First Ostomy Bag Mishap: Coping with the Emotional Fallout


Well, I've got my first really bad accident out of the way. My two-piece Hollister bag got really filled up last night, and I must have bumped it and it came open. I was sleeping on the recliner in the living room, so you can imagine it was bad. It kind of sunk my feelings and emotions pretty low. Feeling much healthier and better physically, but emotionally I'm still struggling with this.


Hello wes. stophel.

Thanks for sharing your first accident. It is good for us all to be able to share these experiences with other people who understand what we go through both practically and emotionally when these things happen. 
Once you have cleaned up and put a degree of time between you and the incident, the learning curve tends to flatten and hopefully, you will be able to commiserate with others who are experiencing these things for the first time. 
I find it helps to document these things as and when they happen, because that way I am obliged to think about the incidents logically, rather than get embroiled in emotions of the moment. 
As my documentation is usually in rhyming verse, I can take opportunities to subsequently share these miscreant musings with others at appropriate times. Sometimes this can help to show people that they are by no means alone in their misfortunes!

Best wishes




This tale is of an ostomate
but told for those who irrigate.
For I feel it may be they
who will envisage what I say.

Today I had an incident,
a torrid horrid accident.
Right in the middle of my flush
it all came out in one big rush.

This would not have been so bad
except the wafer came unclad.
Now those of you who know this scene
will know exactly what I mean. 

When you’re flushing pressure grows 
then stomas act like volcanoes.
The faeces always takes its course
erupting with enormous force.

There’s little I could do although 
I quickly tried to stem the flow.
But a cupped hand won’t stem the tide 
of all that faeces held inside.

In the first explosive wave
I knew not how it would behave.
With no way of controlling it 
I was head to toe in slimy shit.

Then when I thought I’d do no more
shit shot across the bathroom floor.
It showered like a rainy squall
and soon was spread on every wall.

Though I showered and cleaned as well
I failed to clear up all the smell.
Although it took me half the night 
to try to put this whole mess right.

But now I’ve given up instead
and think that I’ll just go to bed.

                                                B. Withers 2013
                (in: My Ostomy World :Trilogy. 2014)


Gray Logo for MeetAnOstoMate
Top 5 Collections

Hi, West. I'm new to all this also. Hope you're feeling a bit better after some sleep.

Bill, that is fantastic. I'd love to see more.


Hi Wes,

Welcome to the club.......'trial by fire' is something we all have to go through, so don't sweat it! And it builds character......and what characters we all are! As time goes on you'll look back and laugh at your accident, as we all take it a bit too seriously in the beginning. With a little more experience you'll soon be in the "Who Gives a Shit" club, and like the rest of us and won't think twice about such things. It'll just be another one of those normal things that drooling when you get old. Good fun!

Although I must warn bad as your accident was, you still need to experience having one when out in public.....when you're away from the comfort and privacy of your home. When you can laugh THAT are definitely a member in the above-mentioned club and we can nominate you for council seat.

But great first're on the learning curve now! Just shake it off, smile and don't give it a second thought.....and make sure you have a spare mattress protector for your bed, to use while you're washing the first one!! is grand as an


ron in mich

Hi Wes, as the saying goes, "shit happens" or like Murphy's Law, if it can happen, it will, and usually at the wrong time. My first accident was at a McDonald's. As we were leaving, the clip broke and when I stood up, shit was running down my leg. So, a quick trip to the men's room for cleanup and home for a shower. The second time, I was sleeping and rolled onto the pouch and popped the coupling apart. That all happened the first year I had my ostomy and hasn't happened since, 30 some years later.

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Part of having success with all this ostomy stuff is having confidence in what you're using. You already disliked the 2-piece system for output being stuck, now you pooped your pants. No confidence and you'll always be worrying about it. Get a different set up and give it a try. I've had one bad blowout while I was trying a different bag and I doubt I'll ever try another bag like that again. Obviously you'll always be conscious of your ostomy but once you figure out what works for you, you won't pay much attention to it. So, clean yourself up, air the house out, and get on with living, you either control it or it'll control you.


Congratulations on completing another stage of the initiation ceremony!

It happens to us all at times, whatever we do. It knocks your confidence for a day or two after having a leak. It's well over 10 years since my last one. I know I'm on borrowed time until the next one, lol.

May your leaks be few and far between like mine are. Keep on fighting and get back out there. Never let a stoma rule your life.


It happened to me once, decided to take the bus downtown for a few blocks to save on parking, and then the accident happened while on the bus, and I had to get off and walk downtown like five blocks to my car all the while smelling like Pepe Le Pew. It happens, and it sinks your heart, but then you recover after a cycle of ugly emotions. When you start feeling better remember that this does not define you; it's not who you are, just a part of you, that's all.

There is a two-piece Hollister, high output, the thing is that the Hollister high-output is see-through, clear. Coloplast has one that I use that is also high-output and it's opaque. They both have a tip which makes it almost impossible for it to open, you would have to yank the tip open for it to give out, and apply force. The most secure is the Hollister but you have to get used to the clear bag which can be difficult. When I was new, I used the Hollister because it was the most secure and almost impossible to open, and with a ring it is pretty much leak-free, very hard to have a leak with a ring and that appliance, you would have to eat tons before bed. I had the worst time with the Velcro bags, they have big openings and it just takes a bump to open them wide and for the whole thing to drop on the floor, or you, or both most likely. I stopped using after a few accidents with the Velcro bags. I'm tall and clumsy, so they are not good for me. The bags that use a tip at the end are super secure and almost impossible to open by mistake, and with a ring, I did not have an accident for years till this past leak which was just me not being careful, not thinking, and the wine.

This past Christmas. I ate Italian cake and pastries, and turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, etc. It was seconds because I had already eaten, just being a total pig, I normally eat very healthy and not much but not during the holidays! I was eating leftovers with Vinny the dog. I had two glasses of wine and ate like a Viking, the wine did it because not a drinker and it made me fall asleep, otherwise I would have known to be more careful.

So, it's 3 am and I wake up with a nice spread of crap on my chest, the gas from the pastries was so large it made the bag just blow up, I mean I attacked those trays, thank God it didn't touch the sheets, or the bed. I had to do a Houdini to get up. Thank God I was home then and alone, no one next to me. After I showered I was so upset my Epicurean adventure was ruined, I went back and ate another Viking meal but this time at 2 pm lol, no wine!. It happens, Santa Claus sometimes drops the wrong gifts or has a good sense of humor. I suspect the Reindeer just dropped a load as they were exiting the chimney, I have my eye on Rudolph. You have to have a good sense of humor afterwards, it makes the time go easier.


Hi Wes, I so do empathize with you! I had the same thing happen to me during my first year as an ostomate, also wearing a two-piece Hollister, only I was in bed instead of on the recliner, clean white sheets, just changed of course! I woke up to an unholy mess that had literally soaked through the sheet, and mattress pad, and even stained the mattress a little. It was 3 a.m., so you could say it interrupted my night a little! I also had a couple other minor leaks with the same Hollister system, so I won't go near it anymore. Just keep looking until you find the right system. I'm using a one-piece Hollister now and am very happy with it, no leaks and good wear time.


Reply to TerryLT

Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I too am looking at the Hollister One Piece drainable with the medicine infused into the wafer so that you have extended use. It looks to me like it would be the best bet and it's not as bulky as a two-piece. My stoma is just above my waistline, wearing a belt and even suspenders is awkward. I'm finding elastic waistline men's shorts that seem to work pretty well, but anyhow, thanks for the tip and your compassion.

Reply to wes.stophel

Look at Lizard Tail belts. They're made of climbing rope and you have unlimited adjustability.


A big accident almost happened to me a few weeks ago in the car. After being at an event where there was lots of food and drink, it was finally time to go home. Midway through the drive, output started and didn't stop! I drove as fast as I could to get home, and made it with maybe a minute to spare before the interior of my car would have been a disaster area.

I had a coloplast 2-piece, wide outlet on. It was so full, it started leaking from the barrier just as I reached my bathroom! I learned my lesson about heavy meals before being in the car...but it was kind of depressing at the same time. Having to run inside holding the bag up (it had become so heavy it would have ripped off, I think) was a low point. But I laugh at it now.

Reply to Gapto13

Yup.......been there, done that! It's why I now carry two of those plastic urinals in my if I'm stuck in traffic, or can't pull over and dump my bag in the woods.....I won't make a mess in my car. And I've used them more than a time or two. Heck, I can even empty my bag into one while driving! Look hands!!

Thanks for the memories!


Reply to wes.stophel

That is exactly what I'm using, the one-piece drainable Hollister with ceramide infused into the wafer, and it's kind to your skin. It's also the 'soft convex' model, that improves the seal and helps prevent leaks. There is a hard convex model too, but the soft works great and is more comfortable. The product number is #8958 if you want to try it out (request a sample). Good luck!



I had the two-piece bag only once and am afraid to ever use it again. I originally thought it was great, I can change the bag without changing the whole adhesive part. But because my output doesn't fall down into the bag, it made the ring pop off the one side. And the two-piece is harder plastic and bulkier. I'll stay with my one-piece bags.

When I was in the hospital, they gave me a bag with a clip. The clip fell off, and everything leaked down my legs. I like the Velcro closures, but even those you have to be sure it seals completely.

I've had plenty of other leaks too, but usually at home and nothing too drastic (knock on wood). After nine months, you'd think you could get used to this, but it's still hard for me. Good luck!


Oh boy, we've all been there in some way or another and it is not fun. Feel how you need to about it and then try to chalk it up to, "Well, that sucked but I got through it." It is part of this ostomy life and, hopefully, few and far between.


I feel like the first accidents with these are an unfortunate right of passage of sorts. I tried 8 ostomy systems in total (the 7th one worked for me). I decided even though #7 worked for me I wanted to try the 2-piece version of it - same brand - but I was allergic to it. It's hard because the companies do not tell the ingredients in their products so me and my ostomy nurses were always trying to guess what component I was allergic to. I thought a 2-piece would be better because I thought burping it would be "fun"... I had such a mess, the one metal piece wouldn't go back on, I made up new swear words (I make them up on the spot because I tell my kids not to swear, so technically that means I shouldn't right?) I think I ended up pulling the whole thing off because I was so frustrated not thinking I should have prepped to put a new one on first and had supplies ready... and Marilyn Monroe (my stoma's name) was always such a diva as many ileostomies can be.
You're in good company



That has happened to me in the hospital. I use a 2-piece Hollister. I use a belt now and feel the belt gives me a bit of push to keep the barrier in place. Just a suggestion.

Reply to gentlejohn

Hi GJ,

I've always worn a belt with my Hollister barrier/bag since the very beginning, and I've advocated on here that everyone do the same. My reasoning is it won't stop a leak, but will hold your barrier in place when you do get a leak, because once the barrier seal is broken your output will continue to work its way under your barrier adhesive until the barrier falls off. The belt delays this process and keeps your barrier over your stoma, minimizing the mess and giving you time to fix the situation. I mean what would you do if your barrier literally fell off while you were out and about and didn't have any supplies with you? So I always considered it cheap insurance to prevent a very embarrassing situation.

But last week I had a bit of irritation on the skin directly under the plastic end of the belt, right at the outer edge of the barrier bandage. To address it I left the belt off for a couple days. At first I felt naked, like not wearing a seatbelt. But I have to quickly feels wonderful not wearing a belt. I lost all tactile sensation of having a bag because what kept reminding me was the feeling of wearing the darn belt, not the barrier or bag itself! Talk about liberating!! So I can understand why those on here don't want to wear a belt......and I'm seriously considering it! At least at home where I can address any issue quickly and in private. Very eye opening experience for me!!


Reply to w30bob

Hello Bob.

I found it interesting that your reason for wearing a belt was a sort of 'insurance'. I have similar reservations about 'insurance' whenever my premiums become due.

The problem with abandoning one's caution about such things, is something that is variously called  Murphy's law, or Sods' law. Which loosely means that whenever we let our guard down somethings is bound to go wrong! 

I still continue to wear a belt whilst irrigating and overnight. Fortunately, with irrigation there is little chance of 'accidents' during the day so this period remainds belt-free..

Best wishes



Reply to Bill

Hi Bill,

Yeah, I'm intimately familiar with Murphy... I think he's my brother-in-law or something because he's always around and likes to trip me up at the most inopportune times. Due to where my stoma is placed, my Hollister belt rides just where my love handles transition into my back. They're obviously very small love handles, as we all know I'm a Calvin Klein underwear model and have to keep my 5 1/2 pack and midriff in perfect shape, but there's still a slight transition there which forces the belt up and makes it loose. It drives me a bit nuts at times always having to pull it down. I can take a deep breath and suck in my abs and it will mostly fall back into place... but not wearing it at all felt really, really good. So I'm probably going to be running into my brother-in-law pretty soon! I'll tell him you said 'hi'!!



Reply to AlexT

This is great, been using variations of this type of belt here and there but wouldn't have thought to look at sites for young people like this one. I already know it will work great. Ordering two of them. This type is so much more comfortable to use if you have an ostomy, so adjustable and movable, at any moment you can put it anywhere you want, excellent. It pays to read these posts, lots of great information in them.


I use a 1-piece drainable system (Sensura Mio by Coloplast) that I usually change every 2-3 days. Also, I use a Stealth Belt 24/7 that keeps the bag close to my body. Trust me, when you've had your stoma as long as I have, you'll be a pro.

Mabsie Moll
Reply to Bill

Hi West, I guess like everything else, it's bound to happen eventually. I have an ileostomy. It happened to me in bed one night! What a dose!!!! Having to wake my hubby to change the bed was not my finest moment! Since then, I have taken extra precautions of using waterproof sheets and pillowcase covers to protect the mattress and pillows from 'spills'. I'm still looking for similar duvet cover protectors. I don't think I sleep fitfully during the night anymore, always being aware on some level that my bag a.k.a. "Molly" might need emptying (up to x 3 times each night). Regarding yucky odors, sprinkling bread soda over the affected area after you've cleaned up the mess and letting it sit and then later vacuuming it, will remove unpleasant odors. You can always give the area the 'once over' again with cleaning detergent afterward for added fresh clean scent if you wish.

Bread soda is brilliant for absorbing unpleasant odors, from spilt milk/cream to 'food regurgitation!!' to absorbing fridge smells, the list is endless.

Reply to w30bob

I do not drool! Hmph!

Reply to Bill

Bill, pretty darn good writing with humor about a relatively "shitty" experience! I must say that I laugh my butt off...sort of


Hi Wes. Late to this party, I know, but I learned a lesson recently and I think it's worth sharing.

It was a 3am blowout with a 2-piece Hollister and I woke up covered. I jumped up too quickly and had a fall.

Ambulance, 2 hospitals, and an inverted left shoulder replacement. OUCH.

It's just shit. Cleans right up, it's not that big a deal. A dead arm might even be worse than a colostomy.

Please, everyone, be careful.

Reply to jeanneskindle

Hello jeannekindle.

Just a short note to let you know how much your feedback on  my writing is appreciated. Rhyming verse is not everybody's cup of tea so it's always nice to know that someone, somewhere has enjoyed the read.
Best wishes



Reply to jeanneskindle

Not yet!


squirrels in the attic
Reply to Bill

Bill.  I am new here and what do I find.......Poop humour!  Love it.  We can all relate to misbehaving stomas (they think they are in control) and the resulting frustration and clean up.  I laughed out loud!  Keep it up.

* Please, do not post contact information, personal information or advertising.
All times are GMT - 5 Hours