Managing Colostomy Bag Ballooning: My Technique

Nov 27, 2022 2:09 pm

I recently got my stoma. I was told it was going to take trial and error to understand. I personally hate ballooning; the vents don't work right. So this morning, I cut a small hole at the very top because it drains down... you're not supposed to let it get full in any way, and they have odor-blocking products that you can put in your bag. If this technique allows me not to balloon, I resolved my ballooning issue. I will keep you updated.

Nov 27, 2022 2:22 pm

It doesn't always drain down. Hopefully you cover that hole with those Osto vent things or you will eventually have a mess. Plus, your gas will be coming out whenever it wants instead of you regulating when it gets released.

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Nov 27, 2022 2:31 pm

I understand.... I never had it drain no other way to be honest but I appreciate that feedback. This is just trial and error. I will let you know how my day goes. I'm just over it lol

Nov 27, 2022 3:10 pm
Reply to Kayckay

Good luck. I don't really have much ballooning or even gas unless I eat baked beans. However, when it does fill with air, it is annoying and prevents a person from being able to bend much. It's like having a Chipotle/Qdoba burrito stuck to your side.

Nov 27, 2022 7:30 pm

Hello Kayckay.

Thanks for sharing. I'm all for trying things out for ourselves, to find out what works and what doesn't. 
Alex mentioned osto-vents, which are little plastic devices, designed to overcome this problem of ballooning. They are probably worth asking your supplier for some samples, just to try.

Personally, I gave up on the 'small-stuff' years ago and now wear an irrigation sleeve at nights (folded up to form a huge 'bag), which allows for enormous amounts of gas and/or output to be passed with little or no problems being caused. During the day I wear a stoma plug instead of a bag, which, because of the porous material it is made of, allows the gas to escape easily without odour. 

It certainly does appear to be about trial and error. 

I don't know whether the plug would be suitable for those who do not irrigate, but it does seem to hold back a certain amount of hard output before it needs to be changed.

Best wishes


How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Homie With A Stomie NS
Nov 27, 2022 8:01 pm

Not sure cutting a hole works. Hope it does for you... As sitting or laying and forget to cover the hole, there will certainly be leakage. Try covering the vent itself with one of those stickers or tape. This was suggested to me for ballooning by my ostomy nurse who has a stoma. It is definitely trial and error to find what works for you and your body. We all have different routines, tips, and secrets, so hopefully you will find your happy place soon....

Nov 27, 2022 8:42 pm

Well, I wish you luck, but it sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. I know for myself, when I lie down, I get output all the way up to the top of my pouch, but then, often my output is quite loose. Perhaps if you have very thick output, it would not make its way to the top. I have even had output leak through the vents in my pouch, which isn't supposed to happen. I put a little stickie over the vent to prevent this happening.

Best of luck on your new journey, and keep us posted.


Nov 28, 2022 4:32 am

Well.... I had no mess, my bag never blew up, and I had an awesome day. Bag stayed flat. This skit I made at the very top of the bag was very small. So if you do decide to try, make a little slit at the very tip top of the bag. I feel so much better about not having my bag balloon. I will continue with this technique.

Nov 28, 2022 5:14 am
Reply to Kayckay

I'll be waiting for a full report from the time you put a fresh bag on, make the hole, and when you go to change your bag. It would never work for me since I rinse my bag each time I empty.

Nov 28, 2022 6:28 am
Reply to AlexT

I do rinse my bag and like using warm water. Like I said, the hole has to be at the very top and just a little slit. I never felt so relieved in my life. Usually, ballooning forces the bag to pull away from your skin if you don't catch it in time. I didn't have to change my bag at all. I'm happy.

Nov 28, 2022 8:25 am
Reply to Kayckay

Good for you.

Nov 28, 2022 3:38 pm

Hi Kay,

Glad to hear that working for you! All the vents are in 'vented' bags are small holes with a mesh filtering over them... so not really different from what you're doing. Gravity is your friend, so as long as you don't lay fully flat you should be mess-free! Like someone famous once said... necessity is the mother of invention! Good for you!


Dec 09, 2022 7:34 pm

Cutting a hole in the top of your bag allows poop and odor to escape. Try getting a bag that opens from the bottom and release the gas before it balloons out.