DIY Ostomy Bag Odor Control Tips and Hernia Discussion

Jul 04, 2024 6:10 am

Hi guys, I am new to this site and just looking for some input on things. Right now, my current issue is constantly smelling my bag even after I have just cleaned it out. I don't have a filtered bag, so I know it's most likely bag lifting in spots. My biggest issue right now is that I have developed a very large hernia that just keeps growing, and I know that is causing my bag and wings to not sit perfectly right. So, I have been doing some research over the last few days, which is what led me to this site to begin with. I did see some different options which I am going to give a try myself. At the moment, I am attempting baking soda, but if anyone can give me input on how much and what they even do. Last night, I tried mouthwash and baby oil, which didn't seem to mask the smell very well. I did see some people saying lavender baby oil works the best, but I am allergic to lavender, so if anyone has any suggestions, all ideas are welcomed. If you give me tips on what to use, please also add the advice on how much and how to do it. Again, thank you all.

Jul 04, 2024 7:07 am

Hello Vanessa.
There are loads of anti-smell products for sale and I'm sure others will advise on these. 

I was really interested in the word 'homemade' (in your topic title) which implies DIY.
This opens up a myriad of possibilities.
If you are allergic to lavender, then look around to find stuff that stinks (pleasantly), which you are not allergic to.
In my garden I keep rosemary, thyme, garlic, & several different mints, all of which can be made into smelly concoctions for adding to the stoma bag rinse. Near me, there is a community garden where they pride themselves for growing 'smelly' plants and they have given me permission to take any that I want to. I like the smell of the Linden tree, but unfortunately, it doesn't like me. 
On a different tack:
I used to find that a lot of the obnoxious smell came from the fact that the baseplates/wafers did not adhere properly to my skin .
My solution was to make my own baseplates to suit my needs & shape. At first, I needed two holding belts of different lengths because one would not hold the baseplate firm enough. With more experimentation, I found that a convex baseplate could be held in position with just one belt and some prosthetic glue. since using these devices, the problems of obnoxious smells has been contained within the bags/sleeves, rather than escaping for all to smell.
I do hope you mange to find a 'solution' for this problem.
Best wishes

PS: I feel I must thank you for this concept on the grounds that it has prompted me to write a rhyme (below and in the social talk category) 


Stoma aroma can arise
and can take us by surprise
so, we should always be on guard
as explanations may be hard.  

Stoma stink is not much fun
for me, for you, or anyone 
and, if we’re not meticulous
it makes us feel ridiculous.

It’s not the same as common farts,
for when the smell of stoma starts
we know that other things may come
from this appendage on our tum.

The worry of a leak, for us
might cause us to fuss or cuss
but worst of all, we don’t want it
to seem to others that we’ve shit.

There’s something distasteful about
the smell emitted from our spout 
and so, we don’t want others to
experience the stench of Pooh.

Some of the smells are unforgiving,
unnerving, and undeserving,
both for us and others too
so, we must come to the rescue.

Thus, it’s up to us to try 
to use our skills in DIY
to circumvent these bad events
by DIY experiments.

I’ve tried everything I know
to get the fouler smells to go,
but when they’re there, we can’t not share
this process that floats through the air.

I hope one day, that we may see
something to make us all smell free!

                                                B. Withers 2024


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Jul 04, 2024 8:24 am

I have been using baking soda for years.  It's cheap and effective.  I keep a little bowl next to the toilet and use one of the clips that Hollister supplies with my bags to dip some in each time I empty.  You could use anything from a popsicle stick to a small spoon.  The potential disadvantage is ... what about when you're away from home?  Since I rarely go anywhere, this is not a problem for me.  If I am out and need to go, I'm normally going to be home shortly thereafter anyway and so I don't worry about it.  Baking soda absorbs smells, which is why many people keep a small, opened box of it in their 'frig.  

Jul 04, 2024 3:55 pm

G-Day Vanessa, the best thing you can do is get the hernia repaired before it becomes too big and makes it a bigger operation than it needs to be. Regards, IGGIE

Jul 07, 2024 10:12 am

Vanessa, try putting 1/2 of a dryer sheet over the front of your bag. You can lightly tape it or fold it into the bag's pouch. Good luck!

Regarding the bag lifting (if I understand it correctly), use Eakin seals - they are the best!

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Jul 07, 2024 12:41 pm

You are using a reusable bag. Rinsing reduces the seal around your stoma. Does the wafer or flange lose their "grip" after a few days? It depends on the brand. I found Hollister leaked the most. If your hernia is a prolapse, it will also break the seal. I developed a prolapse 4 years ago. I went to a special PT that works with abs and women with incontinencies. She has strengthened my stoma muscles and core. My little buddy stays home much more, I am stronger, and I can hike twice as far. In 6 months.

Jul 07, 2024 1:00 pm

A couple of things... Have you considered switching to a 2-piece system? I use the Hollister, and the flange/adhesive is super flexible and holds well.
They also make a bag deodorizer that is also a lubricant, so output moves to the bottom of the bag more easily.
Lastly, I use a spray called Skin Prep that makes the flange stick much better and protects the skin at the same time.
Good luck.

Jul 07, 2024 3:25 pm

I used to have that issue a lot and now only once in a while. When I do, I take Devrom Internal Deodorant Capsules. They are also chewable. You can sometimes get them from the pharmacy or from your ostomy supplier. They used to be covered before I was on Medicare, but now I have to pay for them.

Sometimes they help and sometimes they don't. I have found that sometimes it's either from the food that I eat like broccoli or cauliflower, and sometimes it can be from supplements that I take like Vitamin D or B12. You might want to try eliminating anything you think is causing the odor because I have also had the problem that it doesn't go away even by cleaning it and using deodorizer in the pouch, and I even use a heavy odor-free pouch. It's coming internally. I have even had MRIs and other testing to make sure there was nothing wrong, and fortunately, there wasn't.

Hope you can get it resolved because I understand and empathize with you. Good luck.

Pouch Potato
Jul 09, 2024 4:42 am

I have found Listermint Strips work. I put one in the bag daily and my poop comes out minty fresh!

Jul 09, 2024 5:37 pm
Reply to Pouch Potato

Love your "handle" - describes a lot of my days lately! Thanks for the chuckle!

Jul 10, 2024 5:04 pm

I read here on this forum that half an aspirin works and have been using it ever since.

Jul 11, 2024 12:29 pm

Vanessa, a properly fitting ostomy appliance should not emit odors. There are two likely causes:

1) The drainage opening is not being properly cleaned after each draining.

2) The barrier is indeed lifting in spots, as you are surmising. If this is indeed the case, this situation is of utmost importance to resolve — you are in danger of a major leakage problem. Barrier extenders are available to provide additional adhesion — free samples are available. You may want to consider using a barrier ring or barrier sheet to create a flat surface to adhere the barrier — free samples from Coloplast, ConvaTec, and Hollister are available. Coloplast also has a barrier that will adhere around hernias — free samples are available:

You should also use a support belt — Nu-Hope makes good hernia/ostomy support belts: