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

Posted by Pinky, on Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:36 pm
The use of the term "pouch" is encouraged, not to be PC, but to inform the ignorant that an ostomy is a SYSTEM...a pouching system. The ignorant includes insurers, including Medicare which at one time was threatening the coverage of accessories that some of us NEED to make our ostomy systems work at a humanly decent level. "Bag" is also very often used in a demeaning way as well by people who get off on mocking ostomates in their so-called "jokes".
Reply by delves, on Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:46 pm
MrPlod: The original question was, is there anyone that can help him understand his ostomy with regard to clothing to ware in sports. I can tell you about stealth belt which was invented by a runner with an ostomy. You can check with out at "" great product.
Reply by delves, on Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:54 pm

                    United States Private Message
Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:46 pm
reply reply with quote edit
MrPlod: The original question was, is there anyone that can help him understand his ostomy with regard to clothing to ware in sports. I can tell you about stealth belt which was invented by a runner with an ostomy

Reply by ostomygirl207, on Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:09 am

yes however when you meet someone or you first tell someone you have an ostomy ....they always say OH IS THAT A BAG.....and it really ticks me off

so I do think we need to re educate the public on what is going on with ostomies....they seem to think it is NO BIG is just some 

bag you stick on my stomach...LOL.....I explained to one person recently about how my small intestine END is coming out 

of my abdomen near my belly button.....LOL and they freaked out.....what do they think this "BAG" thing is for...???? LOL ....I also always 

correct people when they use that term...and tell them it is a POUCH....I want to EDUCATE the general they will be more

sensitive to how they talk about ostomates......

Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:47 pm

Being a Norwegian this is not a problem at all. We simply don't say bag or pouch at all but yes still there are also misinformed and disrespectful attitutes found in countires where the bag-name is not used. At the moment I live in Germany, and the name bag is not used here eighter. There is a world outside the English language and even outside the USA. 

From this we can learn it is actually not about a name at all. So we should look elsewhere. And if you say bag or pouch does really not do change anything.

My private bias is that we should not say bag or pouch in English at all but dress. My Janis has a dress. :-) Please do not insult her by believing it is a pouch or a bag. 


Reply by 2purses, on Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:36 pm

I totally understand the wish to have people refer to our appliances as pouches. I have both a urostomy and colostomy (lottery winner) and I have adjusted well. I live a quality life though there are things these pouches prevent me from doing, including stay at other people’s houses. Things can get messy and the odor is often gag-worthy. So despite adapting to this situation, I often feel it has robbed me of some dignity-esp when something unexpected sends me flying to the bathroom. Using the word pouch feels more dignified. Not as many jokes made about it. Granted not everyone has a problem with social perception and has no problem with the dignity factor. All I can say is carry on!

Reply by Bill, on Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:07 am

Hello everyone! I just love this thread and wanted to thank you all for actively participating in the discussion.

I have found it educational, instructive, entertaining and, the essence of what you all say, will definitely form part of my stand-up comedy act - if and when I find the time to indulge myself in this particular item on my bucket-list. Interestingly, I don't use any of the terms listed thus far:  " bag, pouch,sack, appliance/accessory, waste disposal unit, sanitary napkin, recipient of waste, daiper, dress, purse or 'BADGE' (which is the concept I like most). Because I irrrigate, I tend to use a 'sleeve' for the actual process, which I fold up to make a temporary receptacle for the waste before flushing it. At nights I wear a sensura-mio device which is still just a small 'sleeve', which I can empty in the same way as the larger 'sleeve'. During the day I use a stoma 'plug' so, whenever anyone makes a comment about me having to wear a bag, I automatically and instinctively inform them that I don't wear a bag, but I wear a plug instead during the day. If appropriate, I then get into a humorous educational introduction to stomas, beginning with how much easier it has been managing the shit from the front, than it was when I was incontinent of faeces through my arse.(when I also had to wear anal plugs - which held it up and then let it all flush out at once down my 'drainpipe' trousers.)  If, by this time, my audience remains with me, I will share some humorous horror stories about embarassing disasters from the past,  which were not funny at the time, but in rerospect, can be laughed at in the same way that some people find 'candid camera' sequences highly humorous.

I find that much of human humour is at the expense of someone else's misfortune and it might be that people who laugh at this stuff are consumed with a complex mixture of emotions which motivate them to express (relieve) themselves by laughing as an alternative to crying, being embarrased or getting angry.

For me, I think that humour directed at myself, seems like an acceptable way of helping people to laugh 'with me' at tragedy, at the same time as being 'educated' into the unfortunate circumstances of their fellow human beings.

Thank you all once again for sharing your thoughts and experiences in this way.

Best wishes


Reply by currentsitguy, on Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:12 am
intrepidgent wrote:

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.





I tend to be rather flippant in my terminology. I find a bit of humor helps me to cope. Heck, I'm also a Type1 diabetic and I've been known to refer to an insulin dose as "shooting up", and my pen as a "warm gun". :)

Reply by britathrt60, on Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:19 am

Honestly you can call it whatever you like....I have always called it a bag when meeting someone new and they know right away what I mean..At the end of the day "It is what it is" and I call my stoma Ozzy....For all of us who are on this Ostomy journey we have to lighten up and be grateful that we are alive..Take care everyone.




Reply by Pickles, on Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:31 pm
Love your attitude Angela! I am with you!
Reply by honestabe, on Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:36 pm

Have woman living with me ! We are very intimate! Having fun at 67!

Reply by britathrt60, on Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:21 am

Thanks Pickles....take care.

Reply by panther, on Fri Aug 24, 2018 2:42 pm

Your life your choice you can call it anything you like in the end it all comes down to the same thing it's a bowel on the outside....called mine a bag for 30 years that's my choice no one else's 

Reply by eddie, on Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:46 pm

I agree it is just a word, a rose by any other name smell as sweet, lol

Reply by dls, on Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:32 pm

Well, Intrepidgent YOU may call your personal ostomy items by any name you wish.  However, if I didn't have a sense of humor about these things I would never have been able to make the adjustment.  My stoma is called Stomy (and is male), I refer to one-piece appliances as 'onesies' and two-piece as 'twoonies' (you know, like the Canadian two dollar coin). I agree with many of the opinions already expressed.  One more thing, I have found that by airly saying 'oh yes, my cancer did result in my getting a baggie' puts people at ease.  Regardless of how fastidious I am about my personal self-care, for those completely uninitiated, it makes things much easier to understand.  Using a lot of specific medical language can (and is) an affectation and off-putting to those who don't understand. Not to be rude, but pull your finger out and relax. dls

Reply by AquarianGirl, on Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:40 am
I've always referred to it as "my appliance" or "my pouch" and that's my personal choice. To me, a bag is a bag which has the connotation of being a bag LOL. Out of respect I wouldn't refer to another's appliance as a bag ... just not me. And I'd likely be offended if anyone called mine a bag.
Reply by Bagit, on Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:05 pm

Coming from a Military background I got a big laugh out of this subject from the very begining.

Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:27 am

Could you please clarify why a military background should create a big laugh here from the very begining?

Reply by Bagit, on Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:18 pm

ไหว้, Knut

I was raised by a no nonsense navy seal who fought in Iwo Jima was captured, tortured for 6 months and finally freed. 

His standards are old school and I prefer them to todays world of political correctness which only strengthens peoples biases and adds to the current uneasiness that seems prevelent today.  Less sensitive, more outgoing is better.

I didn't think twice when speaking about the plastic bag that adhears to my holy temple. 

How do you feel about the bag that we all wear on this site?  It reminds me of the money belt I wore when visiting Chiang Rai.

Namaste Donavon

Reply by Bill, on Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:04 am

Hello Namaste. Thank you for your reply to Knut's question as I was wondering the same thing. I am currently writing about humour and the reasons why we 'laugh or lament', so a different perspective is most useful.

Best wishes Bill 

Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:55 am

Thank you for your reply. I think I understand. To me this discussion is strange mainly because English is not my first language and we only have one word for the bag in my language. I see it for some is important to say pouch and for others it is OK with bag. Personally I really do not think it matters at all what we call it if we are concerned by the stigma. I think that is just bias to focuse on the one word and exclude the other. And I know some people without stoma smile a little bit about this.

In English I prefere to call these things a dress because my stoma is named Janis. She has a dress. It is as simple as that and this word I also uses when talking with others in the language I then may use. If we want to fight the stigma (which is the reason for the discussion about these two words) I believe it is better to have fun and show people that we have fun calling it different things. That is better than saying we do not like one word but only another. 

People actually think that is a little bit nonsense.

Reply by Ewesful, on Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:26 pm

bag, sack, pouch....what difference doesit make--- the pouch reminds me of tobacco pouches and I have no use for the word 

Reply by latina63, on Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:49 pm

I think what happens sometimes is that it's easier for people to understand. I remember when I had my ileostomy (reversed now for 6yrs), people had no clue when I said ostomy or even pouch but when I said my little poop bag on my side EVERYONE understood. Hopefully now there is more awareness about it and people can understand more when you say "ostomy". This is just my opinion from my own experience of wearing an ostomy for a year.

Reply by Kissy, on Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:28 am

Hi, with all my due respect to your opinion, I am not worried if my pouch is called a bag or a luggage.

I have a retracted stoma that leaks constantly.  Had RC 5 months ago and still trying  to find the right pouch AKA bag, appliance.  That is what I must concentrate.

Reply by Bagface, on Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:20 pm

I call mine a "bag". "Appliance" sounds like a refrigerator

Reply by Robb, on Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:25 pm

I say pouch too don't like to say bag

Reply by Mike & Nuisance, on Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:42 pm

Hmmm, having had a 'bag' for 50 years, it started off as a bag, and only when new more fashionable bags came along they were "poshed-up" to "pouches". I still wear my bag, but now trying out pouches...


Must admit, we're not bovvered... 

Reply by charleston guy, on Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:59 pm

Let's see, it was an appliance then a bag to a pouch. But now I've come to calling it my Bling. Though it my not be gold or silver but it's still hanging from my body. 

Just say'in !

Reply by w30bob, on Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:00 pm

Some posts (and the responses they generate) on this site are absolutely hysterical. To me this is one of them. I couldn't care less what anyone calls their shit bag. I always wear a clear bag and love showing it to curious onlookers.  That grossed out look they get on their face when they realize what it is they're looking at is truly priceless!  Reminds me of that once popular saying.....don't sweat the small stuff.  Lighten up people.



Reply by warrior, on Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:33 pm

I am glad someone brought this up. I really don't mind what this thing is called. to me it is not derogatory. I believe it is a bag. If I were a penguin or kangaro, why yes it would be a pouch. something accessible for  things to be put inside.  only thing going into this is my shit.  am respectful if you decide to name it, john, paul or george.   dont care.  I just think naming it, you ought to be able give more infomration on it.  like a social security number or favorite color.  where it like to go on rainy days.  but no, it doesnt bother me on bit. I have a bag.  I use a bag.  to me its that simple. I will never give it character. 

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