(Ileostomy here). After rereading some posts on this site regarding LEAKS I am starting to feel the more I read about “leaks” the less I understand the meaning of “a leak”.   ….could we all be confused or ill-informed as to what a leak actually means or is it just me?  My Virgo personality has a need to know an answer I can cling to  - yes I did say cling….it was the only word I could think of 🤔

A LEAK to me means anything breaking the outer bag adhesive barrier (where the rubber meets the road) …thus leaving a discoloration on the white tape and pooh wandering too far into dangerous territory.  The barrier ring within - against my skin does absorb liquid and I am guessing this is why I apply a barrier wipe substance to skin surrounding my stoma for protection from this seepage- I DO NOT consider this seepage to be a leak -  if there was no seepage I am guessing I could wear my bag for endless days - also output has a great significance to the leakage question…from what I have read on this site all newbies should learn the differences between ILEOSTOMY and COLOSTOMY for starters (and sorry urostomates I know nothing about that journey) and the huge differences in outputs (solid turds or the like or liquid)  from each category….someone PLEASE what the frick is a leak - and type of ostomy and output involved…Inquiring minds need to know…..THANKS.  jb


A leak is anything that gets under your wafer causing burning or itching . That burning and itching is the output coming in contact with your skin and burning your skin which your skin will get eating away like crazy and your skin is red raw and will get weepy in turn not only is your skin completely messed up but also your bags will not stick to the red irritated skin, along with the fact you don't want to get an infection either. 

Gray Logo for MeetAnOstoMate

Why Join MeetAnOstoMate?

First off, this is a pretty cool site with 33,419 members. Get inside and you will see.

It's not all about ostomy. Everything is being discussed.

Many come here for advice or to give advice 🗣, others have found good friends 🤗, and there are also those who have found love 💓. Most of all, people are honest and truly care.

Privacy is very important - the website has many features that are only visible to members.

Create an account and you will be amazed.

Past Member

I couldn't put it better if I tried Beth22 as this is exactly how it is for me if I am not careful with the sores when they come along. As well as making as sure as can be the bag seal is stuck the best can be. Although even at times the best wasn't good enough. 

Mysterious Mose

Yes to what Beth said. Any time I have constant itching and burning around my stoma, that is an indication of a leak and should be addressed before it gets worse or actually drops a big glop of poop on the floor. That is exactly what happened to me shortly before having to leave for the airport this past Monday. Fortunately, it was in the basement. Unfortunately, it was on a carpeted bit of floor. This was followed by a lot of colorful language and my having to do a quick load of laundry before leaving. The bad part is that I had already ignored the warning signs in hopes they would go away. Stupid me! :-(



I agree with what Beth said, too. Any itching or smell (that's not imagined) is a leak. If I change my bag and see a bit on the barrier ring, I thank the heavens above that I didn't eat anything that would've forced my stoma to work harder and pushed the ring right off my skin, thus, a true leak or, worse, a blowout. Daniel, I'm laughing at your story because we've all had some variation of that happen to us. How lucky you were at home. Sorry it was on carpet, though. I had it happen in my bathroom and had to scrub the grout on the tile. So much for an uncarpeted floor being better.🙄

How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Mysterious Mose
Reply to eefyjig

Heh! I was doing the final wash of dishes in the kitchen when I thought I had spilled water on my pant leg. But, when I went to the basement to throw the pants in the dryer, I reached down to find out just how wet it was and my hand came back a funny, dark color. Oops! Then, Plop! 😝


A Virgoan hey :-)



... Likewise ;-)



Succinct thinking and extrapolation are both good - saves a lot of misunderstanding and actually INFORMS a conceptual idea and also adds some definition of ambiguous expression.


My 'take' is a simple one [for me]:

I feel 'a leak' occurs when in fact there has been an oversight or failure of product or application .....

... causing the verb to 'leak' .... prior to a leak[age]  there is the pre-event ..... which by my own understanding is not yet a 'leaking' happening!


I found your posit, a valuable topic for exploration.


Thank You for posting it!



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ waves from the hills ~ ~ ~ ~ ~




I feel if folk were a little more specific and defining a lot of product quality and design for purpose would by definition result in a levelling up of quality product and also accurate instruction as to application of such products, and supplementary offerings or specialist varients .... so aiding understanding and providing the MOST DIRECT ACCESS  ROUTE TO THE BEST POSSIBLE SOLUTION / practice

Whereas, poorly made disposable items [that can fail and result in leakage] and badly instructed usage of stuff, especially when sold to the unsuspecting - results in a lot of practise [attempts to make perfect or better] to no useful outcome by poorly informed users;  All of which, sadly results in expensive learning curves - of vulnerable individuals and increased bottom line profits in the short term.


It seems to me that poorly definied and lower quality of design and manufacture are at the heart of commercial greed and promote excess consumerism for many disposable products  - not just medical appliances!



Thank You Justbreath.


A leak to me is when it leaks from the outer edge of base on to your clothing exct  but we all have our own thoughts on's when in some groups they call it exploding bags for there dramatic effect that really pea's me off....don't forget jejunostomy stoma's there in a league of there own when it comes to high and very loose output, I had one for 18 months there very challenging not many days went by without me having a leak and if I slept more than 1hr I would have a leak as the bag used to fill up quick and and can even be full by the time you do the Velcro closure up after emptying it that was daily thing but saved my life  

Reply to Ben38

WoW Ben!

[I looked up wiki just for background re jejunostomy stoma's ......

If you do not mind my enquiring, was this a long term experience for you?





Even more confusion in this old brain…it seems every question presents me with more questions ….I was trying in my old overwhelmed and overworked brain to better understand the ostomy vocabulary regarding leaks.  Trying to merely simplify the definition have I created a monster?  Well only in my own brain … still deciphering the initial definition of a leak I must take a break and go to my lounge chair and listen to Six String Music by Jimmy B… 🎶🎶well you can get into Beethoven or you can groove on Jimmy Reed but keep it simple stupid - all I really need is Six String music🎶🎶🎶 “ oh honeeeeee, please bring me my folk guitar 🎸 jb

Morning glory

Beth nailed it. 

Morning glory
Reply to Mysterious Mose

Daniel at least you were home. I sprung a leak while in the airport

Reply to Beth22

Well, I guess JB is right, there are different interpretations of what constitutes a leak, because what you are describing is not my definition of a leak.  Like JB, a leak to me is output going beyond the territory of the products applied to keep it out of sight, out of mind, out of smell range, out of a chance of leaking onto your clothing, bedding, etc.   As long as it's confined and stays within the bounds of the appliance, it's not a leak in my mind.  


Reply to Justbreathe

Whooooops - sorry


I still feel that if the stomal skin - under one's wafer is irritated - red - sore - etc etc ... then this has been exacerbated - and it is the consequence of a non-promptly address of a seepage or leakage ....

No disrespect ot Other's view by the way :-)

A 'Leak' can be caused by all sorts of things including non adherance, pooly cut wafer holes not fitting a stoma's unregaular circumference for example ..... faults in the bags themselves ..... and so on.

But, obviously, thats not the general view ..... so apols.



My PS BTW was just a general observation on some sub standard products too - which judging by some older posts on here have also been encountered.







Reply to eefyjig

An interesting topic for sure.  I can see both points in this.  I guess I always thought of a blowout as an especially catastrophic leak, ie, like the time I woke up at 2:00 a.m. in a pool of liquid feces that had soaked into my sheets, mattress pad and even a bit into the mattress itself, all from the top part of my two piece coming right off!  BTW, I don't wear two piece appliances anymore!



I've always thought of a leak exactly as you described it, but now after reading all the other submissions, I'm rethinking that.


ron in mich

Hi all whether its a leak or a blowout its still a stinky mess that needs to be dealt with or suffer the consequences, and in my 30 some years as an ostomate i,ve dealt with both public and at home.