Why Do Ostomy Bags Burst and How to Prevent It
You’re looking to prevent one of the most uncomfortable (in more ways that one) situations an ostomate can have. You’ve heard (or imagined) the stories, whether on forums or on other ostomy blogs and communities. And while the tales range from overtly descriptive to downright slapstick, they are often not backed by the details you really need. For instance, why ostomy bags burst, and how to make sure it never happens to you. We can answer the first part here. Aside from physical impact (a hard fall, etc.) your bag bursts because of excessive gas accumulation.
Today, InnerGood is going to expand (no pun intended) on this subject to provide you with insight into preventive measures that you can take.
5 Things You Need to Know to Keep Your Ostomy Pouch from Bursting
1. Stay Away from (or minimize consumption of) Gas-Inducing Food
This tip is about as logical as it gets, but it’s good to have a reminder, especially when there are some culinary culprits that you may not have anticipated. While everyone reacts to foods differently (testing dishes and time will be your guide) we encourage you to reference this list of gas-inducing foods if your ostomy bag seems to be ballooning through the day:
- Beans – Dried lima, navy, borlotti, and kidney beans in particular.
- Solid Dairy – Cheese, ice cream, yogurt. Consider non-dairy alternatives.
- Whole Grains – Wheat and oats.
- Some Vegetables – Asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions, cabbage and cauliflower induce gas. However, as they are healthy, be sure to consider green alternatives (kale, spinach, etc.) and have a supplement plan in place to make sure you are receiving the necessary vitamins and minerals that key greens provide.
- Some Fruits – Apples, peaches, pears, and prunes induce gas. They too have tremendous health benefits, so consider alternative produce and health supplements that provide antioxidants.
- Hard Candy and Chewing Gum – Candies that contain sorbitol and/or sweeteners induce gas. Chewing gum that have been sweetened with sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol also contribute to gas build-up. Chewing gum poses another “gas threat” which is expanded upon in item #3 below.
- Processed Foods – Packaged foods, especially those that contain high levels of fructose and lactose.
2. Stay Away from Gas-Inducing Drinks
Beverages that you may be consuming on a daily basis may also contribute to your gas (and ostomy bag) problem. Reference the list below and note if you may need to make cuts in your beverage consumption habits:
- Soda – All sodas are carbonated and should be avoided.
- Alcohol – All carbonated varieties, including beer, champagne, and wine coolers. Drinking any alcohol can cause bloating in your lower abdomen, so must be consumed in moderation. View these ostomy-conscious tips to alcohol consumption.
- Coffee – Coffee (regular and decaffeinated) can cause gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining that can result in bloating. Consume in moderation.
3. Watch HOW You Eat (Literally)
What is surprising to many, is that it’s not just what you eat that causes gas, but how you eat it.
Your ostomy bag may be ballooning because of how you are chewing and swallowing. Follow your mother’s orders and don’t talk with your mouth full. In fact, avoid letting air in altogether (within reason). That means you should cut out or minimize consumption activities conducive to the influx of air. This includes smoking (especially bad for ostomates, regardless), chewing gum or tobacco, eating rapidly, and swallowing large pieces of food that hasn’t been properly chewed.
4. Prepare for Activities that May Expand Your Bag
While we absolutely recommend that you live life to the max and expand your horizons, take note of any activity that may cause your ostomy bag to balloon. This is a small concern, but steps can be taken when you live an adventurous life that has you up at extremely high elevations. For example, if you’re skydiving, follow these tips to keep your ostomy pouch from expanding at a high altitude. If you’re a frequent flyer, take note to change and burp your ostomy bag before departure, and vent it before removal to prevent problems in the air.
5. Buy Ostomy Bag Brands that You Can Trust
Last but most certainly not least, is to make sure you’re buying ostomy supplies from a reputable resource. That way you know that the pouches have been properly vetted to ensure the highest possible quality. The better the quality, the less likely they will burst, even when you’ve let your consumption habits (noted above) slip a bit. When it comes to ostomy bags in Canada, InnerGood is that reputable resource. Review the key reasons why you want to choose ostomy pouch brands carried by Inner Good.