The byproduct of wearing an ostomy bag is a set of concerns that may include skin irritation and problem concealing the ostomy appliance. You can address both these concerns by using a DIY ostomy bag cover. Preparing an ostomy cover is a simple project that requires a piece of soft fabric and intermediate sewing skills. The best thing about preparing a cover this way is that the cover will be right according to the shape and size of the variety of bags you use.
Items that you will need in this regard may include:
An ostomy bag that you will use for tracing
Tape for measuring
Paper for making patterns
Double-fold bias tape
Here is the step-by-step process to make an ostomy bag cover.
Create a pattern for the cover
If you use a drainable ostomy bag, close it and place it flat on the paper. Use a marker to trace its edges. Trace the flange opening as well. Make sure that the traced edges of the flange opening are 1/8 inch larger than the actual size of the opening. Cut out the pattern of the front of the bag. Do not cut the flange opening.
Use the same size to create the back pattern of the bag. Carefully cut the pattern to create the flange opening. You may want to use the measuring tape to measure the distance between the sides and edges of the flange opening. Make sure that the overall size of the patterns is larger than the actual size of the ostomy bag.
Cut the pattern pieces
Spread out the fabric in a single layer. You may want to iron it out if it has too many wrinkles. Lay out the paper patterns on the fabric and staple them. It will make cutting the fabric easier.
Sew the flange opening
You can stabilize the opening of the flange by stay stitching near the edges. Use double-fold bias tape to enclose the flange opening. Fold the end where you want to start sewing. Keep folding the end right before the sewing. If you have trouble using a machine to sew the edges of the flange opening, you may want to hand-baste the bias tape.
Create the back section of the cover
Press 1/4-inch on the two back sections at their splitting line. Sew the turned edges to create a hemmed edge on the back sections.
Lay the front section on a flat surface and then lay the larger back pieces over the front section. Make sure that the edges are aligned. Then, lay the small bottom back on the upper part to align the lower edges. Pin the edges to keep the entire arrangement in place.
Join the front and back sections
Lay the front and back sections over each other in such a way that their edges are aligned. Pin the layers and start sewing. Make sure that the internal space of the cover is 1/4-inch larger than the ostomy bag.
Although the name suggests it to be a paste, it is not a paste at all. It is more like a caulk rather than a glue or adhesive. The main purpose of this caulk like paste is to fill in uneven skin contours in order to develop a flatter surface for the better attachment of ostomy pouching system. The flatter skin remains completely flush against the barrier/flange; and this caulk/paste is the material that ensures this required flatness. Remember, the fissures or contours in the skin can lead to the dislodging of barrier/flange, resulting in the leakage of ostomy pouching system.
With the help of this paste, you can ensure longer wear time of the pouch and greater protection of your skin against irritation which is usually caused by stomal output and moisture.
Tips for using ostomy paste
First of all, you are going to have to clean the stoma to allow the paste to remain there for a longer period of time.
Avoid using soaps because they can leave residue which can affect proper adhesion.
You are going to have to dry the skin completely because ostomy products do not work with the wet skin.
You can place the ostomy paste on the barrier or directly on the skin.
You can use ostomy paste as an alternative to the barrier ring or seal.
Method of ostomy paste application
The paste is usually applied to fill the gap between wafer and skin. If you are doing the same, you are going to have to squeeze the tube to get the paste out. As the paste comes out, follow the small circle in the center of the wafer to make a ring of this paste. Using finger to smooth the paste out is completely safe for skin, so you can do it if you need. The paste needs to be applied to the side of wafer that has to go against your abdomen. After the application of this paste on the wafer, you will want to let it set up for a minute before applying this wafer to the stoma. Now you will need to hold the wafer against your abdomen in order to let the paste make a good seal. But one thing that is worth mentioning here is that this paste is not glue. It is just a filling that prevents leakage and, so, contributes in the longevity of your wafer as well as the pouching system.
The moisture around stoma can cause ostomy barrier/flange to lose adhesion, leading to the leakage of stoma output. Furthermore, this leakage can cause serious kind of irritation in the skin surrounding the stoma. One of the ways you can stop this moisture from leaking out and causing damage to the ostomy pouching system and your skin is to use the stoma powder.
Stoma powder is not something like baby powder or body talc. So it is not going to be a good idea to use them interchangeably. This powder can be used with a colostomy, ileostomy, and/or urostomy. The main function of this powder is to absorb moisture to stop it from reaching the flange/barrier in order to let it adhere to the stoma in a better way. And by stopping the moisture from leaking out, it helps the skin around the stoma to heal. But remember, this powder is not a skin protectant. It doesn’t also prevent irritation. It just stops moisture from leaking out and dissolving the adhesives of the flange/barrier. The relief that you get from irritation by using this powder is due to the powder’s ability to absorb moisture from the skin, letting it heal properly.
Why does the skin around stoma get irritated?
The irritation in skin can occur due to coming in contact with the stomal output and/or moisture. Leakage can occur as a result of inappropriate fitting of the ostomy skin barrier. In certain cases, the stoma can get recessed. It can cause the stomal output to leak out instead of going into the pouch. You are going to need a convex ostomy system to manage the recessed or flush stoma. Removing the ostomy barrier too often can lead to the tearing of top skin layer of skin around the stoma; and it can also lead to irritation. You have to make sure that the skin around your stoma is as healthy as the skin elsewhere on your body. The ostomy pouch will not adhere properly if the skin is broken, raw, or weeping. If your skin remains moist and irritated, you can contact the medical professional for help.
Using the stoma powder
Clean the skin by washing it thoroughly; and dry it.
Apply stoma powder on the irritating part of the stoma skin.
Make sure that you are applying stoma powder only on the raw or moist part of the skin.
Use a soft tissue to brush away the excess powder. The powder applied on the moist part of the skin will stick.
Make sure that no stoma powder is left on the surrounding skin because it doesn’t help in preventing irritation, and it can also interfere with the proper adhesion of ostomy system.
You need to stop using stoma powder once the skin is healed.