Marshmallow Trick: Solving Stoma Troubles!

Oct 27, 2014 6:53 pm

I have found a great trick for all of you who have stomas that like to come out while you are trying to change the bag. I learned it from a home ostomy nurse when we couldn't get a bag to fit on right. If you eat like 5 marshmallows 15 to 20 minutes before you change it, the marshmallows actually dry the little stoma up so you can get it changed. And you even get a little break before it starts to flow again.

Just thought I would share that little tidbit.

Allie in NJ

Oct 30, 2014 6:42 pm

Thank you Allie from NJ.

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Oct 31, 2014 1:28 am

No problem. I know it sounds very strange... I thought the ostomy nurse was nuts when she told me to do that... now I am never without bags of marshmallows. 5 of them normally do the trick... especially if you know ahead of time you are changing the bag on the following day so you cut out eating at a certain hour... but it even works when it springs a leak. Depending on when it happens you might need to eat more. I have seen it where I have eaten my few and waited the 15 to 20 minutes and it dries up but it will start trying to begin outputting again while we are changing it and I put 2 more down my throat and darned if it stops trying to output again!!!

Good luck if you try it and let me know if it works!


Nov 01, 2014 8:51 pm

I use a hair dryer to heat both seals of the ostomy bag and flange, not much, but then it fits right together. Also, heat the flange seal when changing it out, and then it's good for 7 - 10 days. I haven't tried going longer.

Past Member
Nov 01, 2014 10:25 pm

That marshmallow trick has been around since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, but thank you on behalf of all new ostomates!

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Nov 01, 2014 11:37 pm

So when you say, "dry the little stoma up", are you saying the stool flow stops or the stoma itself becomes dry/smaller? Sorry if this is a dumb question but I have to starve myself on changing days until about noon before the flow stops enough to where I can safely change it. My routine is always remove the old, shower, then apply the new. Thanks!

Nov 02, 2014 12:40 am

Why not do like I do and change first thing in the morning after going all night without eating? This is always the best time because of fasting without food for many hours. Never have a problem.

Nov 02, 2014 1:26 am

Thank you Allie in NJ... I'm not quite a dinosaur yet and I'm delighted to hear of something to help with a big problem I have even when not eating for 8 hours before change-out. I'm trying the marshmallow tip tomorrow and hoping for the best. Thanks again for posting.

Nov 02, 2014 1:44 am

Because the first thing in the mornings is the worst. I have to empty 3-4 times by 9:00. Even after not eating since 6:00 PM the night before. Then, by not eating or drinking anything after waking up on change days, usually by 10:00-12:00 it has tapered off.

Nov 02, 2014 3:26 am

I would imagine this is helpful for people with ileostomies. I have a colostomy and I eat two times a day and my stoma is active two times a day. I do my changes during my "quiet time". People with colostomies need to be careful here with marshmallows, they are binding and can cause constipation/blockage. I was warned by my ostomy nurse and a friend of mine who has had a colostomy for seven years to not eat too many marshmallows.

Nov 02, 2014 3:42 am

I'm surprised no one mentioned this. Marshmallows, or any food with glucose or high carbs, wouldn't be advisable for cancer patients like myself. Cancer cells feed on sugar.

Nov 02, 2014 4:58 am

Don't help urostomy patients

Nov 03, 2014 4:58 pm


Although I know about the marshmallow trick and have used it in a pinch...even after an evening meal when there is a leak, I try to do my changes without because of the crap in the ingredients. We each have our "quiet times" except for urostomates. If I can, I change then, if not, I always keep some folded up toilet paper at hand while changing. Having the whole change ready at hand ahead of time helps a lot too. Standing at the bathroom sink while getting stuff ready in case of eruptions. I have even found that having the "intention" of a quiet stoma helps. Sounds strange but it seems to work most of the time. Most of all, not getting too stressed out about it is best.

Carrying a couple of paper towels in my purse "just in case" for damage control while out is a must. Fortunately, that has only been an issue twice in 2 1/2 years.

Using a flat bedsheet folded up like a draw sheet on my bed for nighttime accidents saves on changing the whole bed.

Just some practical tips.

Nov 03, 2014 5:32 pm

Lucky for me, my mom stole like 3 chucks from the hospital on 3 different occasions, so I sleep under that so my sheet doesn't get ruined anymore. I still can't get it to stop filling up with air at night if I fall asleep, so I always have my cell to go off every 3 hours when I do try to rest. The marshmallow trick has gotten me through a lot. Luckily, when I have had a leak in public, it hasn't shown, so I have been able to get home.

I don't think a lot of people know about the marshmallow trick. When I first heard about it, I thought it was nuts. LOL.

Nov 03, 2014 6:00 pm


Is your surgery recent? I too had severe problems with "air" during the night. In fact, before I knew I was supposed to wear the elastic support belt that connects to the wafer (Hollister brand), I woke up one morning and inadvertently hit the bag with my arm as I was rolling over and popped the bag right off. There were many mornings it was so full of air I couldn't understand how it didn't explode. The Mayo Clinic ileostomy nurse told me I had to set my alarm clock to empty in the middle of every night. This didn't last long - I was getting such terrible nights sleep. But over time, it has been a year and a half since my surgery, things calmed down and I now rarely have this problem. I probably saw improvement within 4 - 5 months after surgery. Your body needs time to adjust to everything. Plus, you learn what foods cause air and avoid those. (Unfortunately, I am "addicted" to Mountain Dew and carbonation is a no-no for us). I never get up in the night now and, knock on wood, have not had a leaking episode in bed since that one event early on.

Nov 03, 2014 6:59 pm

I have had an ostomy on and off for 7 years now. I have to wear the belt, but I get the one from Coloplast because the Hollister one is too uncomfortable. I have always had trouble with air at night...and for some reason, if I have an IV in the hospital, my bag fills up faster than I can get to it, so I don't sleep there either. Strange thing is that it doesn't do it to me during the day if I take a nap. Strange.

Jul 01, 2016 12:21 pm

I too have trouble with gas. I am on Eliquis which is a blood thinner. The side effect is gas. I am trying to find a bag that gets rid of the gas.

Jul 03, 2016 12:28 am

Hi Honestabe,

I have never heard of a pouch that has a gas relief system that is reliable, but you could attach these vents that make it easier to manually release the gas.

Jul 03, 2016 12:33 am

I had some delivered yesterday by my supplier and will try it out in the morning. They did say, if you have a lot of gas it won't work. I will let everyone know, as I'm sure I'm not the only one with this problem.

Jul 09, 2016 8:21 pm

Honest Abe,

This little device is not going to solve anything, but it will make it easier to let out the gas from the bag

Jul 09, 2016 9:29 pm

Was a waste of money. You were right. It's a joke for gas. The bad thing about it is I have 18 bags left.

May 03, 2021 6:21 am

Thanks, Toria,

Glad you said that. I thought the same. And my daughter mentioned the marshmallow trick. Lucky to those who it does help.


BAYS zwj

Nov 13, 2021 5:29 am
Reply to Hermit

I have Coloplast Sensura Mio 2-piece click pouch. It has a really good filter, but if it gets wet, I can unclick it, pull it off just a bit, push on the bag, and the gas comes out. Then I pop it back on and click it. I call it burping. I love this system!

May 31, 2024 3:25 am
Reply to vollovr

Mine is a party girl. She hardly ever stops flowing. Even when stopping food for 2 hrs before bed. I learn to do the best I can. Very hard at first. But I'm glad to be alive. Almost 4 months in and still learning to adjust.

Jun 13, 2024 4:22 pm
Reply to alliejmw2

Hi Allie,

I read your post about marshmallows. What size marshmallows do you eat? There are big ones and little pebble ones.

Thanks, as I am excited about trying them.