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Choosing an Ostomy Bag

By 3 years ago 2100 Views 1 comment

Ostomy Bags are often referred to as ostomy pouches or ostomy appliances. They come in three different types and with numerous options. The three types of ostomy bags are colostomy bags, ileostomy bags and urostomy bags. A colostomy is a surgically created opening into the colon through the abdomen. It allows stool to bypass a diseased or damaged part of the colon. An ileostomy is a surgically created opening into the small intestine through the abdomen. An ileostomy allows stool to bypass the lower intestines. A urostomy is a surgically created opening usually on the abdomen. After the bladder has surgically been removed, urostomies allow urine to flow out of the body.

This article will examine the criteria used for selecting an ostomy product to meet the most common needs of ostomy patients. When you have narrowed down the options to a few best choices, check out the FREE Ostomy Bag Samples available from several different manufacturers at the bottom of this article to test the products that best meet your needs!

Selecting the Right Ostomy Bag is not always quick and easy. New innovations and technology have combined to provide many new options. Choosing the right ostomy bag will depend heavily upon a number of different factors. Some of these factors include the type of ostomy, patient lifestyle, daily activities, personal preferences, skin condition, and budget. Below are some quick links to sections of this article that may be of immediate interest to you.

Most ostomy bags are designed for a specific stoma. Colostomy bags are designed to work with a colostomy stoma while ileostomy bags are designed for an ileostomy stoma. A colostomy bag is constructed to handle solid waste and usually can be irrigated or drained easily. An ileostomy bag is designed to collect stool and digestive enzymes. Urostomy bags are used to collect urine. Ostomy bags are available with flat skin barriers, convex wafers or for special fitting requirements, moldable skin barriers. There are multi-chambered ostomy bags and mini pouches that are more discreet and useful for sports and active lifestyles. Filtered ostomy bags are handy for bathing or swimming. Ostomy bags equipped with belt tabs attached to an ostomy belt help support the weight of the bag. Numerous options are available to help meet your specific needs.

One Piece vs. Two-Piece Ostomy Bags

There are several differences between a one-piece ostomy bag and a two-piece ostomy bag. The infographic below displays some of the key differences in these two types of ostomy bags. In order to wisely discern which bag is best for you, take a few moments to consider some of the advantages that accompany these two different types of ostomy bags.

ostomy bag comparison

One-Piece Ostomy Bags

A one-piece ostomy pouch provides a more discreet profile than a two-piece pouch. One-piece ostomy bags are often nearly invisible beneath clothing. For people who wear form-fitting clothes or who participate in sports, a one-piece ostomy pouch might be the ideal choice. In a one-piece system, the flange cannot be separated from the ostomy bag, resulting in a more secure user experience. However, a one-piece ostomy bag requires that the ostomy wafer and bag combination be changed at every bag change. Frequent ostomy appliance changes have the potential to cause skin irritation for some users. Furthermore, when you change the bag on a one-piece system, everything must be positioned around the stoma just right to prevent leaks. This positioning can be somewhat time-consuming. With a one-piece unit, you are likely to use more skin barrier pastes, tapes and adhesive removers than you would with a two-piece unit. The frequent use of these materials can add additional expenses to your budget. The ActiveLife One-Piece Drainable Cut-to-Fit Pouch with Stomadhesive Skin Barrier is a good example of a one-piece ostomy system.

Two-Piece Ostomy Bags

There are several advantages to investing in a two-piece ostomy system. With a two-piece ostomy bag, the skin barrier, often referred as a flange or wafer, can remain in place for two to four days. Less frequent skin battier changes is gentler on the skin. Frequent changes required by a one-piece system are often too much for sensitive skin. With a two-piece system, you can easily change the size of the bag you are using without removing the skin barrier. You can conveniently switch to a smaller bag for intimate moments or for swimming and effortlessly slip on a regular-sized bag for everyday activities. At night, a larger bag can be used. Ostomy bag changes with a two-piece system are much quicker and easier than a one-piece system, which is ideal for people who lead an active and engaging lifestyle. Some of the disadvantages of using a two-piece system include bulkier size, more prone to leaking, and slightly more expensive than one piece systems. Although more expensive, the two-piece system can be less expensive in the long-run if significant quantities of tape, adhesive removers, and barrier pastes are required for skin care and stoma sealing with the one-piece ostomy bag. An example of a popular two-piece ostomy bag is the Click MIDI Opaque Drainable Pouch.

Choose the ostomy bag that you not only feel comfortable with, but is well-adapted to your everyday lifestyle and activities. Many people find that it is convenient to have both types of ostomy bags on hand to suit different types of situations and activities. This strategy offers the most flexibility and adaptability.

Ostomy Bag




Ease of Use
Less Bulky
Lower Profile
Less Obtrusiveness
Easier to Secure
Quicker Application
More Adaptable to Uneven Skin
Less Accommodating to Special Needs
Frequent Changing = Sore Skin
Greater Frequency of Stoma Positioning


More Skin Friendly
Better Accommodations for Special Needs
Subject to Leaks
Flange Difficult to Keep Clean
More Rigid and Unflexible

Drainable or Closed-end Pouches

Drainable pouches are available in both one-piece and two-piece pouches. A drainable pouch allows users to empty the contents of the pouch and then reuse the pouch. Primarily, people with ileostomies or whose stool is semi-formed, drainable pouches are a better choice because they require fewer changes than closed-end pouches, are easy to empty and ideal for people with liquid or semi-solid waste output.

Closed-end Pouches, which are also available in one-piece or two-piece systems, are not reusable. Closed-end pouches are thrown away once the pouch is full. These closed-end ostomy bags and are ideal for formed, solid waste output. Many manufacturers make flushable pouch liners, which are ideal for people who lead a busy lifestyle and who do not have time to empty and clean a pouch. Closed designs are common for colostomy bag users. A colostomy bag is often attached to either an upper or lower area of the colon and depending on the location the consistency of the output will be different. For a closed colostomy bag, solid waste collection is usually preferred. That means there is no need to clean the colostomy bag, and it can simply be detached and thrown away.

Ostomy Bag




Extends Wear Time
Less Changing
Easy Removal of Heavy Liquids
Fewer Bag Expenditures
Easy to Empty Bag for Disposal
Best for Colostomy or Ileostomy

Difficulty Draining With Thicker Consistencies
Time Consuming and Painstaking Flange Cleaning
Fastening Bags Are Often Uncomfortable


Flushable Options for Easy Disposal
Better Accommodates Active Lifestyle
Best for Colostomy
Supports Swimming, Exercise, Intimacy
Replacement Bag Must Always Be On-hand
Not Practical for High Liquid Output
More Difficult Disposal When In Public
Difficulties When Draining Bag
Requires Replacing 1 to 3 Times Daily
Not Recommended for Urostomy

Pre-Cut or Cut-to-Fit Ostomy Bags

Fitting the skin barrier snugly around the stoma minimizes leaks and the risk of damaging skin. The more secure the ostomy pouch, the lower the risk of leaks. A pre-sized barrier is an opening in the flange that is already cut to the size of the stoma. Size options are listed for each ostomy pre-cut pouch to allow selection of the correct size barrier for your stoma. For stomas with a evenly round shape, a Pre-cut Ostomy Bag is the best choice. A cut-to-fit barrier is ideal if the stoma is still changing sizes or if the shape of the stoma is not round. A cut-to-fit barrier requires cutting the skin barrier before it is applied to the body. Some cut-to fit ostomy bags have a small starter hole in the center of the skin barrier where scissors can be placed to start cutting to the the right size. Below is a chart displaying the key advantages and disadvantages of Pre-Cut vs. Cut-to-fit Ostomy Bags.

Ostomy Bag




Easier to Apply
Less Time Requirements

May not Fit Adequately
Less Adaptability to Stoma Sizes/Shapes


Adaptation to Patient Needs
Increased Flexibility

More Cumbersome Application
More Time Consuming

Opaque or Transparent Ostomy Bags

Opaque ostomy pouches are more user friendly, offering more discreetness than transparent bags. Usually beige in color to more closely match skin color, opaque bags are designed to conceal the contents of the pouch. A transparent ostomy pouch allows you to see into the bag to view its contents. Transparent bags are caregiver friendly and are easier to check. Transparent pouches are most often used for wheelchair and hospital bed patients and offer less patient intrusion. Below is a brief comparison chart of these two types of ostomy bags.

Ostomy Bag




Helpful for Caregivers
Less Patient Intrusion
Easier to Check
Less Discreet


More Discreet More Difficult to Check

Flat or Convex Ostomy Bags

The majority of ostomy pouch flanges are flat, but many ostomy patients prefer or require a convex flange. Flat Ostomy Bags have a flat adhesive back, allowing the bag to be in position with little protrusion. Flat appliances offer more discreetness. Convex Ostomy Bags have a back which protrudes out giving the flange a stepped side-profile appearance. Convex ostomy bags are available in both two piece and one piece products.

Convex bags come in fixed and non-fixed options. A fixed convex pouch is designed, strengthened and molded into a stepped shape. Fixed convex flanges are less flexible than traditional flat flanges. The Non-Fixed range of convexity products are usually based around plastic rings which clip into existing traditional flat/non-convex product ranges to give them a shallow convex step. Non-fixed convex products are considered more gentle, softer and flexible, allowing more flex with your body. There are also three different levels of curvature for convex bags--shallow, moderate and deep. The combination of these options give ostomy patients more choices, and flexibility, over which convex product would be best. Convex pouches offer added security and skin protection for recessed, retracted and flush stomas. Below is a chart comparing the advantages of convex and flat ostomy bags.

Ostomy Bag




Accommodates Flush Stoma
Accommodates Retracted Stoma
Accommodates Less Than 1/2 Inch Protruding Stoma
Accommodates Skin Wrinkles
Accommodates Creases
Accommodates Surgical Scars
Accommodates Telescoping Stoma
Pre-cut or Moldable Options
Longer-Lasting Seal

Increased Profile
Less Discreet


More Discreet
Fits Stomas that Protrude More Than 1/2 Inch

Requires a Protruding Stoma of at Least 1/2 Inch

Filtered Ostomy Bags

Ostomy bags with filters allow the the bag to vent while filtering the gas to remove any odor. Gas and odor are often associated with stomas. An ostomy filter is usually made of charcoal with microscopic holes and membranes. Ostomy bags that incorporate an integrated filter allow patients to bathe, swim or participate in athletics with a much lower risk of leaks. Performance of these filters varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so you may want to try a number of different manufacturers to see which one works best for you.

Ostomy Bag



Filtered Ostomy Bag

Reduces or Removes Odors
Provides for Bathing
Supports Swimming
Supports Water Sports

Increased Expense

Multi-Chambered Ostomy Bags

Multi-chambered ostomy bags reduce the amount of sloshing within the bag to reduce noise and provide a more discreet wear. These chambered ostomy pouches are a favorite for ostomy patients that are very active and participate in sports and athletic events.

Ostomy Bag




Decreases Sloshing
Less Noise
Higher Expense

Mini Ostomy Bags

Mini ostomy bags have a smaller capacity but offer more discreetness. Their smaller size is less detectable and more comfortable to wear. Smaller also means less weight, but also less capacity.

Ostomy Bag




Smaller Size
Less Intrusive
More Discreet
Supports Active Lifestyle
Less Capacity

Moldable Ostomy Bags

Ostomy bags with moldable flanges are an innovation of Convatec. A moldable skin barrier not only allows a snug fit around an irregular shaped stoma, but also helps reduce the risk of leaks. Below is a video from Convatec that demonstrates the advantages of a moldable ostomy appliance. Following the video is a chart that summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of a moldable ostomy pouch.

Convatec Moldable Ostomy Video (2:00 minutes)

Ostomy Bag




Accommodates Any Stoma Size/Shape
Personalized Fit
No Cutting with Scissors

Higher Cost

Ostomy Belts

An ostomy belt is designed to support the weight of the pouch and to fix ostomy appliances in place. They also help to conceal the ostomy appliance and protect the appliance from being jarred loose from incidental contact with the world around you. Ostomy belts keep your pouch in place to prevent leaks.

Ostomy Appliances



Ostomy Belts

Supports the Weight of the Bag
Supports the Waste Weight
Helps Keep Ostomy Pouches In Place
Conceals Ostomy Appliance

Belt May Dislodge
Possible Pinching
Possible Ulceration

Vitality Medical provides a list of manufactures that offer specific ostomy bag options that may be of importance to you. This Ostomy Bag Options List displays alternatives like multi-chambered ostomy bags, filtered ostomy bags and moldable skin barrier bags along-side the manufacturers that make them. The Best Ostomy Bags listed by highest sales volume can also be examined.

For new ostomy patients, it can be a challenge to find an ostomy appliance that has a special feature that your are looking for. Below is a chart of special ostomy features matched to manufactures and brands to help you begin your search.

Ostomy Bag Options Matched To Brands

Ostomy Bag Options

Multi-Chambered Bag Coloplast Sensura Multi-Chamber
Mini Pouch/Bag
Hollister Lock n Roll Mini
Hollister Closed Mini Pouch with Filter
Hollister Premier Mini
Hollister CenterPointLock Mini
Coloplast Assura New Generation Mini
ConvaTec Esteem Synergy Mini
Convex Base Plate
Coloplast Assura Convex
ConvaTec ActiveLife Convex
Genairex Securi-T Convex
Filtered Ostomy Bags
ConvaTec Esteem Synergy
Coloplast SenSura Click
Genairex SecuriT
Moldable Skin Barrier
ConvaTec Moldable Stomahesive
ConvaTec Esteem Synergy
Convatec Sur-Fit Moldable Durahesive
Ostomy Belts and Belt Tabs
NuHope Nu-Support Ostomy Belt
Tytex StomaSage Ostomy Belt
Coloplast Brava Belt SenSura Mio
ConvaTec Ostomy Appliance Belt
Hollister Ostomy Belt

What is the Best Ostomy Bag?

Ostomy bags are constantly changing with new technology and new designs. Construction materials and features for ostomy appliances are always improving. To determine which ostomy appliances are the best, we examined consumer voting. Consumers vote by their purchases. Consumers tend to purchase the best product that offers the most value for their money. The chart below displays the best selling ostomy appliances by category.

Best Ostomy Bags List

Ostomy Bag Type

Top Selling Ostomy Bags
One-Piece Ostomy Bags
Coloplast Assura
ConvaTec ActiveLife
Hollister Premier
Two-Piece Ostomy Bags
Hollister New Image
Coloplast Assura Maxi
Hollister CenterPointLock Urostomy
Drainable Bags
ConvaTec ActiveLife
Coloplast SenSura
Hollister Karaya
ConvaTec Sur-Fit
Closed Bags
Hollister New Image
Hollister Premier
ConvaTec Sur-Fit
Moldable Skin Barrier
ConvaTec Sur-Fit Natura Durahesive
ConvaTec Esteem Synergy
Ostomy Belts and Belt Tabs
Hollister Premier Pouch with Belt Tabs
Hollister Karaya 5 with Belt Tabs
Hollister Ostomy Belt
Tytex StomaSafe Ostomy Belt
Coloplast Brava Ostomy Belt
Filtered Bags
Coloplast SenSura
ConvaTec Sur-Fit
Hollister New Image
Convex Ostomy Bags
Coloplast Assura
Hollister New Image

Free Samples of Ostomy Bags and Supplies

Ostomy Medical Studies

Burt Cancaster, Author

Vitality Medical
7910 South 3500 East, Suite C
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
(801) 733-4449
[email protected]

Burt Cancaster Profile

Ostomy and Intimacy

By 4 years ago 1949 Views No comments

Contrary to popular belief, you can still continue to have intimacy in your life after an ostomy. As soon as you have recovered from the surgery, you may be able to enjoy sexual experiences just the way as you did prior to surgery. With the proper guidance, you will realize that it is actually anxiety and other people's opinion surrounding the surgery, not the procedure itself that complicates things in the bedroom.

Read on to find out the answers to your concerns and how you can handle situations that may be embarrassing for you.

Common myths

Based on misinformation, it is more likely that you will suffer from emotional problems after the surgery rather physical ones.

Some of the common myths surrounding ostomy include:

  1. Women with stomas cannot conceive.
  2. Men will not be able to achieve and maintain an erection.
  3. It is mandatory for men to ejaculate for sexual gratification.
  4. The odor from the stoma will be a big turn off for your partner.

The feelings of low self esteem are reasonable at times, but this does not mean that they do not have a solution.

Ostomy Belt

  • There have been various instances where it has been proved that women have been successful in having healthy babies with guided healthcare after ostomy.
  • It has been reported that men actually have better orgasms after surgery. However, it is important to know that you have to regain your strength after the procedure and do not get discouraged after the first unsuccessful attempt.
  • You have to realize that your partner cares about the good in you and not just the physical aspects. Additionally, the design of ostomy pouches provides for maximum comfort and hygiene.
  • Men can have dry orgasms which involve no ejaculation. There is no need for you to feel the pressure to ejaculate after surgery.
  • The material of the ostomy pouches makes it possible to let air pass without releasing odor. You may also use deodorizers that are inserted inside the pouch.

What to do before getting intimate after surgery

It will take time to get used to your body after the surgical procedure. However, it is natural to feel fluctuations in your libido. Talking to your partner about your fears and explaining your anxieties about getting intimate is the best thing you could do to strengthen your relationship.

The following will help you feel at ease when getting intimate with your partner:

Ostomy Pouch Cover

  • Make sure you change/empty your pouch.
  • Secure the pouch to your abdomen properly with medical paper tape.
  • Make sure your ostomy belt is clean if you wear one.
  • You may use an ostomy pouch cover for the pouch if its appearance distracts you.
  • Many brands of 'passion pouches' are available that are smaller as compared to regular ostomy bags.
  • You should also try to focus on your feelings rather than the pouch.
  • Women may use lubricants or suppositories to combat vaginal dryness.

What foods to avoid

Certain food items that cause gas, odor, diarrhea and obstruction particularly in case of an ileostomy should be avoided. Using foods such as eggs, garlic, onions, cabbage, cheese, alcohol, popcorn, raisins and seeds is not recommended after an ostomy.

Burt Cancaster, Author

Vitality Medical
7910 South 3500 East, Suite C
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
(801) 733-4449
[email protected]

Burt Cancaster Profile

Traveling With An Ostomy Bag

By 4 years ago 1940 Views No comments

Once you have become used to living with an ostomy bag, the daily life routine becomes easier to handle. Traveling with an ostomy appliance however, might require special care and attention, on an entirely new level.

If you are planning to travel, there are some important tips you need to keep in mind, to ensure a hassle free and comfortable traveling experience.

Ostomy Preparation At Home Ostomy Bag Drainable

You will be denied the right to carry a pair of scissors during travel, therefore it is important that you prepare before hand to avoid any inconvenience later. Make sure that you pre-cut all the ostomy pouch bags while at home. With no scissors allowed in your carry-on luggage, it will be difficult for you if you are not prepared beforehand.

Be Packed And Ready With Ostomy Supplies

Make sure that you have ample amount of ostomy supplies for your trip. Also, it is very important for you to pack these supplies, both in the carry-on as well as the checked luggage. Never pack the supplies in only one place.

Keep Your Ostomy Prescription At Hand

It is a good idea to have a written prescription from your physician with you at all times. Also, have your doctor write a statement which advocates the use of a private area or room, in case there is an extended search at customs in the airport.

Have Medical Details In A Foreign Language

When you travel to a foreign country, it is important that you have all your ostomy case details written in the foreign language. You can seek help from different member associations of the International Ostomy Association, for translating the details of your ostomy condition. They can also help you to procure supplies easily while within a foreign country.

Opt For Guided HelpTransparent Ostomy Bag

There is a book titled "Yes We Can", which offers a number of useful hints as well as traveling advice, with an entire dictionary that contains ostomy terms that have been translated to a number of different languages. You can use such a book to become familiar with the obstacles that you might face and the best solutions.

The book also contains critical contact information of worldwide resources, along with a small statement that outlines the request for a privacy search in 11 different languages.

Carry Helpful Equipment Explanatory Material

One thing that you can do is keep the usage instructions or work details of your personal care products with you at all times. You can carry copies of the equipment usage and instruction pages from different catalogues, to make it easier to explain the working of your different personal care items to security authorities, if necessary.

This will help you to prove your need for those products, and also inform the concerned personnel of the actual need for the equipment that you carry around with you. You will be able to avoid lengthy discussions and long hassles that are usually a part of the entire search procedure.

By following these tips, you will be able to enjoy a hassle free, comfortable and enjoyable trip, without worrying that your ostomy bag will be bothersome in your traveling adventures.

Burt Cancaster, Author

Vitality Medical
7910 South 3500 East, Suite C
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
(801) 733-4449
[email protected]

Burt Cancaster Profile