How to Prevent Ballooning Bags at Night

Jan 13, 2011 4:30 am
OK, friends.... So.... We use a 2-piece colostomy pouch system with an adaptor ring (to allow me to change Ryan's (he is about 2 1/2 years old) pouch without changing the whole wafer system each time. The pouch has a filter to allow air to release. Though it tends to clog with stool within a day... It releases gas enough that the pouch does not balloon heavily at night. Trouble is... It -does- balloon a bit and tends to have a stool odor coming from the filter. I've been thinking about going back to a non-filter bag and just releasing the gas a few more times during the day... But what do you all do at night? I don't want to think about going to his crib and burping the pouch several times at night... But I just know it will be a balloon if I go this non-filtered pouch route.

For those who use a 1-piece... Or a system without a gas-releasing filter.... How do you keep the pouch from ballooning at night and rolling onto the puffy pouch and busting it every night?

Ryan is just about 25 lbs... And the pouches state they can withstand about 40 lbs of pressure... So I can just imagine what it will be like when he is older and near that weight!!

What can you all share with me?

Thanks! -Ryan's mom
Jan 13, 2011 7:04 am

Your little man is amazing to have a bag at that age. How long has he had it? What a trooper.

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Jan 13, 2011 10:56 am

For me, I have a big I would have to say I made a really big body pillow that is as firm and soft as possible so I couldn't roll over it and I snuggle up to it so I don't roll. It works a lot of the time, but every now and then I find myself away from it. Plus, watch how many things he eats before bedtime that cause gas. There are a lot, so see your gastroenterologist. They have a list of things that are really gassy: veggies, fiber, and stuff to look at or look it up online.

Jan 13, 2011 12:16 pm

Hi, do you just use one bag per 24 hours? I know being in the UK all my appliances are free so although I only change my bag every couple of days, I don't have to worry about cost.

I have some filters that you can stick on a bag and prick holes in. They were for my ileo last time as I was producing a lot of gas when I was on chemo then and even the double filters on a Coloplast bag weren't coping.

Maybe you could use a filterless bag, stick on a filter for the nighttime - trial and error working out how many prick holes to make but it would save the odor problem during the day.

Or you could just stick covers on the filters during the day, burp it, then take the sticky covers off at night? Duh that's the easiest way - but my last thought!

Anything that maintains your sleep, toddlers are tiring!

Jan 13, 2011 2:14 pm

When my son was a baby, he had "plagiocephaly".....which means his head was sort of flat in the keep him from sleeping on the back of his head at night, I had a little wedge-shaped foam thing that kept him lying on his side. With your boy being two, not sure it would work as well but something the "hug pillows" mentioned in an earlier post. Or even the "pillow pets" that are so popular might work for a young one. My little boy had to have one at Christmas, and I think every other kid did too because they were NOT easy to find! LOL

Good luck, it sounds like you have a "full plate".....Shelia

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Jan 14, 2011 3:05 am

I've had lousy results from my filters. I'm lucky to get 8 hours out of them before they clog. I'd agree that you should try to find non-gassy foods (milk might be a big culprit). You could also try some Beano (sp) an enzyme that helps break down the gas-causing bits in food - but please check with your MD first.

Jan 15, 2011 1:49 am

I always use filter pouches even though they aren't perfect either. One of my real ugly blowouts was on a long road trip before I started using filters. So I switched.

Yes, the filters leak so I have Tide laundry pens everywhere to try to salvage my shirts. And, on occasion they clog but I just change the pouch. But the filter isn't designed to last 24 hours because the liquid just plugs it. Long answer to a short question. Change the pouch more often. I use 1-3 pouches a day, and rarely 3.


Jan 18, 2011 3:56 pm

Thanks for the replies, friends. At least I know I am doing pretty much everything I can do to keep Ryan's clothes smelling fresh (though a losing battle) and his pouch flat.

After reading through the posts about odor, I began using eucalyptus oil drops in his pouch each time I emptied his bag. It has worked better than all the other things I have tried. Thanks for the suggestions, fellow ostomates!!

-Ryan's mom

Jan 18, 2011 5:50 pm

The pouch filling with air, especially at night, is something I've coped with since my surgery at age 15. It's sounds incredible, but after a few years, the tension on my skin actually woke me up....enough to either empty the pouch or burp out the air. But Ryan is a bit young for that.

But this might help. When I was 20, I had to have lower back surgery and was told that I'd have to sleep on my tummy. My husband and I figured out two different solutions. We found long plastic bags and at night attached them to the spout of my pouch. (We used a pill bottle open at both ends, inserted it into my pouch spout, and fastened the bag and pouch together.) This allowed all the air to escape....and I was able to sleep on my tummy for the first time in years. But I was older and more aware. The other thing we did, and this might work for Ryan.... We made a small, U-shaped foam pillow....wrapped it in gauze. I placed it with the closed side on my middle and the open side near the hip. This allowed the pouch to hang out on the side, and I was putting the pressure on the pillow. I just slipped in my panty to keep it in place, but you might want to attach a small elastic band to it to keep it in place.

As he gets older, he'll start to figure out what works for himself. I no longer even try to sleep on my belly...and haven't since I recovered from that back surgery.

Just keep asking questions....and trying new things. The "pillow" might work for you and Ryan.