Have you had issues with accumulation of gas in your pouch? In this article, you will find information on how to avoid this troublesome and awkward situation that affects many ostomates.
How Do I Handle Ballooning?
Ballooning is a term used when referring to gas accumulation in an ostomy pouch. This gas is expelled by the stoma.
Try Not to Swallow Too Much Air When Eating
Whether you realize it or not, we all swallow some air when we eat; some people more than others. What you need to strive for is to minimize the amount of air that you gulp down with your food. Typical examples are when smoking, sipping drinks and chewing gum. Furthermore, when you do any of these and talk at the same time, even more air is swallowed. If this is happening to you, adjust your habits if necessary to lower the volume of air bubbles that are being ingested.
Balance Consumption of Gas Producing Food and Drinks
Some types of vegetables like cabbages, lettuce, sprouts, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, beans, corn and cucumbers tend to produce gas. Carbonated drinks themselves are gaseous, that’s why they are at the top of the ‘guilty list’ among many ostomates, Carbonated drinks are just so common that they are difficult to avoid. For example, beer, sodas, and mineral water.
In all cases, consult your nurse, caregiver or doctor to get some dietary advice on how to reasonably balance food and drink.
Apply Various Techniques to Control Gas Build-Up in Your Pouch
Once gas starts to accumulate in the pouch, handling will depend upon the type of ostomy bag used and ostomy procedure involved (ileostomy, colostomy or urostomy).
Some bags have charcoal filters attached, which basically neutralizes the chemical compounds from human waste odor that produce the typical smell of stool. However, filtered pouches are not usually recommended for ileostomies since stool tends to be overly loose, and sometimes small amounts can leak through the filter leading to obstructions and possible embarrassing situations. Patients with colostomies tend to have less of a hassle with filters since their stool is usually thicker.
Gas can be bubbled out from the pouch system by barely separating the pouch from the flange to allow the gas to be withdrawn. Once gas is expelled, the bag can be placed back around the flange. Remember not to make any holes on the pouch, you want to preserve its tight enclosure and overall effectiveness.
Know More About Useful Pouch Accessories
Some products available on the market can be used to control gas build-up. EZVENT- Osto-Ez-Vent™ by KEM Enterprises is a product that allows faster gas release in ostomy pouches. The item is a disposable nipple valve that can be added to the pouch to be open and closed as desired in order to let gas out. It does not have a charcoal filter and can be found at: /kem-enterprises-ezvent-osto-ez-vent-tm-air-release-for-ostomy-pouche
Incorporate Supplements in Your Diet
For instance, many people with lactose intolerance need supplements to help control gas buildup and other upsetting symptoms. Pharmaceutical products like Lactaid® are suitable to control digestion of milk derivatives. They are available at /major-pharmaceuticals-700752-lactase-caplets-60s-compare-to-lactaid
Always consult your nurse or caregiver for more information on how to handle and prevent ballooning!