Handling Leaks in Public


How do you handle this situation? I had my first leak but I was at home. Freaked me out. What if I was out and about, not near home, no bathroom nearby?


Hi, Susan:

Great question. I always try to have a spare pouch, wafer, and ring with me wherever I go. I also keep a roll of TP in an old plastic coffee can in the trunk of my car, as well as hand sanitizer and paper towels. This amount of preparation will go a long way to allow dealing with most situations you may encounter.

Lately though, I've become more confident with my pouching system. I'll go on long bicycle rides. I found carrying all this stuff was an inconvenience and I never really had to use it anyway. So now, I'll take a roll of waterproof tape with me. If the wafer starts to loosen, I tape it right back on, and off I go. I've used as many as six pieces of tape, three or four inches each, to hold the entire wafer on.

This is what I do but I'm sure others have even better ideas. It takes time to get it right so don't get discouraged if you have a little leakage every once in a while. Hope this helps!


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Hi Susan53, Happy Labor Day weekend. I have had a few issues with my wafer and pouch over the years. I always carry waterproof tape with me. It secures things in place until I am able to fully address the problem. I also carry a change of underwear and an entire change in my pocketbook. It is better to be safe than stressed out because of a leak. You may also want to look at your wafer. There are two types....regular and extended wear. Regular is used to absorb more moisture so I have been told and the extended has more sticky adhesive. Depending upon where you live and environment is how we are to select the product we use. I just learned this at the UOAA conference. I use the extended wear but found it irritates my skin in the warmer months because of perspiration, cooler months I am okay. The WOCN suggested that I change up the wafer periodically to give my skin a rest. Hope this helps Susan. Take care and have a nice day. LH


Hi Susan, how bad was the leak? Were you able to figure out why it happened? Perhaps you did not get a good seal that particular day!

There are really very few places where you could not get to a restroom. So please try not to psyche yourself out. As Mark said, I always carry a bag of supplies. A precut base, my paste, baby wipes, and extra pouches, and doggy poop bags. I keep them in a pretty cosmetic bag in my purse. I only ever had one major leak while at a Cirque du Soleil performance. They had large portable toilets. I went in, changed out, fortunately no clothing was soiled, but I discovered I had forgotten to apply my paste, then ate an Italian meal before the performance. I won't do that again. The world kept turning and I learned a lesson. Susan, we will all continue to learn the can and can't does of this new normal. You can try to anticipate, but please don't let it hold you back.

Take care, Rosiesmom


Hi Susan,

Convatec offers a free carrying case (has clip to hang on a bathroom stall hook) that is portable and that is what I use to carry extra supplies when I am not at home. Call them for this and they will send you one. I carry 2 cut wafers and 2 extra pouches, zip lock baggy for depositing the pouch and wafer plus the adhesive remover. I also carry the 4x4 all-purpose sponges which make for quick clean up of a messy stoma. I have had only one problem while out and that is when I tried the moldable wafer for the first time. I carry supplies in my briefcase and golf bag and a backpack in my car when I travel around. Do not leave these in the extreme heat as it will ruin the wafers. Good luck and you will get more confident with your system as time goes on. Penguins7

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister

The leak only got onto the paper which was pretty wet and smelly when I caught it. It was day three, I've been getting 4 days. The only difference was I didn't wear the belt which I hate. Is the Nu Hope belt any better? I use Hollister convex. The Contectec moldable was great with no belt but the paper was stiff and irritated me.


Susan53, have you ever tried any other products? I started with Convatec products 15 years ago and thought they were my best option, but when my insurance carrier forced me to switch to Hollister, I thought it was a disaster. However, I actually found out that they work better for me and are more comfortable. Don't be afraid to try some other products until you find what works well for your lifestyle and your specific needs. Most companies will lend you samples for free. As far as the belt goes, I was completely convinced that the belt was a must. I just did not feel secure enough without it, but I found it was all in my head. I now use the belt only if my bag is a little iffy and I'm close to needing a change but need to finish what I'm doing. I'll put the belt on, but otherwise, I'm belt-free. But you need to work at it!


Hi Susan,

I have had my ileostomy for more than 50 plus years, since I was 15, and the supplies back then were not that reliable. Although I've had leaks on occasion, while I'm out, I rarely carry more than a roll of tape with me, if that. I guess I "like" to live dangerously. I've found that tape will generally get me through any leak, for a few hours at least, until I get home. I read the posts in reply to your post, and you got some good advice, especially from Lady Hope Rosiesmom. Keeping supplies in your car is a really good idea. There are always public bathrooms around, and I find that fast food places have the best options, unless you can find one with a handicapped stall that has a sink. It takes time, positive thinking, and a desire for "things to work". When I'm out with friends, I take note of how often others have an "emergency"...and are afraid of wetting themselves or worse. I think we forget about those times.....I just know that life with an ostomy is far better than life with Ulcerative colitis.

Best of luck, Marsha


Marsha, thank you so much for your positive perspective regarding leaks. It is a breath of fresh air. You are correct.....a leak, although upsetting, is better than losing complete control of your bowels. (which I did prior to UC surgery) I have tape too at all times...just in case. Another trip that I do, I will not eat a large meal out. I eat but do not stuff myself because that is when Stanley goes into overdrive. One minute the pouch is flat, the next...well you you. It is good to hear from you. Hope your summer was super. Thank you again. LH


Ooppsss.... Correction - not you, you know.... LOL.


I too have had my share of leaks in public. Some were very bad and I had to go home to get showered and change clothes. Not too long ago I discovered Sure Seal rings. They give me great confidence in not having the leak escape before I realize something is wrong.

I don't think many of us will ever be leak-free, but with the right conditions, products, and preparations we can keep them under wraps.