Showering with an Ostomy: Need advice on disc lifting and skin irritation

Apr 27, 2013 8:22 pm
Hi everyone. I just had my ostomy surgery a few weeks ago and now I am home trying to figure everything out at once. My biggest concern right now involves showering. Every time I take a shower, the disc around my stoma gets soft and gooey and starts to lift away from my skin in different areas. I then will have to remove the disc to put on a new one. I like to shower daily, but the daily changing of the disc has irritated my skin around the stoma and now it is red, tender, and sore.

The healthcare workers in the hospital said to leave the disc on for 3 days and just change the bag to help the skin under the disc heal. Does that mean I can only shower every 3 days? Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Does this happen to everyone or just me? Am I doing something wrong? Please help.
Past Member
Apr 27, 2013 8:57 pm

Some folks wear some sort of covering, but it's more about keeping the bag dry. I think you can adapt something to cover the barrier/face plate.

Don't let the water from the shower pummel it.

If you have to bathe daily, maybe like a sponge bath where you are cleaning all your bits, but you are not under the running water of the shower.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

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Apr 27, 2013 10:01 pm

You didn't say what type of an ostomy you have. When you say disc, are you referring to the face plate/wafer? It could be the product you are using. Have you contacted all of the manufacturers and asked for free samples?

Apr 27, 2013 11:00 pm

I agree with Callie; it sounds like it could definitely be the product you're using, because I have no showering problems like that at all. I use a 2-piece appliance (Hollister's FlexTend). After I get out of the shower, I press a towel on the adhesive to soak up the moisture, do the same for the pouch, then I blast that puppy for a few minutes with a hair dryer. Dries it right off and I am good to go!

ron in mich
Apr 28, 2013 12:14 am

Hi Dixie, I go to Walmart and buy a pink tape made by Nexcare. It's waterproof and I tape all around my wafer. That solves the gooey edges for me. Ron in Mich.

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Apr 28, 2013 12:35 am

Hi Dixie. You may want to contact a few companies and ask for samples. I use Hollister and never had a problem showering. Also, check out the Tips for Ostomates section on the homepage. PB

Past Member
Apr 28, 2013 12:46 am
Hi ya
When I came home from my surgery, I could not stand to shower for about 6 weeks. I just mostly washed bit by bit.
My skin was the same, very red and sore. It was leaking all the time, and I had to change it quite a few times a day.
The skin should become less tender over time, and you will be able to shower normally.
I shower every day without the bag using 'simple soap'.
But until the skin and stoma have settled down, it's best to take it easy and try a partial wash, keeping the problem areas dry and any surgical wounds dry too.
Apr 28, 2013 1:48 am
Thank you all so much for your help. I have a lot to learn and every response gave me ideas to help ways to try.

I am so glad that I found this forum! I am so thankful that there are so many kind people willing to help others through something as difficult as what we are all going through. I hope one day I will be able to pass on the learning as well as you are passing it on to me.

I have a colostomy, by the way. I went to the emergency room thinking I had kidney stones and it turned out to be diverticulitis that ruptured. I was one week in the hospital and 10 days after that in rehab for antibiotic infusions. I have been home for three days now.

I will try covering the bag while I shower and I like the blow drying idea as well. I am also going to try a different product. The one that I am using is made by Hollister and is a two-piece unit. It is what they gave me to come home with. Maybe I need something different.
Captain Tact
Apr 28, 2013 2:43 am

When I get out of the shower, I usually wear a robe for a few minutes after. I'll flip the pouch "up" so the underside is dried by the robe. It doesn't take long, and it gives me a little more secure feeling for the rest of the day.

Apr 28, 2013 9:14 pm

Thank you

May 01, 2013 8:36 pm
Hi Dixie,
Welcome! I must agree with LostRealist. I couldn't shower for some time myself. I had to do like Sinful Sot says. My husband bought me a shower head that also had a handheld shower attachment. You still have a bit of healing to do, and if you're not doing much to get dirty, a sponge bath is a good idea. I prefer to shower the normal way most days, but sometimes the handheld and a sponge bath is the way to go. As soon as you heal completely, you will be able to shower daily again. Some of us shower with the press and seal wrap that you buy for covering food. Put it over the wafer or if you use a one-piece pouch, cover that up too. I shower with my back to the running water when I have my appliance on. Try not to let the seal get soaked, and you'll be okay. Do not use soap with perfume or lotion. Like everything else, it comes with practice.
May 02, 2013 12:21 am
I suspect this could be the root problem. I would suggest that you rid the bathroom and shower area of anything except "yellow dial" or something similar that you know contains no oils, lotions, or perfume (90% of soaps do). I also agree after your skin "toughens" up a little you will have no problems with a normal (not extended) shower...have faith....keep us posted as to your progress?
May 02, 2013 6:55 pm

I want to thank everyone again for your priceless experience and feedback. I have listened and followed everybody's suggestions and am now showering (every other day) keeping the area dry. The disc is staying on and I feel wonderful!!

May 03, 2013 12:56 am

That's great news, Dixie~ woo hoo!

Past Member
May 03, 2013 5:57 am

We were all noobs once. You will pay it forward when the time comes.

I find corresponding with others in the same situation helps me cope.

You may also find these helpful:
May 10, 2013 10:07 pm

I bought a box of 1-gallon size baggies and placed tape on the sides, then placed it over the entire colostomy bag. No problems since. I even use the same baggie several times, and tape is cheap, keeping the colostomy bag and base nice and dry. It will all come together for you.

Scott Chance
May 11, 2013 12:40 pm

For the record, I use Coloplast Sensura bags and have never had a problem showering. If the temperature is too warm, the adhesive sometimes loses its grip on the far edges of the plate, but absolutely nothing that will stop you from going about your daily business.

I would not hesitate in recommending Coloplast Sensura to other ileostomates.