Preventing Nighttime Mishaps for a Better Morning


Many of you out there having mishaps through the night? Sure spoils your waking up. It doesn't encourage me to look for a relationship with this happening.


Past Member

For me, the first line of defense against the nightly mishaps is to empty before bed, no matter how little. In the beginning, I also slept in sweatpants to help contain any potential mishaps.

Also, I slept somewhat lightly and would empty during the night.
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Absolutely - it is a huge nightmare for me and does happen on an all too frequent basis for my liking!

As I am on quite a stack load of medication, I either sleep the sleep of the zombie, or do not sleep at all - so on the nights where I am asleep (and fortunately I am in the sleep lots phase at the moment) I do not wake up at all in the night, so by the time morning comes, my pouch is blown up like a zeppelin, an accident waiting to happen really! If it has already started to leak, it does generally wake me up eventually, but has usually soaked into everything by then ... pretty gross. I always sleep on a towel (tried the disposable pads but they are much too crinkly and hot). My duvet is too big to wash and I only have one ... so, you can imagine ... do what I can with wipes and anti-bacterial fabric cleaner, but it doesn't take all the stains out ..... I can't change the bedding on my own anyway without being in agony, so if I'm woken early, tend to sleep in my recliner once I've cleaned myself up.

My OH when he is with me seems not to be bothered by it, but I have to say I am ....



I wish I had a dollar for each time that has happened to me over the years, including twice in a hotel (hard to explain that one to the maid). I don't think there is much you can do to avoid it other than the usual such as making sure the flange and stomahesive are intact and your bag has been emptied prior to retiring. Also, rolling over on your side with the stoma while you are sleeping is also a major culprit. Other than these, I don't know if there is much more I can offer. I am sure others will help too.



It seems that nighttime leaks are the nature of the beast. However, I find that flange extenders help, especially when it's full of air. It seems to give some extra security. I also find that if I don't eat late at night, I have almost cut out nighttime leaks, but I always wake up through the night. Good luck in your quest x

Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister

My biggest problems are at night as well. My stoma is right on my waistline, and the waistband of whatever I'm wearing to sleep seems to always end up in the way of the stoma. This leads to frequent pancaking. Probably once or twice a week I wake to a wafer flange that has been pried open by poo! Fortunately, it's usually not that messy. Just smelly.

I've tried lubricating the pouch by the stoma without much success, but I'll figure out something eventually.



Thanks for all your replies, nice to know I'm not the only one. Lately, I've stopped eating after 8 just in case. I find some food doubles in bulk, I swear, like potato chips and fries. LOL


My idea to this nighttime problem is why not wear disposable underwear over the bag when you think you may have eaten too much or you are overly tired. At least if it does leak, it will leak into this and you can just dispose of it. I do this every night now as I have not had the surgery yet. For me, without the surgery, it is a constant problem as when I sleep sometimes I feel nothing. Now this is a real mess. I think I will be okay if it is an occasional leak compared to what is happening to me now. At least I hope so.


That is very good advice but I don't think there are any that would fit me as I am a large person. I guess I'll have to be careful as to what I eat at night. I've had the bag for 12 years now and should be used to it. Are there any out there who are dating and have mishaps? How would you deal with it?


Hi folks... you may think this is silly but here are two suggestions that might help.... The first is set an alarm for... say ... 3 pm.... Your deep sleep period is likely near the end... but enough night left you will still get some rest.... The second suggestion is get a cat that will be looking for something to eat around the time you should clear the bag... My male cat got in the habit of making a visit around 3 - 3:30 am nightly and for me that's about the time the bag is plump with gas.


Very good idea, Scotiaman. I've thought of doing that. Maybe, the nights that I eat more, I could do that and be safe. )

Past Member

Friday night/Saturday morning is my dangerous time because it's a "takeaway" evening after the weekly shopping trip. I make a habit of sleeping on an old bath towel, several thicknesses, - just in case of an accident, and my goodness did I have one at around 4 a.m today.
Upon investigating, my toilet floor resembled a field where cows had "been" - picking my way through suitable areas to place my feet and removing all nightwear (freezing -4 last night), I gradually sorted myself out. Then, somehow, awkwardly stubbed my toe against a small table used to keep my stoma equipment on (ready for action any time day or night), lost my balance with the pain, and landed in "it"... and I tell you, very slippery it is too!
After all that, had to clean and disinfect everywhere, find different night clothes. Stoma pants hold the worst of any leakage, but the bag had half pushed itself off, and as soon as I started to think "I'm just out of bed for emptying" I soon had another think coming. No more sleep after that, cold and fed up. I always empty before bed and don't eat late, sleep lightly getting up at least twice during the night. Can't stop laughing about it now, what a sight it must have been.. and no, I won't give up my weekly treat, --so there


My first nighttime mishap occurred several days after I came home from surgery. I woke up around 3 AM with a warm but unusual feeling on my legs. To my horror, I discovered the seal had burst. It took about an hour and a half to get back to normal: showering, putting on a new flange and bag, changing the sheets, etc. For someone new with an ostomy, changing the bag when upset and groggy is difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating. My wife, who is an RN, was very supportive and took my situation in stride.

Anyway, I finally got back to sleep but....woke up a little while later with an unusual feeling on my legs. It seems I forgot to put the clip on the bag. My wife couldn't stop laughing. That's when I remembered I married the right person (despite her progressive politics). I never felt sorry for myself after that.


The most mishaps that I have is when I am working, my bag sits just under my belt, and I have to do a lot of bending. I work with the public, so you can just see it when I do my job and then all you see is the customer backing away. Not very good, LOL. But at night, I sleep on my belly, but I am a light sleeper and get up in the middle of the night to empty the bag, but I also have had mishaps.

Past Member

Wouldn't the lubrication stop the flange from sticking? Have you tried the gels that lubricate the pouch? You squeeze the gel into the pouch (where you drain the poo from). When the pouch is stuck firmly on around the stoma, I 'sort of massage' the gel up to the stoma area and I can feel the stoma feels a little 'greasy'. Hope you can make sense of this. It helps me. I hope it will help you too.
Best of luck though.

Even though I have now been reversed, I had my problems early on in my ostomy career (when I was a fledgling ostomy star). I also had problems with leakages at night, which caused no end of grief. Coupled with an in-built awareness of the bag expanding (I am still not aware how) with the use of a far better product, these problems were eliminated. I do not know how, but after a period of time, I would wake at night and find my bag about ready to detonate, so it was not too late to salvage the situation.

The thing that I find intriguing is that I used to love to sleep on my stomach, but after programming myself not to do so while I had an ostomy, now I find myself very rarely doing so now and only when I awake from deep sleep in the mornings. And this still does not hold the same comfort and ease feel I used to have.

Primeboy and Florie,
Well, I must say you gave me a big laugh. I could just picture it. It was like me the other night, woke up to the bag almost completely off but managed to salvage just a bit on the bathroom floor. But night clothes and hands not good. The next day, I was trying to figure out what was on the night switch for the bathroom and realized what it was after a bit. Thank God no one had come to visit that day. LOL
I'll never forget the first time I went for my pedicure. It wasn't long after I had the bag. While she was doing my feet, I could feel these gurgling sounds in my stomach and could feel myself filling up. What a complete mess I was in, with no change of clothes and 30 mins from home. Thank God she wasn't easily grossed out. I still go to her 12 years later. I stopped at my brother's on the way home and got him to bring me a towel to the car so I could manage the mess a bit.

Skyblue, I can relate to that because there are times when I have a little pinhole opening at the top of the bag and the odor reeks. I'm blessed that I don't live far from my work and I can go change when the time arises.

I can't think of being in a relationship because of all these mishaps, but I have made peace with that and it's okay.

It's so nice to get this feedback. Thanks, everyone.

Hi, what are flange extenders?


Hi Frenchie,
I think God has put us in this situation for a purpose. I plan to have some words with Him down the road; but, in the meantime, I am absolutely certain He has given us ostomates like you and many others to enjoy His greatest gift: a few hours of consciousness. Enjoy the ride, forget the bumps.


I totally understand and can say I frequently experience the nighttime "accidents". God bless you all for what you are going through! I guess I was hoping and praying that I was the only person that this happened to. Thank you for discussing this issue because now I feel more like a normal person. I have found that eating very early in the day and not close to my bedtime, not drinking or eating anything with a lot of sugar content, and going to bed somewhat "destressed" helped decrease accidents.
- Karen


This worked for me and worked well.

No eating 3 hours before bed. Learn how to swallow without swallowing air. The same goes for eating.

I went to an oversized bag.

Never eat fiber.

I was very nervous about lying in bed with another. Once I got a handle on the football bag, life was better.

I also had an advantage some of you may not have. I never and I mean never rolled onto my bag in my sleep. I am an active sleeper, I move around in my sleep to include some sleepwalking.
Something in my subconscious told me not to roll over in bed?

The few times I have slept with another. Beforehand, I explained what could happen with the appliance. It would be a terribly embarrassing situation, I would say. However, I also said not that unlike changing out a baby. So to put things into real perspective. Not a big deal!!!


Past Member
Well said, Prime.
Past Member

Perhaps these....



That is so true, Primeboy. I didn't go on this site very much but I will from now on. I guess living in an area where colostomies are not plentiful, you don't really have many people who can relate to what you're going through, having not gone through it themselves. It's hard to tell someone you woke up in poo and what a mess you were in. They can sympathize but that's about it.
I, too, plan on having a little chat with Him when the time comes. LOL


Scotiaman, you would've laughed at seeing me this morning at 3:30 trying to figure out why I had put the alarm clock on but all was good. LOL

Past Member

Oh, Florrie, I loved your story even though I felt your pain. The only times I ever feel like crying for myself over this bag is when it brings me to overwhelming situations such as the night you described. Sleep is very precious to me and bathroom scrubbing is not. Thus the dilemma of 3am catastrophes and the fact that they damn near force me to tears.

Prime: Your wife is a saint! More stories about that woman and she will soon become a legend in her own time in the ostomy community. We should all be so lucky to find a spouse such as that. But I figure you've done your share of earning that love and care.


I decided after a few night accidents in my early days (ileo Dec '09) to just set the alarm. Yes, it disrupts my sleep and sometimes I end up reading for an hour or so before I can fall back asleep ... but no accidents! Just knowing that I will most probably not have any accidents during the night makes the sleep I do get much better.

Usual routine is to go to sleep about 11:30. The alarm rings about 2:45 for empty. Then the next alarm is my hubby about 6:15 when he gets up for work. Sometimes I stay up, but usually I read a bit and then snooze till 8:30 - 9 a.m.

What amazes me are the times when I wake during the night (without the alarm) ... I reach down and see my bag is pretty full. Is it the pressure against my skin that now triggers the 'wake' response?

Anywho ... for those who really are upset about the night messes (and the potential for them) I suggest the alarm.

All the best,

Past Member

Hi Frenchie, I find that when I eat marshmallows this helps tremendously. Try a few before going to bed and yes, alarm clocks help but if you sleep with someone, they can be upsetting to your partner. My husband falls right back to sleep but I have set up my guest room so that I have everything prepared. I have had my colostomy since the 1990s but since my last surgery, it seems that my loose stools sometimes get the better of me. I am just seeing which foods I can tolerate that are different from before this past surgery. Keep a diary. It is helpful. Also, someone mentioned a Convatec appliance. See that your Ostomy nurse can set you up with a recast of your stoma so that you get a proper fit and see if you can also have a filter put into your appliance. I am unable to have that since my stools are so loose. Hope this helps.

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