How Often Do You Experience Seal Failures with Your Ostomy?

May 08, 2024 7:59 pm

Hey gang, long-time ostomy guy here. Thirteen-plus years with an ileostomy. Generally, no complaints. Crohn's disease, life-saving surgery, great surgeon, good insurance. My question is about how often folks have a seal failure. I've had them on and off over the years, and I've dialed in my products to get a very satisfactory result overall. I try not to let my appliance go too long—about a week is ideal—but I still get seal failures more often than I'd like—say, about once every three or four weeks. I have a pretty physical job, so I know that is part of it. I'm wondering how often this happens to you.

May 08, 2024 9:03 pm

I am happy to say I have not experienced any increase in seal failure myself, but sad to say it seems others are having the same issues. There was another post just today about a similar problem, both related to a decrease in quality of ostomy products. Unless you just got a bad batch, which can happen, it sounds like quality may be deteriorating, which is very alarming!


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May 08, 2024 9:55 pm

4 in 3 years but I can account for 3 of them. 1) Too many oatmeal raisin cookies at once. 2) Tried a different setup. 3) Had a bunch of pancaking while in a hyperbaric chamber. 4) Not sure but it never felt “right” when I put the bag on to begin with. Only the first time was messy as it happened at night and I think I rolled onto it. The other ones the cloth edge stopped it from coming out and getting messy.

May 08, 2024 10:29 pm

Every time I take my 64 lb pup for a walk, he pulls big time. I called a certain place for advice and got a snotty reply. I emailed and complained about poor customer service. When they got the email, they told me to buy my supplies somewhere else.

May 08, 2024 10:46 pm

Try changing your barrier at 3-5 day intervals. It is likely that you will have fewer failures.

Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
May 09, 2024 1:46 am

Yep, everyone has a timeline on how long your setup will last without issues.

May 09, 2024 2:56 am

Slimwhitehicks - ha ha. That's a cool handle.

You said you have a physically demanding job.

Saying it's part of the reason behind a failure is an understatement.

I can blow a seal in a day at my job. Bending, lifting, and depending on what you ate, too... oh boy.

Shit happens. Leaks happen.

Getting a week out of your appliance sounds healthy.

It's the nature of things - like sweating, heat, temps. It's gonna happen - a leak.

A breach, a blowout.

I look at this the same as I would for clothing... whether it's your socks, underwear, etc. It requires changing. Just an adjustment to become a habit or second nature kind of thing.

Have you heard of the extender C strips? They help prevent the blowout from blowing out onto you. Great stuff. The seal is definitely shot, but the extenders keep it inside, buying you time to get the appliance replaced.

May 09, 2024 5:48 am

As already suggested by other members, change a day or two earlier to see if that makes a difference. If it was daily or weekly, I would suggest trying another product, but your setup is working OK. It's over 10 years since my last leak. I know I've been very lucky for now.

May 09, 2024 7:34 am

"About a week"!!!

With an ileo!!!

I'm not surprised you're getting leaks. I've never gone more than three days.

May 09, 2024 11:06 am

Great insight from everyone. Thanks!

May 09, 2024 11:22 am
Reply to Axl

Ack, I was thinking the same thing. I have to change every other day. I get almost three days sometimes if I'm lucky, but that's a rare one lol. What can I say? Ms. Briella likes to wiggle, shoot, and move crazy about.

May 10, 2024 1:21 am

I like to change every day, but I can last 2 days if I have to. I just can't stand how nasty the bag gets. I've never tried longer, so I'm not sure how long it would actually last without a blowout.

May 10, 2024 8:13 am
Reply to Beth22

Tell me about it. I think I have gotten 4 days a few times, and that was some sort of miracle.

May 10, 2024 9:16 am

I'm currently experimenting. On day 10, same wafer. Changed bags a few times. I wafer change tomorrow... I'm just curious how long I can go if forced to. You never know... I might be kidnapped by a band of bikini babes and held hostage in a sandcastle.

May 10, 2024 3:18 pm
Reply to Beachboy

As if... 😄 (Band of bikini babes)

May 12, 2024 1:23 pm

You want to replace the fan belt on your car before it breaks.

I change my wafer every 5 days.

May 12, 2024 2:56 pm
Reply to warrior

Fortunately, the bikini babes took a "rain check." Still, gotta be diligent walking the beach this summer. If I'm spotted and chased, I'll give Warrior a call for backup as I zip across the sand. 🐋🐬🐠🦀🦞🐚😇

I removed my 10-day experimental wafer to discover... perfection. No redness, skin trouble, or leaks. Did have quite a bit of hair growth. Used an extra remover wipe to unstick them all. Since I have a colostomy with well-formed output, I was able to get away with keeping my wafer on so long.

May 15, 2024 7:41 am
Reply to Beachboy

Well-formed output BB, I wish. I have a colostomy, and the output is mostly pasty/sticky due to having to take 150 mg iron tablets. When not taking the iron, it is semi-solid. Is your colostomy on your descending colon?

Jun 09, 2024 12:25 am

I can only vouch for a maximum of 3 days. I have 3 prolapse areas. I've tried all the tricks to get them back in, but as soon as I bend or cough, they pop out. My stoma is 54mm, and I use a slight convex wafer.

I have no confidence with regard to leaks. I get them at least once a week. It usually happens because of activity. Gardening, cleaning. Anything with bending. I also get leaks because I live in Central Florida and I sweat a lot.

I use a 6x6" Brava protective sheet. It works great if I'm not doing anything physical. I'm frustrated and feel isolated.

Jun 09, 2024 1:00 am
Reply to Axl

Drives me nuts... especially because it takes anywhere from 2-4 hours every time for my bag change. My stoma doesn't have a quiet time ever, so it's a marathon each time. By a miracle, I will barely get 3 days. Oh, the stoma life... Honestly, too, I think they are messing with the products. I know for sure they are with Coloplast. Every month I have to call Coloplast for replacements because the bags have holes, and then the replacements they send have holes, and it will continue until I finally get a batch that doesn't have holes. I know they have messed with the adhesive too; they made the plastic way thinner than they used to be as well.

Jun 09, 2024 3:27 am
Reply to aTraveler

Yes, descending. I only lost 12 1/2 inches of colon during surgery. Very rare I experience watery output. Makes for an easy-to-maintain wafer and bag.

Jun 09, 2024 3:35 am
Reply to kayakkaren941

You might consider stoma revision. Prolapse is no fun. Mine prolapses out quite a bit at times. It looks like an accordion. I usually ignore it. It does cause a huge bump under my shirt, making me look lopsided. I'm going to see my surgeon soon about hernia repair and stoma revision. I probably won't do the hernia repair... it depends on what my surgeon thinks.