What is ballooning?

Ballooning occurs when your stoma bag fills up with wind. This can cause the stoma bag to come away from the body and the stoma.

What shall I do if I experience stoma bag ballooning?

If you are experiencing ballooning, there are a few methods which can help you reduce stoma bag ballooning: If you are using a filter cover, you should try removing it. If your current stoma bag has a filter and you are still experiencing ballooning problems, it may be suffering from excess wind. Spicy foods, some particular vegetables (onions, cabbages, peas, and beans) and fizzy drinks have been known to increase wind, so we would recommend avoiding these in your diet. We would also recommend not drinking with your meal if you are experiencing ballooning, as this can also cause you to swallow excess air.

How can I prevent my stoma bag from ballooning?

Sometimes it can be difficult to prevent ballooning from occurring, but one of the main tips we would recommend is eating regular meals throughout the day, as this will reduce the build-up of wind.



What is pancaking?

Pancaking occurs if the internal layers of the stoma bag stick together. This then causes a vacuum within the stoma bag, which prevents the contents of the bag from dropping to the bottom. As a result of this, the stool will remain at the top of the stoma bag. This can potentially block the bag filter and can also force the stoma bag off your body.

What shall I do if I experience stoma bag pancaking?

Pancaking can be a common issue with colostomy and ileostomy bags. If you are experiencing stoma bag pancaking, it is worth trying out these following methods, which can help reduce the chances of pancaking:

  • Place some air into the bag by blowing into the stoma bag prior to application. Once you have done this, then apply the filter cover, as this will ensure some of the air remains within the bag. Once the stoma has functioned, you should then try and remove the filter cover. This will hopefully lead to the stool dropping to the bottom of the stoma bag.
  • Some people who are living with an ostomy  find it helpful to roll up a cotton wool ball or a small piece of toilet paper ball into the stoma bag.
  • Others also find that using a drop of liquid soap or oil into the hole of the stoma bag adhesive can sometimes help the flow of the output to slide to the bottom of the stoma bag.



Causes of diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can be caused by many things including; medication, diet, and your emotions. There are common foods which can cause diarrhoea, for example; spicy foods, green vegetables, raw fruit, prunes/prune juice and alcohol.

Are you experiencing diarrhoea?

Experiencing diarrhoea once-in-a-while is nothing to be worried about. However, if you are experiencing three or more loose stools in a row, then this can be a cause for concern and could be a sign that you are dehydrated. If this is the case, then you should contact your stoma care nurse, at the earliest possible opportunity.

If you do experience diarrhoea, it may be advisable to temporarily use a drainable stoma bag. The reason for this is that if you are using a drainable stoma bag, then it can emptied on a regular basis if you are experiencing a high-output. This will also reduce the need of regularly changing your closed stoma bag, which can sometimes cause skin irritation, if changed on a very frequent basis. If the symptom persists please speak to your GP or Stoma Care Nurse.


Food Blockages

Signs & symptoms of food blockages

Some particular foods can swell in the bowel and some may cause a blockage. This will cause your ileostomy or colostomy to stop working normally.

Please Note: If this is the case, then you should seek urgent advice from your Stoma Care Nurse or GP, if you believe this may be happening to you. Please see below some of the signs & symptoms of food blockages:

  • You may experience pain
  • You may feel or be sick
  • Your abdomen may swell-up
  • Your stoma may also swell and appear bigger
  • Your output will decrease, stop altogether or may contain large amounts of watery fluid
  • You may experience reduced wind or it may stop altogether

How to reduce food blockages?

It is extremely important to chew your food really well, as this will help reduce food blockages in your stoma bag. The following foods are known to increase the risk of food blockages, so extra care should be taken:

  • Raw fruit skins
  • Bean sprouts and bamboo shoots
  • Dried fruit such as currants and raisins
  • Pith, pips and stones
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Coconut
  • Celery
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweetcorn

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Need support or advice?

If you need any further support or advice, then please contact Medilink® today. You can call us Monday to Saturday, from 9am to 5pm, on Freephone 0800 626388.

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