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Managing ostomy accidents

When living with an ostomy sometimes accidents can happen, pouches leak, odour seeps through or the bag pops open.

Managing ostomy accidents

With our helpful tips you will soon learn how to manage potential ostomy accidents.


Leaks are probably the most common accidents but with some preparation and care you can prevent them from happening. It is important to firstly find the cause of your leakage then once you have discovered the source of the leaks you can stop it from happening again. Check the back of the flange after it’s leaked, you will be able to see what route the output took. If it is not obvious from this what the problem may be, then it’s possibly one of the following reasons which covers the vast majority of reasons for leakage.

Ill fitting appliance - If the hole in the skin protector is too big, the output from your stoma will leak out onto your skin.

Tip: Cohesive Slims® offer extra security and peace of mind. They form a complete seal around your stoma, preventing leakage by making your bag more secure.

Poorly sited stoma – retracted stoma - With standard ostomy surgery, your stoma will have been sited pre-operatively.  However with emergency surgery, the stoma can be poorly sited.  The same principle applies for any stoma, you must achieve a flat platform to place your bag.  Any scars, skin folds or dips must be filled in, otherwise you will leave a channel through which the leaking output will flow.

Tip:  Eakin Cohesive® Seals and Cohesive® Paste can be used individually or in combination, to fill in any areas which are likely to cause leakage.  Stomas which lie flush with the skin or in a little dip can be pushed out, using a Cohesive® Seal (839002) or a convex pouch so that the output flows directly into the bag.  A convex pouch can also be useful for smoothing out creases near the stoma.

‘Pancaking’ - ‘Pancaking’ is caused by thicker stool which gets stuck at the top of the bag when there is no air.  It dries out and sticks around the stoma, instead of falling to the bottom of the bag.  When the stoma starts to work again, the output leaks out under the skin protector and it lifts off the skin.

Tip:  Try putting a small amount of baby oil onto the inside of the bag, where it touches the stoma.  This will help the output to slide to the bottom of the bag.  Another idea is to put a few pieces of crumpled up toilet paper into your bag near the outside edges, this will stop the vacuum effect and keep air in your bag.  If your bag has a filter, place the filter covers over the filter which will also keep air in your bag.

For more leakage advice visit our FAQs section or feel free to ask any questions below.