You may have many questions regarding intimacy after ostomy surgery and may be confronting issues such as: How to empty and clean an ostomy bag.
Unless your ostomy nurse tells you differently, emptying and cleaning your pouch is an easy job that only requires developing the technique that is most appropriate for you. According to the American College of Surgeons, Division of Education, several steps are usually performed when emptying and cleaning ostomy bags. Listed here, are some important ones that can be applied at home or outdoors.
Tips on how to empty and clean a drainable ostomy bag
- Always have a new pouch and wafer with you for replacement, if needed. Use toilet paper or a clean cloth or wiper to clean the bag. If you are out, also have a toilet seat cover as part of your ostomy kit!
- When you are ready to empty the bag, you can choose the position that is more comfortable for you. You can either, stand, sit or kneel in front of the toilet to let the pouch contents out. It´s a matter of personal preference! Two important things: do not place too much toilet paper on the toilet because this may cause it to overflow and produce a terrible mess in the room and, also, try to avoid getting toilet water splashing on you or your clothes.
- Clean your pouch outlet with toilet paper or a dry cloth to prevent soiling your abdomen and hands.
- If you are quantifying bag content, place an appropriate container beneath the bag outlet. If quantifying is not asked for, the output can be emptied straight down the toilet.
- Open the bag and aim its content either to the measurable container or directly to the toilet. Place the bag between your index and middle finger and slide fingers down until stool is taken outside the bag. You can also use clips that have been found to do the same job as fingers when emptying the bag. Don´t forget to wash your hands and flush the toilet!
- Once quantifying is finished, its content is also emptied into the toilet and the container is washed and stored. Don´t forget to flush the toilet again!
- When the bag is empty, fill it about one third with water and gently stir it. Wash it out once or twice. Proceed to wipe the inside of the bag with toilet paper before adding a deodorant if wanted.
- Finally, wipe the pouch outlet with toilet paper or a clean cloth and seal it again. Dispose of used toilet paper. Avoid filling up the bag with air. This may often cause the bag to leak which, in turn, implies more cleaning. Don´t forget to wash your hands again before leaving the washroom!
- Now, you are ready and have a few tips on how to empty and clean an ostomy bag!