Ileostomy - changing your pouch
You had an injury or disease in your digestive system and needed an operation called an ileostomy. The operation changed the way your body gets rid of waste (stool, feces, or poop).
Now you have an opening called a stoma in your belly. Waste will pass through the stoma into a pouch that collects it. You will need to take care of the stoma and empty the pouch many times a day.
Standard ileostomy - pouch change; Brooke ileostomy - pouch change; Continent ileostomy - changing; Abdominal pouch changing; End ileostomy - pouch change; Ostomy - pouch change; Inflammatory bowel disease - ileostomy and your pouch change; Crohn disease - ileostomy and your pouch change; Ulcerative colitis - ileostomy and your pouch change
When to Change Your Pouch
Change your pouch every 5 to 8 days. If you have itching or leakage, change it right away.
If you have a pouch system made of 2 pieces (a pouch and a wafer) you can use 2 different pouches during the week. Wash and rinse the pouch not being used, and let it dry well.
Choose a time of day when there is less stool output from your stoma. Early in the morning before you eat or drink anything (or at least 1 hour after a meal) is best.
You may need to change your pouch more often if:
Steps for Changing Your Pouch
Wash your hands well and have all equipment ready. Put on a clean pair of medical gloves.
Gently remove the pouch. Push the skin away from the seal. DO NOT pull the ostomy away from your skin.
Wash your stoma and the skin around it carefully with soapy water.
Trace the shape of your stoma onto the back of the new pouch and barrier or wafer (wafers are part of a 2-piece pouch system).
Trace this shape onto the back of your new pouch or wafer. Then cut the wafer to the shape.
Use skin barrier powder or paste around the stoma, if your health care provider has recommended this.
Remove the backing from the pouch. Make sure the opening of the new pouch is centered over the stoma and pressed firmly onto your skin.
Fold the bag and secure it.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if:
American Cancer Society. Caring for an ileostomy. www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/ostomies/ileostomy/management.html. Updated June 12, 2017. Accessed January 17, 2019.
Araghizadeh F. Ileostomy, colostomy, and pouches In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 117.
Mahmoud NN, Bleier JIS, Aarons CB, Paulson EC, Shanmugan S, Fry RD. Colon and rectum. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 51.
Review Date: 11/5/2018
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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