How I Prevent Colostomy Bag Ballooning
Colostomy bags ballooning is a problem you may occasionally encounter if you don’t take note of what you eat. It is a common condition that every colostomy patient must learn to cope with, manage, and accept. It is, however, surmountable, and in this article, I will tell you how.
As you start getting used to wearing an appliance and learned how to care for your stoma, there are a few more things you may need to contend with, nothing alarming, but nonetheless discomforting occurrences that happen to people who live with a colostomy.
Bag ballooning is one of them.
Ballooning occurs when there is a gradual build-up and accumulation of gas (flatulence) in colostomy bags. This gas which is passed through the stoma fills the bag gradually, just like inflating a balloon. It eventually fills up until appears like a balloon attached to the abdomen. And of course, it bulges out through your clothing,
If this accumulated air is not let out through the filter of disposable colostomy bags, or at the folded base of the drainable ones, the pressure build-up may make your stoma ache slightly and cause you some discomfort.
What Causes Ballooning of Colostomy Bags?
There are a number of things that cause the ballooning of colostomy bags. Excessive gas build-up, which can be attributed to a gas bloating, is caused, if:
- You swallow excessive air.
- You smoke heavily.
- You chew tobacco.
- You always chew gum.
- You snack and chew continuously.
- You eat rapidly.
- You don’t chew properly and therefore swallow large pieces of food.
- You eat a lot of gas-producing foods like beans, cabbage, and lentils.
- You consume fizzy drinks.
Foods and Drinks That Cause Intestinal Gas Build-Up
The following foods can cause gas build-up and will result in frequent ballooning of your ostomy bags:
- Onions and garlic
- Soy products
- Brussels sprouts
- All carbonated drinks
- Sparkling wines
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese or yoghurt
If for any reason, any of these foods and drinks have to be consumed, it is good you take them in moderation, or sparingly. If you have to go out to an event, such foods and drinks must not be consumed for at least 24 hours before your outing.
For working ostomates, following a simple colostomy diet is essential, and gas-emitting foods or drinks must be reserved for weekend treats at home.
Bag ballooning also occurs when you chew your food improperly. To avoid the embarrassing bulge, ensure you chew your foods carefully and eat slowly.
Chewing and swallowing food in a fast manner will make you swallow a lot of air which will end up giving you a bloated colostomy pouch. So, avoid taking in unnecessary gulps of air.
I've written a number of related articles on this topic. Here are some that you may find useful:
How to Manage Bag Ballooning Issues
There is no need to change your bag when it builds up with gas, unless of course, if the bag is ready for a change. All that you need do is to find a private place, room, or bathroom, and release the gas build-up the way I described.
The type of modern colostomy bagsI used to have a small pinhole opening that's linked to a thin disk of charcoal filter. This hole is normally covered with a small round filter cover that can be removed so that the gas can be expelled. You can stick it back on after all air build up is released. There will be no odour because the gas passes through the charcoal filter before getting out into the atmosphere.
If you prefer to wear drainable bags, you can release gas through the same opening where the waste is emptied. Undo the Velcro straps, raise the bag’s end slightly and unfold it. Gently let out the gas without squeezing out faeces. Once it’s all let out, re-fold and re-clamp it.
This may be a bit tricky, but it’s still easy to do, nonetheless. The only disadvantage of emptying gas from a reusable ostomy bag is that the consuming odour of intestinal gas that will erupt is far worse than the smell of farts. With the disposable bags, the charcoal filter takes care of this.
You will need to have your can of colostomy deodorant when releasing gas from re-useable bags. It is an essential ostomy product that must be readily at hand because they help to reduce the effect of the offensive odour.
Tip: Remember, it is pertinent to note that colostomy bags must never get more than two-thirds filled with faeces, neither must it become over half-filled with gas, to avoid colostomy bag ballooning.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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