Managing Leaks: Barrier Rings and Flange Adherence

Mar 18, 2023 4:41 pm

After my surgery, I had issues with leaks, mostly related to my belly button. Since then, I started using barrier rings, and that helped eliminate the leaks.

I see that many on this forum do not use the barrier rings. How does that work for you? How do you keep the flange from lifting up?

Mar 18, 2023 5:00 pm

I've used rings for the last 30 years. At one point, ostomy nurses said I didn't need them. As here in the UK, we need their permission to say we can use a product, I had to go a few years without them. My skin around the edge of my stoma was so sore and suffered from endless granulomas. Luckily, I saw a nurse with common sense who let me start using them. Once I started using them again, it solved both problems. I use them as I have a dip all the way around my stoma. After ostomy surgery, the wound opened up all the way around it, so it healed with the dip. I've seen some ostomy nurses say everyone with an ileostomy should use rings, as the enzymes in our output burn/eat the flesh it comes into contact with. Then others say we don't need them.

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Mar 18, 2023 7:54 pm

I don't use barrier rings simply because I've learned I don't need them. My appliance sticks really well, and I get six to seven days of wear time, but I use a convex flange. Big difference from the flat ones. I found no matter which brand or style of flange, for me, the flat ones just didn't last long without leaking. This is just my experience, so you need to experiment and just see what works best for you.


Mar 18, 2023 8:36 pm

Early on, I learned that less is better to wear product-wise. Also, soap with oils in them is a no-no when cleaning your stoma. Ivory or Dial has been working for me. Best of luck.

Mar 18, 2023 9:08 pm

Barrier rings I use almost daily. Extra layer of protection. Very rarely have leaks. They form a nice tight barrier around my stoma, like plumber's tape but much thicker.

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Mar 18, 2023 9:31 pm

Everyone's different. We have different body shapes. Our stomas are different and even their location differs. I use a barrier ring because my stoma is close to my belly button and my ostomy nurse said I could use the extra protection. Nonetheless, I too have had leaks periodically. Then recently I started using barrier paste also, that seems to do the trick.

Just keep experimenting until you find the combination that works best for you.

Mar 18, 2023 9:42 pm
Reply to Riva

I learned the same thing from my ostomy nurse. She said "Less is more" when it comes to products.


Mar 19, 2023 11:21 pm

I use barrier rings. I use pre-cut barriers which have to be placed exactly. I found a thin ring placed around the stoma eliminated occasional skin irritations when I was not exact on my barrier placement. I also believe the rings allow me to go longer before I have to change the barrier. I now change on the 6th day but have gone as long as 7 days. Barrier rings in your situation sound like a necessity. If the rings eliminate skin irritation then use them. That is what they are designed to be used for. I do something else which most people don't do is wear a belt attached to the flanges. That secures the flanges. It seems like this allows me to be less cautious about my bag overfilling before I empty it.

Mar 20, 2023 11:39 am
Reply to gentlejohn

Thanks for your responses. I may try not using a barrier ring and see how long I can go without developing a leak. However, I will continue to use the ring if I'm traveling or not, mostly at home for extra security.

Mar 21, 2023 12:14 am

I've used barrier rings since my first ileostomy in September 2019. I never had any issues and my bags would last forever. I had to use a convex back because my stoma was in a valley. But then that stoma started causing many obstructions. It became so tiny and narrow that all my food was getting stuck. So finally I went in for my fourth surgery in May 2022 and they cut some intestine to make it narrow again but when I woke up it was on the other side! I had a huge infection on my hip so they needed that to heal and completely changed my stoma to the other side. So now I have a hole on the other side. My daughters can't tell which one is my belly button lol. But ever since I switched sides I've had horrible skin rashes. Literally for almost a year. My bags last at the most two days. I'm always leaking. I've tried everything. I know all the tricks. From the 17 3M 5050 skin barrier wand on Amazon to the little paper ones, to the spray, or the barrier paste, I've even bought TWO laser wands that help heal skin. My skin starts weeping water constantly and my bags just don't stick. I've taken yeast medication. I have every cream you can imagine. Steroids. I only wash with ivory. I clean it religiously. I even wear a belt. I hate wearing a belt. I never had to before. It's truly so depressing. But I keep going because I finally can live every day outside of my bed crying in pain. So if you ask me if I'd rather have a rash or weigh 89 lbs from Crohn's disease pain, the first option will always win. Any advice I can get is welcome.

Mar 21, 2023 8:19 pm
Reply to LFBlas

This sounds horrible, and I feel for you. I recently had a bad raw skin issue myself, and I went through lots of things that didn't work, but I'll tell you what worked for me. First of all, please stay away from steroids, as they will thin your skin and make things even worse. My ostomy nurse recommended I try the Salts brand of flange extenders. They are infused with Aloe and worked wonders for me. I did not use them as they are intended, to extend the flange, but instead cut a piece to fit the area that was raw, and cover it, then apply my normal flange. They also make aloe-infused barrier rings, but my nurse wanted me to try the flange extender instead, as it's much thinner. The first time I applied it, the healing was good, but by the second application, it was completely healed. Nothing else worked for me, so maybe it's worth a try? Good luck. I just got Salts to send me some samples, which I had within a few days.


Mar 22, 2023 8:03 pm
Reply to Riva

I was using baby wipes/wet wipes... Could this be causing some of my problem?

Mar 22, 2023 11:22 pm
Reply to Daisy2023

Hi Daisy, you should not be using baby wipes to clean your parastomal skin. They are infused with a cleansing agent, and sometimes fragrance too, which will leave a residue on your skin and not provide the surface you need for your flange to stick for as long as possible. Plain soap, and plenty of rinsing will provide the best surface, just clean, dry skin.


Mar 28, 2023 9:04 am
Reply to TerryLT

Thanks for this. I had no idea doing that was wrong... I wish they sold wipes wet with normal soap. Is there anything like this?

Mar 28, 2023 9:16 pm
Reply to Daisy2023

I don't think it's the type of soap or cleanser used in the wipe. You could probably clean your skin with the wipe, but, you would need to rinse it really well afterwards. Are you preparing your skin for a new pouch while in the shower? If so, it's easier to just use plain soap. I always shower with my pouch off before making a change. That way, I can get my skin really clean and well rinsed. People who change pouches while not in the shower often use just plain water to clean their skin. It's pretty hard to rinse your skin well if you aren't in the shower. I've always done it in the shower and prefer it that way. My ostomy nurse always recommended it and said that cleaning your skin with just plain water isn't the best way, as you will still have the natural oils in your skin, which can reduce wear time. It's always worked well for me.