Preventing Embarrassment with My Air Bag Attachment

Jul 27, 2016 6:05 pm

Hello everyone,

It was my first night out over this past weekend since my surgery... For the first time, in a long time, I felt beautiful in my sundress!!! The music was good and the non-stop laughing with my family was well overdue! After being out for just a few hours, I looked down and saw a balloon! I said to myself, go away!!!! Luckily, I didn't feel so bad because I was with my family. In addition, my dress was loose enough to camouflage the bag along with my purse when I stood up. At this time, I'm not strong enough to dance (which is one of my favorite hobbies), but all I could think about is, what if I was on the dance floor and this happened!?!? As you must know, I'm not quite comfortable with my new attachment!!! I ate very little that day and only had one drink. I would truly appreciate any suggestions on how I could prevent this from happening going forward!!! Thanks in advance!

Ms. Air Bag attachment!!'

NJ Bain
Jul 27, 2016 6:32 pm

Hi Nina,

I'm so glad you got a chance to go out and feel beautiful because you are!! I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to dance but you will soon. You will adjust to having the pouch in no time, I'm sure.

I'm not sure what kind of pouch system you use (1 piece or 2), but here are a couple of things I've learned over the years as an ileostomate.

As an ileostomate, it takes about 5-6 hours from the time you eat to get to the stoma. Everyone is different depending on how food or drink affects their body. You will eventually get your own schedule down but having an idea of when you think your stoma will start voiding can help you plan around going out.
Avoid carbonated beverages as they will produce a lot of gas, as will sipping through a straw. I know when I drink soda or beer, it can create the balloon effect after a couple of hours but eventually, you don't worry about it so much. At least I don't, I guess because I'm so used to it.
Avoid chewing gum. As with chewing gum, you swallow a lot of air and don't even know it.
If you eat food that produces a lot of gas like beans, for instance, you can always pop a Gas-X or use Beano in the food to eliminate the gas.
If you use a drainable pouch, try wearing 2 clips instead of 1 just in case one of them fails. I learned that the hard way.
Check out and see if there are any items there that will boost your confidence.
And finally, depending on the pouch system you use (I use a one-piece drainable pouch), you can always go to the restroom and empty it. You don't have to rinse the bag out, but some people do. I know restrooms at some places aren't the most sanitary in the world, but you can always carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you. Whenever I empty my pouch, I lay my hand flat over the stoma and fold the pouch over my hand as to get as much air out of the pouch as possible.

Again, these are just things I've noticed since I've been an ostomate. But just remember. No one is looking to see if you have an ostomy. Most people aren't going to know you have an ostomy unless you tell them about it. Be confident and live like there's no tomorrow. You seem to have a strong personality, so I'm sure you're going to adjust just fine. I'm sure plenty of folks here are going to chime in as well. Let me know if you have any questions.


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Jul 27, 2016 6:55 pm

Hello again Bain,

I now know what the problem is, gum chewing! Thanks so much for the list of tips! I'm going to purchase some Gas-X tomorrow as well as hard candy. Also, thanks for the encouraging words. God bless you!!


Jul 27, 2016 10:27 pm


Gas build-up is inevitable. As NJ Bain said, there are ways to deal with it and various causes for it. I found the best thing to do is make it to the restroom and burp the gas out of the bag and empty it. You can certainly do this in the stall with total privacy. They do sell bags with charcoal filters that allow the gas to escape, but I have tried these and do not like them; found them to leak and ruin my clothing.


Jul 27, 2016 10:50 pm

Hi Nina...tomorrow it will be 3 months since I had my emergency colostomy secondary to a rupture in my sigmoid from diverticulosis. Initially, I also had a lot of problems with the pouch ballooning...I wasn't chewing gum or doing any of the other "avoids" I just had a lot of gas in the pouch. My homecare nurse got me started on a charcoal filter pouch and they work like a dream...I no longer have to burp Leftie Louie (the name I have assigned) ever. And I am eating a lot more food (well, variety of food I should say). The only time I had an issue was when I had a hankering for .....BROCCOLI. I cooked it to death, chewed it to death...but my system was not in agreement with me and let me know about it. So no more broccoli.

There is just one issue and I've learned to work around it. When I change my pouch, I put in a deodorizing lubricant - for some reason the pouch tends to stick to the stoma initially so I have to open the pouch and create an air barrier (I guess you could say I'm adding gas sort of!). Usually after the first day, this is no longer a problem.

I hope this helps...try the charcoal filter - it gets rid of the gas in the bag and is also a deodorizer. You can ask Hollister to send you a sample and they will oblige (I use their products).

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Jul 27, 2016 11:44 pm

Hello Xerxes and Erma,

Thank you for responding to my post! Everyone has been extremely helpful! I guess I will have to change my diet as well? The only green vegetables I like right now are asparagus and broccoli. I will contact Hollister for samples of the charcoal filters. Thanks again for responding, you all have made my day!

Jul 28, 2016 12:07 am

I have been slowly adding in cooked vegetables... I can safely eat carrots, mushrooms, French-cut string beans, and baked potatoes. No broccoli and no asparagus. I try new foods slowly... right now I have started to add raw fruits... slowly. So far, so good.

Jul 28, 2016 12:35 am

I can give up the broccoli but not the asparagus! Lol! I would only eat very little after my surgery because most smells grossed me out! I lost a total of 70 lbs. within two months... In February, I made four trips to the ER due to low potassium and dehydration. The only thing I could eat for weeks was fresh pineapples and salad, all day long, yukkkk! As of now, I enjoy every bite of what I eat!!! The good part is that I'm eating healthier than I ever did prior to surgery!! Thanks again for your help Emra!!!!!!

Jul 28, 2016 3:11 am

It's wonderful to read all of these great posts. The fact that you want to "dance" is wonderful to me. My intent for most of the folks that I know is "I Hope You Will Dance". In fact, it was highlighted in my office in a nice poster. My clients really liked that. In fact, at the end of a session in a group, the folks did dance. My dear, you will too.

Jul 28, 2016 3:59 am

Wow!!!!!!!! Thank you so much Bettyjoe!!!!

Jul 28, 2016 6:08 am

Hello Nina. I have nothing to add to the great posts you have recieved other than to say thank you so much for starting them off. It's been a pleasure to read through them.

As they say on 'Strictly'   - 'keep dancing!'

Best wishes


Jul 28, 2016 2:15 pm

Hi Bill,

I'm truly happy that I'm a member of this site and that I took a chance on expressing my feelings/concerns! The support from everyone has been overwhelming in the greatest way!!! Again, I thank you all and will be sure to give the site information to anyone in need at my next doctor's appointment! Feeling truly thankful and not so much alone!!! My new slogan: Start dancing, Keep dancing!! Thank you!!


Jul 28, 2016 3:03 pm

Hello Nina. I'm really looking forward to reading your updates.

Best wishes


Jul 28, 2016 10:49 pm

Hey Nina, great stuff.