Does Sugar Help with a Prolapsed or Ballooning Stoma?

May 25, 2024 10:58 am

I have read from members who suffered with an extended stoma that placing sugar on the stoma actually will retract it. Wondering if it works on ballooning stomas too?

It did not work for me recently. It just caused a glazed, shiny stoma. It began to weep, and the sugar started dripping off the ballooned stoma like liquid.

For those members who have used this trick, and it worked, my questions:

How much sugar does one put on the stoma? A pinch? A teaspoon? A tablespoon?

How fast does it retract?

My stoma ballooned, grew much larger than its normal size to where it could not fit inside the hole in the mounting plate. The O-ring too, needed a good stretching. Normally, over time it retracts by itself but not this time. And so far every time since the last 2 changes. A week's time in between...

I'm thinking if it stays in this ballooned state, it will be choked.

I believe a larger hole in the bag is needed. They are precut. 1 inch 3/8 diameter. It's been like this 8 years.

I just want to know if the sugar hack really works. I also found the heat from a hair dryer helps, too. It's crazy standing there waiting for the thing to retract when it seems it wants to take flight.

Thoughts? Thanks.

May 25, 2024 11:20 am

Hi Warrior, I shared that about 2 years ago on the site. It works for me. My surgeon shared that with me. I just sprinkle a little on my stoma. However, it will not go down immediately; it will take a few days. When I empty my pouch and rinse with water, I sprinkle a little more. I do hope this helps!

Good luck!


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May 25, 2024 11:22 am

Hello warrior.
I don't know about sugar or heat to shrink a prolapsed stoma. Mine will go smaller when it gets cold, so I would be inclined to use a cold item from the fridge (Like a beanbag or a cloth)  rather than a hairdryer.

I had a stoma prolapse a few months ago and it caused the stoma to cut into the wafer, so much so that it bled all the way round.
My response to this, was to find a suitably shaped plastic container top (from a bubble bath bottle), to go over the stoma in such a way that it held it firm and in shape all the way up. I have not had any similar problems since adopting this  DIY device.
I often wonder what else the stoma has in store to test my patience and my DIY skills.
Best wishes


May 25, 2024 12:17 pm
Reply to Angelicamarie

Hi. Thanks... it took a few days to retract? Gee... I don't have that kind of time to wait.

My impression was that sugar caused the retraction in a short amount of time.

I guess I was wrong. And as usual... the mantra may apply

"What works for one person, may not for another..."

This isn't working for me.

Thanks again.

May 25, 2024 12:24 pm
Reply to Bill

Hi Bill, thanks. I once tried an ice cube applied to the stoma.

Thought it shrunk a bit. The idea is to get it small enough to fit into the appliance.

You are lucky to suffer only once with a prolapse situation.

I am running out of luck.

And you are very clever-creative to DIY

things. Smart. Gotta improvise.

Thanks, Bill. How's the vision these days?


The hair dryer on the side is used just to dry the area around the stoma after washing that area. It's not directly near the stoma. Arm's length, on the side. I think it does help a bit.

Takes a lot of time though.

Here I thought sugar was an immediate response. It's not for me.


Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
May 25, 2024 12:49 pm

You might consult with your surgeon about revision surgery since it does affect your quality of life. 

My stoma is oblong, 2 1/4 at its widest, which is close to the maximum of my Hollister wafer. Plus, it sticks out over 2 inches. 

I always see pictures of stomas in ostomy supply advertisements. They are nice and dainty... not like the beast I have.



May 25, 2024 12:56 pm

Have you seen your surgeon? I would suggest you see your surgeon before trying all these things. You don't want to cause any damage or issues with your stoma, and you want to make sure everything is fine with your stoma.

May 25, 2024 3:13 pm

New meaning to “sugar coating” things. 😁

May 25, 2024 7:00 pm
Reply to warrior

Hello warrior.

Just to let you know that unfortunately I had a bleed in one eye, which set me back a bit. However all seems okay now and I only have to wait another week before I can get new glasses. Hopefully all will be well after that.

Best wishes


Carol N
May 25, 2024 8:35 pm
Reply to Bill

Bill, I had a bleed on the side of my stoma recently, possibly because it cut into the wafer. I'm not sure what you mean by "finding a suitably shaped plastic container lid to go over the stoma." Do you cut out the end of it so the urine is not obstructed? I'm very interested in this.

May 25, 2024 8:55 pm

My understanding is that sugar works for a prolapsed stoma, but not a swollen or ballooned one. I had my own experience with prolapse, and it was bad, five inches at least, and they put me under anesthetic to get it back in. The last words I heard the doctor say to the nurse as I was losing consciousness were "Have you got the sugar?", so I can't say how much was used!


May 25, 2024 9:03 pm
Reply to TerryLT

I recall your post on that. Thanks. Yeah, 5 inches would need an ER visit. I cannot imagine seeing that, going through that fix, geez. And there is no reason it occurs?

As for my ballooning tennis ball stoma, this was scary when sugar didn't work. I have never seen this happen in 8 years.

Definitely not a sausage, but a commercial-sized meatball.

Ha ha. Glad you got that sorted, Terry.


May 25, 2024 9:05 pm
Reply to Beachboy

Of course, not like the beast you have... Those stomas you see in ads are "professionals" 😉

May 25, 2024 9:06 pm
Reply to AlexT

Let's go to Dunkin' Donuts!

I'll take the red hot one glazed, please. To go. And lots of sugar.

May 25, 2024 9:17 pm
Reply to Beth22

Hi... no, not yet... this is only the second occurrence in a week.

Normally, it enlarges then retracts almost too far, retracting... damn thing has a mind of its own. I swear.

The thickness and diameter are two fingers each way.

It reminds me of a commercial-grade restaurant meatball.

I gotta spend more time figuring out if heat or cold causes it to react. Also, why on earth is it "coming out" now?

Thanks for the advice. Can't do anything with the holiday upon us.

Will send the surgeon a text. He's probably gonna tell me to see a stoma nurse... he has never seen this... his creation. But maybe he has some ideas.

Have a good weekend.

May 26, 2024 1:36 am
Reply to Bill

I also find that cold air makes my stoma retract sometimes so much that I worry it's going to go inside. A few years ago, the size of my stoma grew larger, maybe because I gained weight. So, I ended up getting a larger opening faceplate to accommodate it. However, now that I have lost the weight, my stoma size didn't change.

May 26, 2024 1:39 am
Reply to Beth22

If not seeing the surgeon, maybe go to an ostomy nurse. I think Convatec has ostomy nurses that can talk with you over the phone and even Zoom with you.

May 26, 2024 8:12 am
Reply to Carol N

Hello Carol N. 

Thank you for your interest in my post.
Unfortunately I think you misinterpreted what I wrote: "--find a suitably shaped plastic container top (from a bubble bath bottle)".
I'm sorry if this was not a very clear description, but I did not mean the 'lid/screw top', but was referring to the top of the container, which already has a hole for the liquid to pour out of. 
They say a picture is worth a thousand words!
I am not very proficient at taking photos, but, in the next few days I will try to take some pictures for you, to illustrate the DIY making of these devices for my stoma. I'll let you know if this photography and posting is successful.
Best wishes


May 26, 2024 11:59 am
Reply to AlexT

Awww. You're so sweet. 🤦‍♂️

May 26, 2024 12:37 pm
Reply to Carol N

Hello Carol N.

I'm not sure if the photos will come out on this post, so here goes!
Oh! and thanks for the excuse to write another rhyme on DIY.
Best wishes


PS: it seems that the pictures don't get posted in the same way as script, so I'll try to upload them to my profile 


DIY STOMA GUARDS. (pictures)





I did not think it would be hard
for me to make a stoma guard
that could be a perfect fit
and would let shit flow out of it.

The stoma guards I fabricate
would have to fit on my baseplates
and also they’d accommodate
attachments that would act as mates.

Attachments that I had in mind
were bags and sleeves of different kinds,
for routines that are set for me
to help manage my ostomy.

Some other useful things I use
are guidance systems that I choose
to fit upon the baseplates so
it helps the output freely flow.

So, these are things to think about
before I made a stoma spout
to fit upon my baseplates to
contain the stoma, not the pooh.

Looking back, it made me smile,
searching shops for quite a while
unscrewing lids to containers 
while seeking stoma constrainers.

And all the time that I did roam
the answer was right there, at home,
for ‘bathsoak’, which my wife had bought
was just the thing that I had sought.

The top of the container had
a shape that didn’t seem too bad
and what was more, its base was flat,
but I had not considered that


DIY STOMA GUARDS. (continued->)

The base acts as a wafer, and
for those who may not understand,
a wafer is the thing that sticks
to the skin for a firm fix.

So I cut off the bottle’s head 
but left the wafer on instead, 
then, the next thing that I do
is to remove the bottle’s screw.

There is a lip around the top,
which does seem handy as a stop
for the O-ring that can be
an add-on, for security.

This o-ring’s there to hold in place
a plastic sleeve, which helps displace
the output from the stoma to
the sleeve, then into the loo.

I thought that I should have regard 
for the gap between the guard
and the baseplate so, no spill
would lodge in there, there’s an infill.

The shape of this is smooth and nice
perfect for a guard device
that holds the stoma firm right to
the narrow end that is in view.

Of course, it might be better if
such a device was not so stiff
but, as it cost me nothing, I
will just be glad it gets me by.

I hope the pictures and the rhyme 
helps to show in space and time
precisely what this guard’s about
and how to make a stoma spout.

                                                B. Withers 2024


May 26, 2024 2:48 pm

Mayo recommended a pack of sugar. Should work in a short time. Rinse off immediately. Lie on your back and keep it warm. I was a radiographer and had a patient who needed a BaE through his ostomy to see if his remaining colon was cancer-free. Then we sent him to the toilet to dump it. Back on my table, to check his rectal stump, and it was hanging out like a dog's tongue. I paged the surgeon, who asked for sugar. He sprinkled it on the prolapsed rectum. Took 15 minutes and it retracted/shrunk.

I highly recommend you see a wound/ostomy nurse, ASAP! Yes, you can strangle your little buddy. Cut your wafer larger and fill in with an Eakin's ring or stoma paste. Or switch to a soft wafer. I like Convatec's. They will send you three free samples to try.

May 26, 2024 3:20 pm

Hey Bro,

Sorry to hear you're having issues with your 'thing' getting bigger. Too bad it wasn't your other 'thing' just below it! Ha-Ha...just kidding. So the sugar thing... remember how I keep harping on ileostomates with shortened small bowels drinking Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) to hydrate? Well, like I explained a few times... when you drink sugary drinks, your small bowel pulls water from your body to add to the sugary mess inside it in an effort to dilute the sugar to a ratio that can be absorbed (along with the sodium you should have also drunk). So whenever the bowel sees lots of sugar, it sucks water into it, which is why you saw what you saw. Your stoma is just your bowel folded over itself, so what you see sticking out is really the inside of your bowel, not the outside. Putting sugar on the inside of your bowel causes that water secretion I just talked about. When your bowel does that, it basically dehydrates itself and gets smaller... just like your skin does when you're dehydrated and you can see all your veins. The more sugar you apply, the more water it will pull from itself and should theoretically keep getting smaller. So if you're piling on the sugar like you used to do on your corn flakes... and it's not getting smaller... something is rotten in Denmark. And you might want to get that checked out. Just sayin'!

PS... you do know the whole family is coming over to your place tomorrow for a Memorial Day BBQ, right? I know how you tend to forget these things. So have lots of cold beer on hand so we don't have a repeat of last year.


May 26, 2024 6:32 pm

What an absolute looney, messing like that.

May 26, 2024 8:49 pm
Reply to w30bob

Uh... hmm... hmm... er... people visiting? Oops.

May 27, 2024 10:14 am
Reply to Redondo

I wouldn't trust an ostomy nurse with something like that. Us living with a stoma know more than they do, for one, and for two, when it comes to bigger things than just finding the right bag, it's the surgeon's territory.

Jun 01, 2024 5:18 am

Just a quick update... recent bag change last week.

No ballooning... (the stoma, not the bag). It was not normal, but a bit larger than normal... nothing compared to two weeks ago.

Not sure as of yet what to do...

If consuming too much sugar or not enough causes this ballooning, it remains to be seen. I won't be using sugar on it if it does balloon again... either heat or cold. I have seen it retract with heat...

It's odd watching it though... Lil' freaking alien...

If you kind of ignore it, it tends to shy back down... but if you keep looking at it, it appears to flex more outwardly... like showing off... don't need that... nope.

Anyone get the same thing happen if you ignore it? If you keep eyeballing it, it grows.

Jun 01, 2024 6:51 am
Reply to warrior

Here you go, bro... more than you ever wanted to know about prolapsed stomas.



Jun 01, 2024 7:37 am
Reply to w30bob

Thank you for posting this link Bob.
Whilst it is a typically long and involved medical paper, I found it both interesting and informative.
I was particularly drawn to the paragraphs describing the incidents of prolapse in relation to the outlet positions circumventing various muscles. This has very pertinent implications for the choice of the stoma site. At present, it seems that patients (including myself) are simply asked where they would like the stoma for greatest potential convenience in post-op stoma management, or even aesthetics.
Nobody mentioned that the choice of siting might have a considerable effect on whether a (later) prolapse might occur. 

Anyway, thanks again for the link.
Best wishes