Why the Skin Around a Stoma Becomes Itchy and Painful?

Patients with ostomies often encounter issues with itchiness and pain in the skin around their stoma, which not only affect their comfort but can also lead to complications. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind the occurrence of itchiness and pain in the peristomal skin and how to address these issues to enhance the quality of life for ostomy patients.

Causes of Itchiness and Pain in the Peristomal Skin

  1. Friction and Pressure: Prolonged wear of an ostomy bag can lead to friction and pressure, potentially causing discomfort. Incorrect placement or improper adjustment of the ostomy bag's adhesive can also contribute to this condition.
  2. Skin Sensitivity or Allergies: Some patients may develop allergic reactions to the materials or adhesives in the ostomy bag, resulting in skin pain and itchiness.
  3. Infections: Infections around the stoma are often bacterial in nature and can lead to redness, pain, and changes in discharge.
  4. Dermatitis: Dermatitis is a common skin condition that can affect the peristomal skin, causing itchiness and pain.
  5. Accumulation of Gas: The buildup of gas inside the ostomy bag can lead to a bloating sensation, which may be perceived as discomfort. Releasing gas can often alleviate this condition.
  6. Flatulence and Abdominal Bloating: Some patients may produce significant amounts of gas in their gastrointestinal tract, leading to flatulence and abdominal bloating, which can result in pain.
  7. Trauma or Injury: Trauma or injury to the skin around the stoma can cause pain. This includes accidental bumps, falls, or other forms of physical trauma.
  8. Dry Skin and Dehydration: Inadequate skin care, dryness, and dehydration can contribute to dry skin and associated discomfort.

Approaches to Address Itchiness and Pain

  1. Maintain Cleanliness: Keeping the skin around the stoma clean and dry is crucial. Gently cleanse the skin with lukewarm water and mild soap, followed by patting it dry with a soft towel. Avoid using harsh chemicals or soaps.
  2. Avoid Allergens: Ensure that the materials and adhesives in the ostomy bag and its accessories do not contain allergens that may trigger allergic reactions. If allergies are suspected, consult with a healthcare professional who can recommend suitable products.
  3. Moisturize: Use fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizers or skincare products to help keep the skin hydrated. Avoid applying moisturizer directly to the ostomy bag and instead use it on the healthy skin surrounding the bag.
  4. Minimize Friction: Prevent excessive friction or tugging on the ostomy bag to reduce discomfort. Some patients may find low-friction or anti-adhesive ostomy bags more comfortable.
  5. Dietary Considerations: Diet can impact the comfort of the skin around the stoma. Avoiding foods that may lead to gas or abdominal bloating can reduce discomfort.
  6. Medication: If itchiness and pain in the skin are severe, healthcare professionals may recommend the use of topical medications, such as antihistamines or topical steroids, to alleviate symptoms.
  7. Management of Bacterial Infections: If symptoms are related to a bacterial infection, healthcare professionals may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

Itchiness and pain in the peristomal skin are common issues for ostomy patients, but with proper care and management, these problems can be relieved. Understanding the underlying causes, adopting appropriate measures, and collaborating closely with the healthcare team can help patients better adapt to the use of an ostomy bag and improve their quality of life.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.