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The use of the word "bag" to describe an ostomy pouch.


No wonder people have such misinfomed and disrespectful attitudes towards people with ostomies, and worsened by ostomates who use the term, as well. 

I find the use of the word "bag" to describe an ostomy pouch, demeaning and disrespectful. 

To me, its my pouch, part of the appliance I wear, a result of life saving surgery from a debilitating and killer illness,  and deserving of more respect.

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You are absolutely entitled to you opinion and feelings, please know that none of us mean negate how important our appliances are to our lives. I personally have used both references at one time or another mostly pouch, but bag has slipped out from time to time. There truly is enough to deal with in our daily lives as ostomy patients without getting hung up on the semantics of what to call it. 

Sincerely gail aka Rosiesmom


Pidgent yes it is a very bad word for me to hear bags ar 1cent pouches are not bags only the people who use the name bags ear in a sense bags ' 


I think you need to clarify your statement!!!!! I am most assuredly NOT a bag.


No I ment people who call pouches bags are probably bags ' I don’t like the word bags eather.first thing the ostame nurs told me Thea don’t sell bags ' im with you pouch is not a bag.


The use of words is often a problematic pasttime. In the context of stomas the term 'pouch' sometimes refers to Jpouch, which is a different meaning to the external receptacle for waste.  


If I knew someone didn’t like referring to their appliance as a bag I would respect that person’s wishes and call it a pouch, but to me calling it a bag isn’t intended to be derogatory in any way and does rather accurately describe what it is.


I can't believe anyone would be so worried about what to call your appliance. I call mine a bag and it doesn't bother me in the slightest if others refer to it as such. Pouch is probably more accurate but who cares! We have much bigger things to be worried about, like being alive!


My sentiment exactly!

I'm going to be very blunt on my aspect of the Appliance or Pouch and or Bag and come right out and say it's a sack, a sack full of sh... waste or whatever you want it to be. Whether it's demeaning or disrespectful it holds what we as Ostomates can no longer do as we once did and having it as a Life saving apparatus makes do druthers to me. Just my Opinion for there isn't anything I can do to change it for I'm not remotely interested in having a J-Pouch. Eight years of having the above definition I have accepted it graciously.

Touché, a bag a pouch by any othe name is still what it is, a reseptical for disposing of waste. Which may also call by any name you wish.


Charleston Guy,

I'm with you.  My sensura mio is a plastic bag covered with some softer gray material, glued to my stomach to collect bodily waste--aka shit.  There is NO OFFENSE or DISRESPECT ever intended by using the term bag when I describe my appliance, but some folks seem to take offense. A rose is a rose is a rose....

I never understood naming the stoma either, but I totally respect anyone's desire to do so, especially if it helps them in the acceptance of their life changing situation.



It is disrespectful to be told by someone else how to refer to something that I have earned. I earned this bag by surviving cancer. How dare you presume to have the right to try and tell me to call my bag something else. But guess what, feelings don’t kill you. If we are going to be a society of victims, the wolves will be well fed!


Totally agree, mine has always been a "Puuch"


Sticks and Stones may Break my Bones

But words shall never hurt me. 


intrepidagent :  If semantics is the biggest issue you have as an ostomate, you must be doing very well indeed.   My bag is like my bra or my sanitary napkin.  They do a job and are inanimate objects.  They have a function and do not demand respect in my experience. If you feel disrespected it may well be a reaction to your disrespectful behaviour toward others and not what your ostomy receptical is called.


Wow intrepigent, ( sorry if name incorrect) I wonder if you had any idea what an avelanch of emotions you were going to open up with your post. As I said in my first response you are entitled to you feelings and opplnions, by the very nature of that you must allow those of us who feel differently to do so. I became a member of our exclusive group after a rectal cancer diagnosis. I too wear my pouch/bag/sack as a badge of the courage it took to go through the chemo radiation surgery that i endured to get here. Very much ALIVEand making the most of every. So call it anything you want I am one of the lucky ones still around to hear you. Take care and don't sweat the small stuff.


A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Trying to think like I have a brain, a bag by any other name would still be the recipient of our waste and part of the appliance that probably saved our lives. Unfortunately, some might care more about what it’s called than what it does for us. Just a thought.




Mike, the analogy was only meant to point out that it doesn't matter what it's called, just the purpose that it serves.  Obviously not the best analogy, but one meant with good will in an attempt to remind us that it doesn't matter what one chooses to call it, but rather to respect the purpose.  For some of us it is a means to remind us of a  life saving situation, for others it is no more than a constant reminder of a terrible abuse of power that left them dissatisfied with the outcome.  And no, it certainly does NOT smell sweet. :)

And Mike, you ALWAYS seem to think like you are using your very ample brain., because you apparently always give great consideration to your comments.



I recently covered this exact topic

In short, "bag" is by far the most widely accepted term to describe it. Most other terms either cause confusion (even among other ostomates) or may simply be misunderstood as something else. 


Thank you Dadnabbit.  You're very kind.




My "old bag" is either my wife or a discarded ostomy bag. I use the terminology with the greatest of love and respect, for without either one this life would be too miserable to continue...


I guess I’ve never stopped to think about what I call it, really makes no difference to me but I respect those who are sensitive to it. First I had an ileostomy then got reversed then a year and half later I had to have a colostomy which became permanent. It’s been 3 years now with my colostomy. And no, I do not and don’t have any intention of naming it, do you name your butt hole? I did not get to be my age by stressing or worrying about what I can not change, I just go with the flow of life. Happy to be me 😉



Thank you for your comment. As an ostomy nurse of many years and someone who has trained at least 25 new ostomy nurses, I agree with you. During training I was reminded not to refer to the pouch as a "bag". I have passed this on to those who I have had the pleasure of training.

I must tell you that through the years I have been referred to as "The bag Lady", I tell everyone "Yes, I am"... I consider it a term of endearment. 

ACNS-bc, CWOCN, PhD candidate


hi from you know any nurses with ostame.


. i call mine a daiper  


I don’t wear my pouch unless I go for a long ride or a doctor appointment.i cal my pouch my crap ' funnel things.aney thing but bag ' .after all its just food theat keeps us cleaning not the bags or pouch. its the having to convey ' to toylet .the more you eat the more you go.with not wearing a pouch my stoma has came out and has gotten larger in skin around stoma is back to normal.i think people should spend more time with out the ' more often nice chat 


You are correct! Much more to be concerned about!


It is a bag. Someone referring to my bag as a bag would have no effect on me. Enough PC culture out there without us making an issue of calling a bag a pouch. 


I think if that's all you have to get concerned about, you are doing fine. Maybe you need to lighten up and, as long as you understand the description, all is well.

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