The colostomy pouch is where the fecal output of the stoma is being collected. Pouches come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes and one must find the ones that suit him/her the best. Most closed pouches nowadays come equipped with charcoal filters to slowly release the built up gas and help decrease odor.
Types of pouches
- Drainable pouches: The pouch has an open bottom to easily drain the output. The open end is closed with a clamp, a tie, a Velcro strap or another mechanism. Drainable pouches are usually used by people with ascending or transverse colostomies, since the output is looser, more frequent, and can be drained through the opening.
- Closed pouches: Closed pouches are designed for single use. Once the patient has had a bowel movement the pouch is thrown away. These pouches are usually used by people with descending or sigmoid colostomy, since the output is firmer and there are usually only 1-2 bowel movements per day.
Colostomy pouching systems
- Two-piece colostomy pouching system: Two-piece colostomy pouching system: This system consists of two parts, an adhesive barrier or wafer and a pouch. The wafer adheres to the skin around the stoma and has an opening in the middle. The pouch attaches to a flange with a locking mechanism or other method and the stoma output is collected inside the pouch. Once the pouch is one third full, it is either detached from the flange and replaced with a new one or emptied and cleaned for re-attachment (depends on whether closed or drainable pouches are used).
- One-piece colostomy pouching system: One-piece colostomy pouching system: This system has the pouch and the adhesive barrier as one unit. It is placed over the stoma and adheres to the skin. Once the pouch is full it is either drained and washed (in the case of open-end pouch) or the whole unit is replaced (in the case of close-end pouch).
The opening on the wafer (in the two-piece system) or on the pouch (in one-piece system) allows the output to enter the pouch. This opening (the hole) can be either pre-cut to various standard sizes by the manufactured or you can have the option to cut it yourself to the size and shape you like. In the first few weeks after surgery the stoma changes its size and shape significantly and cut-to-fit pouches can be very useful.
These are much smaller compared to pouches and are designed for either temporary use (during intimate moment for example) or for people who irrigate and thus have very little output.