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How stoma products have evolved over the years

Things have advanced so much in the stoma care world over the last hundred years.

Eakin Drainable

As late as 1900, no manufactured appliances were available, patients had no other option but to make their own collection devices from whatever they could get their hands on. Most patients didn’t leave their home or a have social life due to lack of security of the homemade device, embarrassment and fear of odour.

It was around the early 1950s that bulky re-usable rubber pouches arrived on the medical device market, helping to improve the quality of life for ostomates.

In 1974 the first disposable ostomy pouches had just been manufactured to replace the uncomfortable re-usable rubber pouches. Although a positive step at the time, severe problems with skin irritation and leakage were reported with the new pouches.

It was this year that Tom Eakin spent the next 3-4 years investigating all aspects of ostomy pouches – design, materials, construction, even to the point of coating his own PVC film to make the pouch odour and rustle-proof.   Work continued on an adhesive to attach the pouches to the skin. The formulation was being prepared in a small mixer, normally used in bakeries, which Tom had modified with a heating system to make the adhesive. In 1980 after much development, Tom creates a skin friendly adhesive which was designed to act as an interface between the pouch and the skin, having previously produced a highly sophisticated urostomy pouch that proved too expensive to manufacture despite being an exceptional product. Initial trials and user feedback was extremely positive and so Tom devised the concept of producing this adhesive as a separate stoma “Seal” rather than as the main hydrocolloid already attached to the bag. The Cohesive Seal was born and sales began in the UK.

Today there is a full range of product options and numerous manufacturers dedicated to delivering ostomy pouching systems and devices helping to improve the quality of life for ostomates.

If you have any stories about old ostomy products that you may have used we would love to hear from you.

Visit Eakin’s Historical Timeline