As we get older, our bodies may undergo some significant changes. Sometimes, those changes mean surgery that results in you having a stoma. While these can be life-saving procedures, they can also come with their own set of challenges.
One such challenge is keeping your skin protected and healthy around the ostomy site. In this blog post, we’ll share some helpful tips on how to protect your skin when using an ostomy so you can focus on what really matters: living life to the fullest.
Caring for Your Skin
Taking good care of the skin around your stoma is essential, as irritation and breakdown can lead to discomfort and complications. By following a proper skin care routine, you can ensure that your skin remains healthy and pain-free.
When cleaning the area around your ostomy, make sure to use a gentle cleanser, like a mild soap or soap-free cleanser. Also, try to avoid rubbing the area vigorously or using a rough cloth. Your skin will thank you.
Keep the Skin Dry
Before applying an ostomy barrier, it’s crucial to ensure that the skin is completely dry. Moisture can prevent the barrier from adhering properly and put the skin at risk of irritation. Try using a soft dry cloth or gauze to carefully pat the area dry.
Choose the Right Ostomy Barrier
There are three types of ostomy skin barriers on the market, so finding the one that’s best for you is crucial. The fit should be snug but not too tight; otherwise, it could cause further skin irritation. Experiment with different brands and styles to find the one that offers you the most comfort and security. Don’t hesitate to consult with an ostomy professional or a support group for recommendations.
Maintaining Your Healthy Skin
The important thing to know about protecting your skin when using an ostomy is that even when everything is going well, it’s vital to keep a close eye on things. Here are some additional tips for ensuring the healthiest possible outcome for your skin.
Change Your Ostomy Barrier Regularly
One thing you should get in the habit of doing is changing your ostomy barrier regularly. Everyone’s needs can differ, so it’s important to consult your healthcare provider for specific guidance. A general rule of thumb is to change your barrier every three to four days.
Be Aware of Potential Irritation
If you notice red, irritated skin around the ostomy, it could indicate that something needs to change. These signs may indicate that your ostomy barrier isn’t fitting correctly or that your skin care routine doesn’t fit your needs. Be aware that it could also be the result of an allergic reaction. Consult with your healthcare provider or ostomy professional to resolve the issue.
Hydrate Your Skin
Finally, caring for your skin also involves keeping it hydrated. Extremely dry skin can lead to cracks and potential irritation around the ostomy site. Use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer to keep your skin supple and healthy. Remember to apply it away from the immediate area where the ostomy barrier adheres to ensure a secure fit.