Shower Frustration


Okay so here I am with another problem I would like to hear you all's advice on. Showers. I prefer to schedule bag changes around showers. So I take off the bag when I am showering. I used to shower in the late afternoon, several hours after lunch. "Marvin" had a tendency to poop in the shower whenever I took one then. So then I started taking a shower first thing in the morning before breakfast. After not having anything to eat since the night before at 8:30pm. The first time I did this it worked really well. No poop in the shower. So then of course the next time I did that, and the time after that and so on, even in the morning before breakfast he has been pooping, a lot. Is there really any good time to take a bag-off shower and actually get clean? Any advice on this would be appreciated because I feel like I have tried everything. Should I just accept the fact that Marvin is going to take the bag free time as a good time to go potty? Why did it work once and then not again?



I work the same way .. briella loves air and to be free from the bag lol she seems quiet and as soon as it comes off boom lol she likes being free. .. if you have tried everything I would caulk it up to thats how he works's frustrating I know. I ve sat for 3 hours before I could get anything on typically 2 hours  each time . Grab you a red solo cup to put under him it helps vs a million things of gauze or tissue. 


I have always enjoyed a bath first thing in the morning but the principle is the same. 
For many years irrigation in the evening was the answer and I had no output by morning. However, more recently this has changed and I te nd to have a small amount of output soon after I take the device off to bathe. My solution to this has been to shave first, because shaving involves bending over to wash my face and it's this movement seems to be the one that releases the output. I simply catch it in toilet roll and dispose of it in the normal way. After that, I have respite from output for a few hours, which allows me time to bathe and prepare for the rest of the day.
We are all different with regard to these issues but I do hope you can find a solution to this problem.
Best wishes


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Morning is the best time as long as you don't keep eating after you go to bed. And take your Bag off before you go into the shower over the toilet. Then after having a shower and you dry off and I mean dry. That's the time to fit the new bag. If you want to be safe after you leave the shower not to get any on the Bathroom floor then try my invention of the Stoma Cap. As below. Just clip your Hollister belt to the tabs on the side.


I think your right it's just a case of accepting it as normal for yourself. 

I know some members if they go X amount of hours without eating they can change bag/shower bag free without out any output, I think all our digestive systems and stoma's work differently, I know my stoma has a mind of it's own and as soon as it's set free without a bag on it's raring to go even I haven't eaten since the day before. It also makes big difference on how much of your colon you have left if you have a colostomy or if you've had any of your small bowel removed   

How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

There is a lot of personal preference here.  I have an ileostomy.  I change the bag every 5-7 days & use Hollister.  Yes I let it air out at bag change time but I take showers with the bag on.  Very rarely do I have problems with output during bag changes but a plastic grocery bag in my pants makes this a non-problem.  Good luck.  


I change every 5 days. Maybe try stop eating a little earlier. I stop by 5:30. I shower with the bag still on. Have everything ready after shower  from start to finish takes me maybe 10-15 minutes. Haven't had any problems, works for me.


same as iggie except i just put a square of dry wipe over my stoma before getting out of the shower and it adheres to the damp skin ok if product comes out of stoma before the pouch has been applied just dispose of old square and apply new one. i also prefer early morning change to avoid active stoma but keep folded toilet pieces to pick up anything that falls in the bath while showering and chuck in the toilet.


I had to chuckle a little reading your post, sorry!  It's just that I relate completely!  I have chosen the time that works best for me to change my pouch, but it's never perfect, and accidents do happen.  First thing in the morning would not work for me as Rosie can be quite active then, it's like the act of getting up for the day stimulates whatever is left in there.  I tend to take my shower late in the day, just before dinner, so I usually have a safe time in there before my lunch starts to come out.  It's never totally predictable though.  I have a two layer piece of toilet paper ready that I put over my stoma as soon as I get out of the shower, so it absorbs anything that might come out while I'm towelling off.  I also have several pieces of toilet paper stacked on the side of the sink that I can reach for if poo starts to flow.  I have everything ready to go to make the process as quick as possible.  Most of the time things go smoothly, but there are days that my husband can hear swear words emanating from the bathroom.  Of course, with an ileostomy, it is a little more of a challenge with such frequent output.  Welcome to the world of ostomies!



Don’t laugh because it works.   Try eating a few marshmallows a half hour or so before showering.      


Hi Lee

I think it changes based on your stage of healing and diet. I have zero issues now at 2 years but was miserable for the 1st year and a half. I had PTSD around the whole thing and everytime I had to shower I'd have a panic attack. I started leaving my bags on for more than the recommended time to avoid the change. I was terrified of my Ostomy.

I continued with counselling for a year but decided I had to change my diet to get relief both physically and mentally.  I started eating carnivore May 10th and things have improved greatly since about June 1st. For shower prep, I move around for a couple of hours, walk the dog, empty the dishwasher etc. Empty whats in the bag and am good for a shower. If Moana is going to act up it will be when I wash my hair lol but that rarely happens now with no fibre in my diet. I now have a thick liquid consistency to my stool versus the thick sludgy stool I started with and am very comfortable with that. Easy empty, changes and clean up. Now if I could just make it smell better lol. Good luck.


Reply to Beth22

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's stoma takes bag free time as a good time to preform. I think Marvin just gets excited to be free. LoL Today he is being impossible. On my imodium schedule he earned 3 imodiums today and though he had one with breakfast he proceeded to produce before lunch enough to get him an imodium tomorrow. He's done 1,200cc before lunch. What ever will I do with him??


Reply to Bill


I don't really know what irrigation is or involves. I always have a lot of output over night but then he used to calm down between getting up and emptying and an hour after breakfast. However the last several days he has been going over night, then when I empty in the morning he goes again, sometimes just as much as over night. I haven't found a solution yet. Tomorrow morning is another shower day so I will have to see what Marvin gets up to tomorrow.


Reply to IGGIE


I don't eat anything after 8:30 when I have to have a snack with my many medications. I take off my bag over the sink with the bag in a trash bag (provided with my supplies). I usually do not have an issue with getting in the shower, once I am in the first thing I do is rinse off Marvin with water. Then I move on to washing. While I am trying to wash and shave my legs is when he decides to have a poop. Then it runs down my tummy and leg and I have to stop what I am doing and run the water over Marvin and my skin. Then go back to what I was doing and have to stop several more times to wash him off. When I get out of the shower I always hold a folded paper towel over Marvin while I dry off and then check that he is no longer "expressing himself" and then I wipe him and the skin around him with a gauze pad and then put any spray or marathon around him and then put the 2 piece appliance on. It is just frustrating to have to stop all the time in the shower and wash myself off and encourage the output to go down the drain before re-starting my washing. It makes me feel like my feet are never going to get clean.


Reply to Ben38


I don't have a colon anymore. Well I have about a inch or two that the doctor left in there thinking I could have a reversal. (She decided I am not a canidate for a reversal though a year after my initial surgery.) So my colon the tiny tiny bit I have left is useless. I have an ileostomy. I do have nearly all of my small intestines. Minus the part she cut off in the initial surgery and in my relocation surgery. I guess I am just going to have to get used to the idea that I can't control Marvin and he is going to do what he is there to do bag or no bag. I really thought though if I hadn't eaten for from 8:30pm the night before until 7am in the morning that Marvin wouldn't have any business to do. I am just trying to find the golden moment when I can shower and have no output going down my leg and down the drain.


Reply to gentlejohn


You can go 5 to 7 days without changing your bag? I change mine the way my former ostomy nurse taught me, every 3 days. I use hollister products too. They make some pretty good products. Now that I can wear a bag I am so happy to be able to leave my house. Before relocation surgery I couldn't keep a bag on, so couldn't wear a bag for like a year and a half. If you can imagine life with a stoma and no bag! I had to wear a diaper sideways across my stomach and it always leaked. I was so miserable for such a long time My skin was unbelievably sore and raw, I had to take codeine to deal with the pain. I do love my bags now!!!


Reply to Happytostillbehere


I change bags every 3 days. I stop eating meals by 5:30 but because I take many medications at night I have to have a little snack with them at 8:30 this cannot be changed or avoided. I like to shower with the bag off so my skin around my stoma can get really clean. As well as my stoma. My skin has much improved since I started showering with the bag off. 


Reply to patrickrichardson1946


I can't really pick up what calls in the tub because I have a ileostomy and my output is rarely thick enough to pick up. I have to wash it down the drain. But unless I want a stream of it running down my stomach and down my leg to stay on my body I have to stop and rinse it off me and then continue with my shower. It isn't so much that Marvin has output in the shower as it is the interruption of washing other parts of me to rinse off the output. Like several times in a shower. 


Reply to delgrl525


Like you I used to take my showers right before dinner. But that stopped working for me. Actually no time has worked for me consistently. Like it works one time and not after that. I too set up all my supplies before I even get in the shower. I have a small assembly line that has a gauze pad, the spray/marathon skin barrier, the wafer with the ring already affixed to it and the bag and then M9 drops. So once I dry off after a shower i am immediately read to put the new bag on. The only time I have a problem there is when I have to hold the wafer for 20 seconds to ensure the seal sometimes Marvin likes to surprise me then sometimes.


Reply to terrizajdel


For smell I use M9 drops and they work really well. It used to be when I would empty my pouch I'd have to spray air freshener all over the bathroom and out into the hall and into the nearby rooms. That really upset me even though I know it is natural. Then my ostomy nurse got me some M9 drops and I no longer have any odor issues. 

I had my re-location surgery on March 30 of this year. In a few days Marvin will be 5 months old! I had my initial surgery New Years day 2021. Having Marvin though is like starting all over again. Especially since I started being able to wear a bag. From Jan. 1 2021 to March 30 2023 I could not wear a bag. Imagine your life with a stoma and no bag for that long!!

Sometimes I miss Wormy, my old stoma. He looked like a little worm, Marvin looks like a little blob. In fact that is how he got his name, I looked at him after waking up from surgery and thought he looked like a martian coming out of the stomach, so I named him after the Looney Tunes character Marvin the Martian. Now Marvin has a full name. My ostomy nurse use to say he looks like a little rose so she gave him that name. So he was Marvin Rose. Then one day my mom was trying to say Marvin Rose and mistakenly said Marvin Rays. So Marvin became Marvin Rose Rays! A lot of times now we call him Marvelous Marvin. LoL


Reply to infinitycastle52777

Hi Lee,  I do sometimes have output come when I'm in the shower too, and it just washes down the drain and usually isn't much of an issue.  One of the advantages of being old is that I rarely have to shave my legs anymore!  It just doesn't grow in like it used to.  You mention that you change every three days and I'm wondering if you might try going longer.  When you remove your old pouch, take a look at the back of the flange, and you can tell whether things were starting to break down, or if everything still looks in good shape.  Extending your wear time would at least lessen the frequency of those frustrating changes.  I'm not sure why you were told to change every three days, as there certainly is no hard and fast rule, and for some it's completely unnecessary.  I have an ileostomy and change every six days.  You just learn through experimentation.  



I would suggest that you keep your bag on when shaving your legs and let it go free on other times. Unless you shave them every time you change.



I use a 2-piece, which usually lasts 1-2 weeks. I leave the bag on when showering, because - yeah, it likes to poop then. Warm water seems to stimulate it. Then change the bag when you get out of the shower. I shower before changing the whole appliance, because I'm always afraid the new one won't have enough time to "set" and might fall off in the shower. Other than that, most pouches are covered in a material that dries REALLY quickly, just squeeze it in a towel and it's probably dry by the time you're ready to get dressed.

I never really give it "air time", because once my skin toughened up after the first several months, I just haven't had any issues with the skin. (But that could just be me.)

I did start using convex faceplates because they seem to work better with my peristomal hernia, and they are rigid enough directly around the central hole that they don't pull up along the inner edges of the hole like the flat ones tend to do. I'm actually getting a lot longer time per faceplate with a much longer comfort time.

Reply to delgrl525


I am not sure why I was told every 3 days. I think I remember her saying that my skin would start to break down after that. Whenever I remove the bag I look to see the back side and see if it was going to leak and where. My former nurse had me only use half a ring and through experience I found that then when I would lay down to sleep my bag would leak out the top. So I decided on my own to use a full ring. That helped me to have less leaks. But usually when I take the bag off there is a ring of poo around the inside of the ring. Sometimes I can see that it has started to leak on one side it just hadn't gotten all the way out. This makes me think that she was right for me to change every 3 days. Because had I waited a day or 2 longer it might have totally leaked. I have heard that a lot of people wear their bags for 4 to 6 days and I once heard of someone who wore theirs for 2 weeks. I can't even imagine wearing the same bag for that long. My stoma has a tendency to flatten down sometimes (and other times the little trickster sticks out good) but when he goes flatter he works his way under the ring and then poops under there. Sometimes when I am looking at him he grows and shrinks as if he is saying "ha ha I got you now" 


Reply to Newbie Dana


I used to shower with my bag on, but then I felt like when I changed my bag my stoma and skin didn't get really clean. I mean I'd wipe it with gauze but there is just something more cleansing to running soapy water over my skin and over my stoma. Plus my skin around my stoma has been much more healthy since I started showering with the bag off. I think because it gets really clean. But when I was fresh out of surgery my nurse recommended showering with the bag on. She told me eventually I could plan bag changes around showers. That's what I ended up doing.



I love the name “Marvin”!! Great name for a stoma!  I showered once without the bag, was too messy for me.

Reply to IGGIE

This is a perfect answer to all those questions about getting out after you shower. Works well and saves a lot of money on other various means to try to catch output.

Strap it on and wait as long as necessary for stoma to stop, then put on new appliance. Although it's not this particular one, I have used a US made one for over 20 years with 100% success!



Three things:

1) I agree with terrizajdel.  Over time things can really improve (she is at 2 years, I am at 15).  Most of the "issues" people have are among newbies.  Over time your stoma  and your experience work together to resolve most issues.  My output schedule is very unpredictable, but I almost never have issues when I change.  I also believe in the in-shower method.  My stoma eventually got with the program.

2) I agree with Iggie.  Keep your bag on and do all of your shower (shaving, shampooing) first.  At the end take your bag off in the shower and then use the last minutes to attend to cleaning the area.  That leaves less time for rogue output.

3) As you exit the shower, wrap your stoma in some toilet paper and then move over to the toilet.  You can stand over the toilet to allow any additional output to fall directly into the toilet.  Place some toilet paper in the toilet to make sure no output splashes.  At this point it is actually really good to give it some air time (the more the better).  That does wonders for skin health.  If it is hard to stand over the toilet, others have made excellent suggestions for capturing rogue output.

Hang in there.  It continues to get better over time.


I have never taken a shower without my appliance on, just don't feel comfortable in case Louise (stoma name) decides to have an eruption. I use coloplast 2n piece. I really had issues with the holister supplies that they gave me in the hospital after my ileostomy (I think that holister seems to have most of the hospital contracts). A fellow ostomate who was my "ostomy angel" turned me on to coloplast and I've been a happy camper ever since. I had my surgery due to crohn's disease in September of 2017, my stoma-versary is coming up at the end of the month. I do celebrate it every year as it literally saved my life.  It isn't all rainbows and kittens though and I have had my fair share of leaks during the night--which tends to throw me off for the whole day. Somtimes I can go months without an overnight bag leak, and at other times, I can have 2-4 leaks during a one week time period! 

I try to eat my dinner super early and then just drink a lot to flush the food out of my bag before I go to sleep-plus I make sure that I empty it before I go to bed. I'm open and honest about my ostomy, and if there ever any tips or questions that I can answer for you, don't hesitate to ask, everyone on this site is so super helpful, and believe me--there are never any questions that are too embarrassing.

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