Tips for Minimizing Ostomy Odors and Gas

Discover effective products and routines to minimize odors and gas associated with your ostomy.

Understanding how to reduce odors and gas after undergoing ostomy surgery is a natural concern. Fortunately, with the help of advanced pouch technology and simple routines, you can effectively minimize these issues.

Ostomy odors

Modern ostomy pouches are equipped with odor-barrier film, which contains any unpleasant odors within the pouch. Typically, you should only notice odor when emptying or changing your pouch. If you detect odor at any other time, check the pouch seal for potential leakage.

Here are a few additional methods to manage odor:

  • Empty your pouch when it is approximately one-third to half full, which for many individuals means doing so one to three times a day.
  • The ideal time to change your pouching system is in the morning, before consuming any food or beverages.
  • Regularly emptying or changing your pouch helps minimize the risk of leakage and prevents pouch bulging if it becomes too full.
  • Your diet can also impact the odor of your output, so it's important to establish healthy eating habits.

Ostomy gas

If you have a colostomy or ileostomy, you may experience gas in your pouch as your bowel starts functioning after surgery. The amount of gas can vary. However, if you had excessive gas before surgery, it is likely to persist but will now be present in your pouch.

Gas can be caused by certain foods and can also result from swallowing air. Consuming carbonated beverages, smoking, chewing gum, or eating with your mouth open can increase the amount of air you swallow.

To address concerns about gas, you can consider using a pouch with a filter:

  • The filter allows gas to escape from the pouch while containing the odor.
  • It also helps minimize the accumulation of gas, preventing the pouch from inflating like a balloon.
  • Filters work best with more formed stool, but they can still be used with other types of output consistency.

A note on medications

Some medications or nutritional supplements may pose challenges to maintaining good hygiene. They can alter the color, odor, or consistency of your output. Even over-the-counter medications, such as antacids, can cause constipation or diarrhea for individuals with colostomies or ileostomies. It's important to consult your healthcare professional or pharmacist before taking any medications or supplements.

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