day they released me was the day they declared a state of emergency in the province I live in. I had very little help from a wound nurse (not ostomy) before being released. I watched a ton of YouTube videos to learn the tricks of how to look after it. Plus, my 2 sisters were there to help...mostly we laughed and cried our way through it all until the day arrived when I had a system that worked for me. Keep going. It will all be a funny story to tell one day. Sending loads of love your way.

Sep 29, 2022 11:49 am


You have been given some excellent advice and tips from everyone. All I can add is if you call or go on stoma supply sellers such as Colour Plast, Hollister, etc., they will send you free samples and they have some really helpful staff who can offer free advice on your stoma/supplies. Good luck and let us know how you are getting on. XX

Oct 01, 2022 7:05 am
Reply to akrosie

Is the area around the stoma concave? I had the lack of seal problem, until I got a certain brand of pouch that is deep convex. Add to that a 4"×4" which I cut to fit the opening and a folded Stomahesive strip around the inside of the 4"×4". So, it's sting-free adhesive remover. Then, the skin barrier wipes. Then the 4"x4" cut with a round hole and cut round to fit under the pouch seal with the folded Stomahesive strip around the hole facing the skin. Sometimes I add a bit of paste, especially on the horizontal fold of my skin when I sit. Then add the pouch onto that. This is the only thing that works for me. And, only one brand of pouch, Marlen. Then, add the semicircles to stabilize the seal. And, I wear a fitted ostomy belt, which also stabilizes the seal. I hope this helps. I know it works for me. And, it just becomes routine. This lasts me for 5-7 days with the one-piece drainable pouch. I hope that you'll soon get that seal down pat.

Oct 02, 2022 2:23 am

My wife and I did it all on our own. YouTube videos are great and helpful as a live person with a stoma shows you how they do it when they have irritated skin like you have. This helped us so much I cannot tell you!!

Oct 03, 2022 11:33 am

I hope you're using a washer around the stoma before you put the wafer on. The washer should be a snug fit around the stoma.

Oct 03, 2022 8:09 pm

I also suffered with open weeping skin around my stoma when I first had my colostomy in April. My ostomy nurse prescribed a steroid spray to put on the skin. It's actually a nasal spray. Worked great. I have an inverted stoma, so I had lots of issues to begin with. Irrigation was the answer for me, but it won't be for you with an ileostomy. Good luck, and I hope the steroid spray will help.