Stoma retraction and size changes: Any advice?


I sometimes have a problem where my stoma retracts so flat to my skin that I worry that it's actually going to go inside of me. When it retracts, then there is a problem with leakage.

Does this happen to anyone else? If so, is there anything you can do to help the situation? Sometimes, it also gets larger and then I have a problem fitting my appliance over the stoma.

Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thank you.


My husband has a urostomy and his stoma moves and changes sizes. He uses a convex flange even though his stoma is usually an outie. I wonder if that would help with the leaks when it retracts on you? Just a thought. Maybe you could get some samples and give it a try. It also changes sizes from time to time. Not the opening itself, but the stoma is sometimes chubby and sometimes thinner. Kind of weird, isn't it? Amazing really!

Gray Logo for MeetAnOstoMate
Top 5 Collections
Past Member

I've had an ileostomy for three years now. My stoma changes sizes very often. My stoma nurse has told me when it goes flat to your skin, it could mean signs of dehydration. This will also cause leakage because your output is like water caused by the dehydration.


My stoma used to be quite flat, so I used a convex bag and rings underneath which helped push it out and caused fewer leaks.

Past Member

The only time my stoma (ileostomy) retracted was when there was a partial blockage. It also hurt when it would happen. Now that the blockage has been resolved and I'm more mindful of how I chew, there haven't been any retractions for two months.

Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister

Sounds just like my stoma. I call it playing "peek-a-boo". Anyway, I switched to a convex baseplate and it has stopped all the leaking. I use Hollister two-piece, closed-end pouch, New Image. I also use a colloidal ring on one side, where my belly dips down, and that helps also. Good luck.


Hi there, I have just recently experienced 'leakage' and on further investigation noticed a bit of a 'bulge' which was causing the 'stoma' to pull in towards the bottom of my tummy. I visited the surgeon, had a CT scan, and it appears that I have a small 'hernia' which he will repair on the 20th June 2014. I have been okay with leaks as I flatten the bulge upwards when fitting the flange...

Past Member

My husband has the same problem and the only appliance he can use has a convex wafer. Are you using a convex wafer? One company, I don't remember which, has a new wafer with a soft, flexible inner edge that you can 'roll' to shape, which could be your solution.


Hi. Thank you for your reply. I don't think I see any bulge or experience any pain. I think it just seems to have a life of its own and retracts and detracts on its own. I think someone else's comments on being dehydrated is something that I can relate to and will try to drink more water.

Hope all is well with your situation now. Take care.


Hi everyone and thanks for your replies. Thankfully, I do not experience any pain. I use a very old system and use a hard/semi-flexible mounting ring. I also use an Ekin seal which is very pliable to mold around the stoma.

I think Guest's comment seems to apply more to me that I am possibly dehydrated and will try to be more mindful of drinking more water.

Thank you for all of your helpful comments.

Stay well!



I was told this was normal and actually caused by peristaltic waves. I was in the rehab center when it first happened and I thought I was hallucinating from medication. When I was post-op, I really did hallucinate from a morphine drip.


Hi Moonshine

Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure what peristaltic waves are? However, I think my problem seems to be caused by dehydration.

I too hallucinated when I was in ICU, as well as the person in the bed next to me, too! It was wild! Although it happened over 40 years ago, it's something I will never forget.

Stay well.



It is normal for the stoma to move about some. Mine plays peek-a-boo all the time. I was having leakage but am using a convex flange that has helped a lot.

I had never heard the dehydration theory regarding a retracting stoma. I do know when it's ready to blow, it retracts somewhat.

Try a convex flange and see if that helps.

Good luck, Marisa


Hi Marisa... Yes, I do use a convex flange. But sometimes this is not enough when it retracts right down, so there is hardly any stoma sticking out.

Thanks for your help.

Good luck with you, too.


* Please, do not post contact information, personal information or advertising.
All times are GMT - 5 Hours