Arthritis with an Ostomy: Tips to Help Manage

arthritis with an ostomy featuring a woman with an aching back and a physician checking her back out

Living with an ostomy already has its challenges. However, suffering from arthritis with an ostomy can increase the difficulty of specific tasks such as opening tubes of stoma paste, stiffness when bending over to empty the ostomy appliance, or using scissors for a cut-to-fit ostomy barrier. Having arthritis with an ostomy doesn’t have to mean a total loss of independence. Take a look at some helpful tips for managing these conditions below.

Types of Arthritis & Other Conditions That May Affect Hand Dexterity

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects a person’s immune system and attacks their tissues. The feeling often experienced is a burning pain accompanied by swelling and sometimes stiffness in the joints, particularly in the hands, shoulders, knees, and feet.  Many also report feeling fatigued throughout the day.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Due to the cells’ changes as we age, osteoarthritis develops between the ages of 45-90 years. The cartilage in the fingers and weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, back, and feet are affected. Pain, stiff joints, and swelling are also a symptom of osteoarthritis.

Fibromyalgia

While fibromyalgia is not a type of arthritis, it can co-occur with other types of arthritis. Fibromyalgia is a type of chronic pain syndrome that can cause immense fatigue and pain in muscles, joints, and other soft tissues. It has no known cause or cure at this time. However, research indicates it may be related to genetics (family history), having coexisting conditions such as arthritis or lupus, going through prolonged stress or trauma, or having a viral illness. The pain from fibromyalgia can range from mild to severe and include stiffness, burning, throbbing, or stabbing sensations in the muscles. Fatigue, depression, anxiety, numbness, tingling, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and cystitis have been reported.

Gout

Gout occurs when uric acid crystals are deposited in the joints and cause inflammation. The body breaks down proteins, which then form this uric acid. Gout usually affects one joint at a time, especially in the big toes. The ankles, knees, hands, wrists, and elbows are other joints that can be affected.  Common symptoms of gout include pain, warmth, redness, and swelling. Most gout onsets occur quickly and can remain for up to a week if left untreated. Excess alcohol consumption, being overweight, water pills, surgery, or sudden illness are just some of the things that can trigger and aggravate gout.

Reiter’s Syndrome

Reiter’s Syndrome is a type of arthritis that occurs as a reaction to an infection somewhere else in the body. It may be related to intestinal infections such as Salmonella or urinary tract infections. Reiter’s Syndrome’s symptoms can include inflammation of the joints, tendons, eyes, urinary tract, or skin and may involve a rash or fever.

Scleroderma

Scleroderma involves a thickening of the skin on the fingers, arms, and sometimes the face. There are often color changes in the hands from pale blue to red, small calcium deposits that form nodules on the fingertips, and stiffness in the joints with these indicators. Indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation can also be other symptoms.

Enteropathic Arthritis

Enteropathic arthritis often accompanies inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Painful, hot, and stiff joints are common symptoms of enteropathic arthritis, and when the gastrointestinal disease goes into remission, the arthritic symptoms go along with it.

Tips if You Have Arthritis with an Ostomy

Arthritis in the Hands

hollister new image two-piece ostomy pouch with integrated closureOpening packets of an ostomy product such as stoma paste, peeling off backing papers, and cutting holes in skin barriers can be challenging for those with arthritis in their hands. Many manufacturers have noticed this problem that those with arthritis and an ostomy face and have made some adjustments to their packaging.

ConvaTec has Moldable Technology that eliminates the need for scissors to customize the hole around the stoma. There is a helpful and informative article at the end of this blog that goes into detail about ConvaTec Moldable Technology. ConvaTec also offers many pre-cut barrier options, such as the ConvaTec Esteem + One-Piece Pre-Cut Closed-End Pouch, which can help.

arthritis compression gloves for those with arthritis with an ostomyMany drainable ostomy bags feature integrated closures instead of clips. The Hollister New Image Pouch has an easy Lock N Roll Microseal closure that is excellent for those with dexterity problems.

Tubes of ostomy paste, such as the Hollister Adapt Paste, come in a soft tube that you can use a credit card or paste dispenser to glide the formula out easily.

Having a pair of arthritis compression gloves can also be very helpful. Not only will they help keep a better grip on items, but these gloves may also help increase circulation and reduce pain.

Arthritis in the Neck and Back

adjustable mirror to aid in changing an ostomy applianceArthritis in the neck and back can cause stiffness, and bending over to view the stoma when changing your appliance may be difficult. A suggestion to help make this a bit easier may be to sit down and lean back somewhere comfortable with a desk or table in front or beside you. Place a mirror on the table and face it down toward your ostomy appliance. A mirror that easily adjusts to all angles would work best.

Stiffness Getting On and Off the Toilet

Railings can be installed around the toilet to help stabilize yourself when emptying your ostomy bag. Another option that might be helpful when getting on and off the toilet and entering and exiting the bathtub is a transfer bench. This adaptive equipment piece works as an added safety feature to allow those with arthritis with an ostomy to take their time when sitting and rising to stand up.

Using Adaptive Equipment and Experiencing Leaks

If you are using a wheelchair or a walker, these types of adaptive equipment require the use of both hands. A leaking ostomy appliance while using one of these kinds of devices requires at least one hand to minimize the leakage. Preparing emergency supplies in a bag attached to the wheelchair or walker can be a possible solution to this problem. Having emergency ostomy supplies around the home can also alleviate some stress knowing that your needed supplies are nearby.

There are many other aids for those who have arthritis with an ostomy and can be found at your local pharmacy. Items such as easy-open pill bottles, grippers to unscrew lids, push-button pill reminder boxes, and more can be beneficial aids. You can reach out to a local occupational therapist or your local hospital for more information about where to find products made to help those with arthritis accomplish tasks more manageable.

Maintaining independence is essential to self-esteem, but remember to ask for help when you need it. The last thing you need when suffering from arthritis with an ostomy is having an accident that can potentially worsen your condition.

For even more information about arthritis, ease of use products, treatments, hundreds of articles, and even a drug guide, visit the Arthritis Foundation. You can even click to find your local area and connect.

For any inquiries about ostomy appliances, adaptive equipment, or any other home delivery medical supplies we carry at Personally Delivered, our Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to help.

Other Helpful Articles

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Are You Regaining Health Insurance Coverage This Year?

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Millions of people lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted their health insurance coverage through their employer.  Any economic shock such as this that destroys jobs also destroys access to health insurance coverage. Due to the costs of medical supplies, surgeries, dental procedures, and prescription drugs, many have been living without health insurance coverage.

If you or someone you know are regaining health insurance coverage, we would like to introduce you to our sister company and ConvaTec subsidiary, 180 Medical. Every day, 180 Medical helps people from all paths of life turn the quality of their lives around. They are the experts in providing you with the best insurance-covered medical supplies based on your insurance plan’s benefits.

Who is 180 Medical?

180 medical corporate logo

Whereas Personally Delivered works directly with the customer to help get your home delivery medical supplies, 180 Medical is the reimbursement side of our company and works with the physicians and insurance provider. They put a great deal of effort into getting the highest quality catheters, ostomy supplies, and incontinence products you require. They take care of shipping your medical supplies discreetly to your door and file your insurance claims for you at no charge.

The “180 Way”

Before we get into how 180 Medical works, we would like to share a bit about their standards. This will help assure you that you are working with a genuine team dedicated to providing the very best service.

180 Medical operates by a set of standards that are called the “180 Way.” These include five main points:

  1. Being specialists at what they do.
  2. Genuinely offing others compassion.
  3. Providing top tier service to their customers.
  4. Operating with integrity in every interaction.
  5. Giving education to make sure every customer is healthy and well-informed.

The 180 Medical Process

180 Medical makes the process of obtaining the medical supplies you need as easy and effortless as possible. Here are the three steps for getting started with 180 Medical:

Step 1: Contact 180 Medical

woman taking health insurance coverage notes while on the phone in front of a computerPlease speak to your Personally Delivered Product Advisor or complete our Contact Us form. They will put you in touch with a friendly, trained 180 Medical Specialist. You will need to be prepared with a few pieces of information to get things started quickly.

  • Your insurance information
  • Your physician’s name and phone number
  • The medical supplies that you are requiring

Step 2: Confirmation & Health Insurance Coverage

The 180 Medical Specialist will discuss details with you to ensure they have everything right for your specific needs. They will verify your insurance and discuss your health insurance coverage and allowable amounts, as well as any out-of-pocket costs. Your doctor’s plan of care will also be addressed, and your product order placed. They will let you know when to expect your first order and asked how you would prefer to receive future medical supply orders.

The 180 Medical Specialist will take care of all necessary documentation and required authorizations, including any prescriptions. At no charge to you, they will handle all direct billing to your insurance company, too!

Step 3: Relax!

woman relaxing on a chair and reading a bookAfter your order is complete, tracking information will be sent to you via email to let you know exactly when you will be receiving your medical supplies. You can expect to receive a call from your Specialist to make sure you received everything you needed and are happy with the service.

Providing top tier service to their customers is a part of the “180 Way”, so following up is an essential part of the process.

So there you have it! 180 Medical Specialists take extensive training, so you can count on them to take excellent care of your needs. Even if it takes extra time or effort on their part, you can rest assured that they will always do what’s right. You can sit back and relax, knowing you are in the best hands.

We at Personally Delivered are proud to be connected to 180 Medical. We will help you get in touch with a Specialist if you have regained health insurance coverage and need assistance. As always, if you ever need additional quantities or medical supplies that are not covered by insurance, we are here to help.

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An Ostomy Belt and its Many Advantages

All about ostomy belts with a collage of different styles of ostomy belts

Do you find that your ostomy system is not staying securely attached to your stoma? Is the weight of your ostomy pouch causing it to sag? Are you currently using an ostomy adhesive that is just not providing an adequate seal? These are all questions that may prompt the need to invest in an ostomy belt that can provide some added support and security to your ostomy system.

What is an ostomy belt?

An image of a coupe of different styles of ostomy beltsFor those who have a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy, an ostomy belt is one of many ostomy accessories that can help keep an ostomy pouching system snug against the abdomen to prevent potential leakage. Depending on the type of stoma and characteristics of the surrounding skin, the ostomy pouch might not stay securely in place. With an ostomy belt, the ostomy system is pulled into the abdomen, increasing the pressure of the flange against the skin. This ostomy accessory can hold the ostomy pouching system in place by insertion through belt loops attached to the ostomy bag or attach to belt tabs on a skin barrier as it nicely wraps around the abdomen and is secured with velcro strips or other types of closures.

What is the purpose of an ostomy belt?

Ostomy belts are considered an optional ostomy accessory for an ostomy pouching system. Designed to provide additional comfort, support, and discretion, these belts are a popular choice for many ostomy patients. Using a belt can help strengthen the seal between the barrier and your skin. This ostomy accessory can give added security with hard-to-manage situations such as those with a stoma that lays flat, retreats inward, or protrudes outward from the body.

The best kind of ostomy belt will likely expand with your ostomy pouch as it fills, thus providing a very comfortable user experience while keeping all your ostomy appliances in place. Because the ostomy belt provides this additional security to an ostomy pouching system, this ostomy accessory allows you to live life as usual. Engaging in different lifestyle activities such as running, jumping, and dancing can be done without worry.

What are the benefits of an ostomy belt?

There are a number of benefits when considering an ostomy belt that is right for you.

By using an ostomy belt, it can:

  • Provide support to the ostomy pouch, including stabilization and concealment for discreetness
  • Be used as an alternative to adhesives or for those with sensitive skin
  • Help to reduce leakage and spills of the pouch contents caused by physical movement
  • Aid in improving the seal of the ostomy pouching system to the skin surrounding the stoma, especially when using a convex skin barrier
  • Help reduce noises produced from the pouch
  • Be effective at preventing the ostomy pouch from snagging or detaching from the stoma
  • Help prevent skin irritations due to the ostomy pouch dragging or swinging
  • Preserve parastomal and incisional hernias from recurring after surgery repair by delivering extra wound support
  • Provide improved comfort and security

What are the different types of ostomy belts?

Each manufacturer has its own ostomy belt style, and not all features will be compatible with other brands of ostomy pouching systems. There are different styles and sizes of ostomy belts, so it is essential to choose one that is interchangeable with the ostomy pouching system you are using.

Cool Comfort Elastic Ostomy Belt

Nu-Hope Original Flat Panel Ostomy Support Belt, 5 inches wide, beige, 3-1/4 inch center stoma opening for a 36 to 40 inch waistMany of the ostomy belts we carry are by Nu-Hope Laboratories, a manufacturer of Cool Comfort Elastic ostomy belts that form around bulges other body contours more naturally. Constructed of a blend of polyester, spandex, nylon, and monofilament material, the Cool Comfort elastic ostomy belt is stretchable, soft, and breathable as it supports the ostomy pouching system.

Regular Elastic

Regular Elastic ostomy belts by Nu-Hope are made of a blend of polyester and spandex material on the inside and are best suited for those with sensitive skin. The outside of the regular elastic belt is solid and smooth to prevent clothes from snagging on the material as it supports the ostomy pouching system.

Wide Elastic

The wider the ostomy belt, the more coverage around the body’s abdominal area, which helps prevent lines and bulges. Wide elastic ostomy belts typically go up to 8-inches in width and considerably improve appearance, security, and peace of mind. The comfortable binder of a wide adjustable belt offers stoma protection and security for longer wear time.

Different Types of Closures

  • Hook and Loop Closure – With a hook and loop closure, getting a proper fit can be achieved by simply pulling the straps to the desired tension. Hook and loop closures make adjustments make it easy to get the right pressure.
  • Velcro Closure – One of the easiest ways to adjust an ostomy belt to the desired fit is with the velcro closure. This velcro closure option also allows a patient to get precise pressure.
  • Plastic Belt Buckle – Plastic belt buckles provide the ultimate grip, support, and comfort. The plastic buckles are made to fit ostomy skin barriers that feature belt tabs that match each style.

Ostomy Belts With or Without a Stoma Opening

Brava Adjustable Ostomy BeltOstomy belts that feature an opening reinforced with a durable plastic ring allow for 360-degree skin barrier and pouch support. This type of belt provides hernia support around the stoma and allows for longer wear time. Ostomy belts without a stoma opening are thinner and only hook onto an ostomy pouch with belt loops or skin barriers that feature belt tabs such as the Brava Adjustable Ostomy Belt. This belt fits all SenSura and Assura barriers with belt tabs.

Left, Right, or Center Stoma Opening

If you choose an ostomy belt with a stoma opening, it is essential to select one with the stoma opening on the correct side. By making sure to get this ostomy accessory with the correctly placed stoma opening, you will be sure to get the most comfortable fit without risking any pulling to cause discomfort.

How do I choose the right ostomy belt?

When choosing an ostomy belt, considering the following attributes can be helpful.

The ostomy belt should:

  • Be flexible enough to allow the body to move naturally as the pouch fills with waste
  • Have multiple hole placements, left, center, and right
  • Feature various hole diameters for a comfortable fit around your ostomy pouching system
  • Have an adequate width for desired abdominal coverage
  • Be made of high-quality and durable material
  • Be a comfortable fit without being too tight

It is important to note that since ostomy belts are constructed of elastic, they will stretch out over time with repeated use and should be replaced once they show the appearance of becoming worn out.

An ostomy support belt is an excellent investment as an ostomy accessory for ostomy patients. If you are confused about what type of belt to purchase, you can ask for help from our Personally Delivered Product Experts. They will help to ensure that you’ll choose the ostomy belt that is right for you.

Shop Popular Ostomy Belts

ConvaTec Ostomy Appliance Belt

ConvaTec Ostomy Appliance belt adjustable up to 42 inches

Coloplast Brava Adjustable Ostomy Belt

Brava Adjustable Ostomy Belt size 43-1/3 inch also offered in 49 inch as item 4220

Nu-Hope Cool Comfort Ostomy Support Belt

Nu-Hope Original Flat Panel Ostomy Support Belt, 5 inches wide, beige, 3-1/4 inch center stoma opening for a 36 to 40 inch waist

Hollister Adapt Adjustable Ostomy Belt

Hollister Adapt Adjustable Ostomy belt size Medium 26 to 43 inch hips also in large to fit 29 to 49 inch hips
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The Importance of Hydration with an Ostomy

black man drinking a bottle of water while outside exercising

Hydration with an ostomy can have its challenges. There are many benefits to staying well hydrated in general, but it is especially important for those with an ostomy. Every biological function of your body relies on the body being properly hydrated. You’ll concentrate better, your skin will retain elasticity, wounds will heal quicker, and staying hydrated will help your digestive system function properly. The body’s ability to absorb water is often compromised after ostomy surgery, so staying hydrated is vital for all aspects of your health and well-being during this time.

Why Hydration is Important in General

person pouring water into a glass from a stainless steel pitcherBecause water plays a vital role in the proper function of the human body, we are dependent on it. The human body is made up of 60% water, so we rely on it to:

  • Keep our eyes, nose, and mouth tissues moist
  • Regulate our body temperature
  • Lubricate our joints
  • Help prevent constipation
  • Help lessen the burden on our kidneys by flushing out waste
  • Carry nutrients and oxygen to cells throughout the body
  • Help dissolve minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to the body

When it comes to staying hydrated, it is different for everyone. It depends on the size and weight of an individual, the environment they are in, their overall health, whether they are pregnant, or a variety of other situations. By staying hydrated, you can potentially prevent health complications further down the road. Your doctor should be able to help determine how much water you need to drink daily or refer you to a specialist that can further assist.

Why Hydration Is Even More Important with an Ostomy

When you undergo ostomy surgery such as a colostomy or ileostomy, the large or small intestine is diverted and its ability to absorb nutrients and electrolytes is compromised. Therefore, those that have had ostomy surgery are more likely to face dehydration and inadequate electrolyte levels.

Some water is absorbed in the small intestine, but most of it is absorbed in the large intestine, referred to as the colon. Because of this, staying hydrated with an ostomy can be difficult. Most colostomies and ileostomies result from a disease in the large or small intestines.

  • When a colostomy is performed, the stoma is created by using the large intestine (colon) and bringing it out to the surface of the skin to divert the removal of waste at this new opening. Water absorption is sometimes limited to the small intestine depending on the location of the colostomy, making proper hydration difficult.
  • When an ileostomy is performed, the stoma is created out of the last part of the small intestine and bringing that out to the surface of the skin to create a new opening. Water absorption is then limited to the first two parts of the small intestine, contributing to the risk of quicker dehydration.

assortment of Sqwincher hydration products making a splashBoth of these surgeries require someone to pay close attention to hydration with an ostomy. Ostomy patients must ensure that they have an adequate intake of fluids to keep their electrolyte levels up so they do not start to suffer from dehydration symptoms such as dizziness or dry mouth. If signs of dehydration appear, consuming a drink containing electrolytes such as Sqwincher beverages can give a boost, but if hydration is a persistent problem, your doctor should be contacted immediately.

The Role of Electrolytes in Staying Hydrated

Electrolytes come from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink. They contribute to the proper balance of fluids in the body and they maintain the blood’s pH level. Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium, and chloride that carry electrical signals to power our nerves and muscles. These minerals carry an electric charge when they are in a fluids like water that we drink.

Electrolytes play an important role to help our bodies properly function. Those roles include:

  • Heartbeat regulation
  • Body temperature control
  • Muscle contractions
  • Bladder control
  • Energy production
  • Neurological functions

Simply put, electrolytes are the minerals responsible for directing water to those areas in your body that need it most. They help us maintain fluid balance throughout our bodies which helps us stay properly hydrated, ensuring our bodies can function well overall.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Many people may find it difficult to stay hydrated with an ostomy and find themselves to be chronically dehydrated every day. They might suffer from daily headaches, lethargy, dizziness, or persistent muscle cramps. However, one of the best indicators of dehydration is simply the color of your urine. The darker the urine, the more likely fluid intake is too low.

urine color chartSome of the most common symptoms of dehydration are:

  • Persistent headaches or migraines
  • Lethargy
  • Feeling dizzy, shaky, or weak
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Thirst and dry mouth
  • Decreased urine output and/or darker colored urine
  • Leg or muscle cramps
  • Poor concentration
  • Constipation or bloating

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, your body is probably letting you know that you need to increase your fluid intake. As always, if these symptoms are affecting your daily life or are persistent, contact your doctor.

Tips to Stay Hydrated with an Ostomy

So we know that hydration with an ostomy is super important, but what are some ways that we can be sure we are getting the electrolytes and nutrition we need while also making sure these options are healthy?

Plain old water is good for hydration but alone, it is not the best source. Consumed by itself naturally, water doesn’t contain the salts and sugars necessary for hydration. When you’re using electrolytes for hydration, you’ll want to choose a drink that offers a good balance of electrolytes and healthy carbohydrates. An electrolyte drink that contains a lot of sugar can lead to further dehydration and end up defeating the purpose.

Pedialyte clearSome fluids that can help you stay hydrated with an ostomy:

  • Coconut water
  • Vegetable juices like V8
  • Sqwincher products or other low sugar electrolyte drinks
  • Pedialyte
  • Homemade oral solutions such as 200 mL Squash concentrate and 5mL of salt. Just sip throughout the day.

 

 

Not only are oral hydration solutions great for hydration with an ostomy, but consuming foods that have high water content are also important.

Some foods that are high in water content are:

  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Apples
  • Jell-O
  • Yogurts
  • Smoothies

Some additional tips for hydration with an ostomy:

  • Drink fluids slowly so your body can properly absorb them.
  • Try to eat first, then drink fluids. This helps with fluid absorption.
  • Carry a water bottle and make sure you refill it when necessary.
  • Try infusing water with fruits, or try making your own smoothies.
  • Talk to your doctor about adding Imodium or Metamucil to your diet.

It is very important to pay close attention to signs that you may be becoming dehydrated when you have an ostomy. Always remember to contact your doctor if your symptoms are persistent or if you are struggling with hydration with an ostomy.

For any questions about the products that we carry that may be helpful, please contact one of our Personally Delivered Product Experts and they will be happy to help.

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ConvaTec Moldable Technology™

ConvaTec's Moldable Technology for skin barriers and ostomy pouches

Are you looking for an ostomy pouching system that doesn’t require any cutting and molds to your stoma for a custom fit? Introducing ConvaTec Moldable Technology™! This is a game-changer in the ostomy world. Leave the scissors behind and simplify your stoma routine with this new technology.

ConvaTec Moldable Technology is great for fewer leaks, no gaps, and healthier skin

The way ConvaTec Moldable Technology™ works is by forming a “turtleneck” around the stoma that enhances the seal for a snug fit. The Rebounding Memory Technology™ helps provide security which means you’ll experience no gaps, fewer leaks, and healthier skin. As the skin barrier swells with fluid output around the stoma, it creates a tight and secure fit.no cutting required symbol for moldable technology

 

Available in one- and two-piece ostomy pouching system options, this is a perfect solution to getting the snug and secure protection you need for your unique stoma type. And best of all, there is no cutting required!

Natura™ Durahesive™ Moldable Skin Barrier

Natura Durahesive Moldable Skin Barrier with Accordion FlangeTired of the traditional cut-to-fit skin barrier? Looking for a secure fit while keeping your skin healthy? This moldable skin barrier by ConvaTec does just that and features an accordion flange for easy pouch application.

As part of a two-piece system, the Natura™ Accordion Flange makes pouch application much easier and more comfortable, all while delivering the proven skin protection of Moldable Technology™. The Natura™ Accordion Flange provides the most protection for everyday wear.

Esteem™+ One-Piece Moldable Closed-End Pouch

Esteem + One-Piece Moldable Closed-End PouchLooking for a one-piece system that is gentle on the skin while remaining secure and easy to use? This all-in-one moldable solution allows for a simple, secure, and comfortable experience.

The

Esteem™ + One-Piece Moldable Closed-End Pouch is the first-ever one-piece pouch with Moldable Technology™ that combines the convenience of a one-piece pouching system with clinically-proven skin and leak protection for the ultimate in colostomy supplies. The thin, flexible design is made to move with the body. Easy to apply and remove, the unique Esteem™ + One-Piece Moldable Closed-End Pouch offers a soft comfort panel, advanced filter, and an easy-view window on the front of the pouch.

Esteem™+ One-Piece Moldable Drainable Pouch

Esteem + One-Piece Moldable Drainable PouchFor a drainable one-piece pouch with Moldable Technology™, this thin and flexible design is made to move with your body as it provides skin and leak protection.

The Esteem™ + One-Piece Moldable Drainable Pouch offers everything the Esteem™ + One-Piece Moldable Closed-End Pouch does with a drainable tail closure. This one-piece ostomy pouching system is gentle on the skin while allowing for a simple, secure, and comfortable experience.

Watch - ConvaTec Moldable Technology™ - Sarah and Charlie's Stories

For any questions or concerns related to ConvaTec Moldable Technology™ or any of the other home delivery medical supplies that we carry, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to help.

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Managing Diarrhea with a Stoma

woman holding her stomach in discomfort for the blog cover of managing diarrhea with a stoma

Most people will experience an episode of diarrhea in their lives, and that isn’t a fun time for anyone. For those with an ileostomy or colostomy, this is no exception. Loss of fluids and electrolytes is common for those with an ostomy, and having diarrhea with a stoma can be dangerous since this leads to dehydration.

What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is characterized by sudden loose or watery bowel movements and can be accompanied by abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, and even a fever. If you have a colostomy or ileostomy, episodes of diarrhea with a stoma are possible. Some people with an ileostomy have watery or loose stool most of the time.  There are many possible causes for diarrhea, but there are several ways to help manage diarrhea with an ostomy, so that’s the good news!

Diarrhea can pose some complications for those with an ileostomy or colostomy such as:

  • Diarrhea can clog ostomy pouch filters.
  • Diarrhea can cause more leaks, odors, embarrassing noises, and gases to release.
  • Diarrhea erodes the wafer, resulting in frequent wafer changes.
  • Diarrhea can cause you to empty or change your ostomy pouch more often, which can be unpleasant and messy.
  • Diarrhea could lead to dehydration since nutrients are not being properly absorbed.

Common Causes of Diarrhea

Diarrhea with a stoma can be caused by several different factors. It is important to take note of your diet, medications, stress levels, and overall health to determine what the culprit could be. Then, with some simple adjustments, you can hopefully gain control of producing more regular bowel movements.

Here are a few of the more common causes of diarrhea with an ileostomy or colostomy:

Diet

The consistency of your stoma’s output can be drastically changed by the foods and beverages you consume. Usually, within an hour or two after consumption of certain foods, you will be able to identify what it was that set off your symptoms. Often, the foods and beverages that are identified as the cause of your diarrhea are not actually needed for a healthy diet and can be eliminated.  You might find other benefits from cutting out these unnecessary culprits. We’ll discuss diet in further detail later.

Medications and Supplements

Some medications or supplements can cause diarrhea with a stoma for various reasons. Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria in the body, and some of that can be the healthy bacteria that help with digestion. Any over-the-counter medicine that contains magnesium or calcium can also cause diarrhea since these minerals work to relax the digestive tract and neutralize stomach acids. For those that may be undergoing cancer treatment, chemotherapy disrupts how the small intestine breaks down food, which may also cause diarrhea. 

Blockage

When you aren’t seeing much movement from your stoma or it appears larger than normal, you might be experiencing an obstruction or blockage. When the body attempts to flush out the blockage, sometimes a watery or liquid stool is experienced. As the intestines continuously try to push contents through the blockage, symptoms usually follow such as abdominal pain, nausea, and possibly vomiting. Note: If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Dietary Impact on Diarrhea with a Stoma

Most of the time, by simply modifying your diet, you can start managing your diarrhea with a stoma. Drinking enough fluids throughout the day and paying attention to the meals you eat can help. Since diarrhea is watery, you’ll want to incorporate some foods that will thicken up your output from your ileostomy or colostomy.

The following foods are suggested to thicken ileostomy or colostomy output:Pedialyte electrolyte replenishment drink

  • Starchy foods like noodles, white rice, potatoes, and white bread
  • Crackers and pretzels
  • Marshmallows
  • Applesauce
  • Under-ripe bananas
  • Nut butters (peanut, almond, etc)
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal

It is also important to remind yourself that fluid intake is critical. Replacing electrolytes that are lost when you have diarrhea with a stoma is essential for proper hydration. Drinking beverages such as Pedialyte or Sqwincher products can be a great way to get ahead of potential dehydration.

If you suspect food poisoning or another bacterial cause of your diarrhea, you’ll want to contact a medical professional.

Foods to Avoid When Experiencing Diarrhea with a Stoma

If you consume certain foods and beverages and then notice a dramatic change in your output’s consistency, you’ll want to take note of them and avoid or cut them out of your diet altogether.

Some of the foods and beverages that are suggested to avoid to prevent diarrhea with a stoma are:

Foods to Avoid During Episodes

  • Coffee or tea
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Dairy
  • High-fiber foods
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Soda
  • Fruit juices
  • Chocolate
  • Fried foods

Foods That May Cause Odor

  • Seafood
  • Garlic
  • Eggs
  • Alcohol
  • Asparagus
  • Spices such as curry, cumin, & chili

Foods That May Produce Gas

  • Dairy
  • Beans
  • Carbonated drinks (including beer)
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel sprouts

Sometimes a bit of trial and error is needed to find out what works for you. High fiber foods can cause blockage, and the skins of some fruits and vegetables can be difficult to digest. To get the nutrition needed from these types of foods and beverages, there are alternatives that are easier to digest offered by Thick-It, Nestle, and Abbott Nutrition.

Other Suggestions for Managing Diarrhea with a Stoma

Gelling Agents

Specifically designed to absorb ostomy pouch contents, these products are a popular choice for those with an ileostomy or colostomy. These are typically a packet of granules that is dropped into a new or clean ostomy pouch. As the pouch fills with output, the packet dissolves, and the granules form a thick gel that stays at the bottom of the pouch and away from the stoma. These gelling agents can come in granules, tablets, powder, or capsules, but they all work in the same fashion.

Nutritional Supplements

There are several nutritional supplements on the market today that are formulated to deliver the vitamins and minerals needed without dairy and sugar. Novasource Renal Nutritional Support Formula contains optimized electrolyte content and is an excellent nutritionally complete product that is also lactose- and gluten-free. The Hormel FiberBasics line of beverages contains 3 grams of fiber to promote bowel regularity and are another great option to help manage diarrhea with a stoma. Just be careful with the amount of fiber intake as you do not want to end up with a blockage.

Consider a High Output Ostomy Pouch

SUR FIT Natura® Two Piece High Output PouchHigh output ostomy pouches are designed to better manage liquid output and are able to hold larger capacities of stoma output. The SUR-FIT Natura Two-Piece Ostomy System by ConvaTec is a perfect example of a simple design that features a removable filter to reduce pouch ballooning while neutralizing odor and an anti-reflux valve that decreases liquid output backflow. This high output ostomy pouch easily drains high liquid output and users can change the pouch quickly without the need to remove the skin barrier.

Managing diarrhea with a stoma is possible and there are options. Although we offer suggestions, it is always a good idea to speak to your physician to determine what is the best treatment plan for you.

For any questions related to the products we have mentioned or any other home delivery medical supplies we carry, give us a call. One of our Personally Delivered Product Experts will be happy to speak to you.

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Caring for Peristomal Skin

Are you or someone you care for living with an ostomy and experiencing problems with the skin around the stoma? For those with an ostomy, peristomal skin damage is fairly common. However, it doesn’t have to become normal for you. First, you may want to identify the potential cause of the issue, which is an important part of figuring out how to treat your skin irritation. Next, consider taking several measures to avoid future damage to this sensitive area.

Causes Related to Peristomal Skin Damage

Incorrect Size or Shape of Skin Barrier

Getting the right skin barrier for your unique body may help reduce the risk of leakage and skin damage from stomal output. For example, skin folds or creases can make it difficult for the ostomy skin barrier to securely stick to the abdomen. An improper skin barrier fit can result in leakage, which may cause the skin to become irritated and begin breaking down. If your stoma is retracted or flush with your skin, you may want to consider a convex skin barrier.

ConvaTec’s SUR-FIT Natura Moldable Skin Barrier provides a personalized, custom fit around the stoma to help protect the peristomal skin. They are available in both flat and convex options.

Sure-Fit Natura moldable skin barrierIn addition to skin folds and stoma protection, the size of the stoma is an important factor in getting the right fit for your ostomy skin barrier. Ensuring that the barrier is the proper size may help prevent leakage. 1-2mm larger than the stoma is suggested for a close fit. The ConvaTec Natura Durahesive Accordion Trim-to-Fit Skin Barrier with Convexity features an easy cut-to-fit option for those needing a skin barrier with convexity and for use for those with a retracted stoma.

Frequent Applications and Removals

Continuous application and removal of skin barriers can really irritate the peristomal skin causing it to become extra-sensitive. The top layers of the skin can be stripped away, which can result in weepy, sore skin around your stoma. In order to address issues like this, ConvaTec created the Sensi-Care line of peristomal skin care products. These products work to protect skin from damage caused by adhesives and are great for using every day with no residue build-up or bonding to skin folds.

ostomy beltToo Much Pressure Around the Stoma

When there is constant pressure at the stoma site, the skin may react unfavorably. Certain types of clothing or an ostomy belt that is too tight can irritate the peristomal skin by putting too much pressure on the site. Choosing the right ostomy appliance belt can provide an added sense of security when stabilizing an ostomy pouch. You want it to fit securely, of course, but make sure it is soft and comfortably adjusted as to not put too much pressure at the site.

Questions to Ask Yourself

woman inspecting her toes and applying lotion as she sits on bed

Peristomal skin should look similar to the rest of the skin on the body. Slight redness in this area is normal due to the adhesive used on the barrier. However, any type of discomfort experienced could be a sign that the peristomal skin may be unhealthy. Asking yourself a few questions may help determine if there is more than meets the eye.

  1. Is the skin around your stoma itchy?
  2. Is the skin around your stoma blistered or inflamed?
  3. Does the skin around your stoma feel or appear as though it is wet?

Ask yourself these questions and then consult with your doctor or a WOCN (Wound, Ostomy, & Incontinence Nurse) about steps you can take to manage your peristomal skin issue.

Preventive Steps to Take

Sensi-Care sting-free skin barrier wipesBy maintaining a good skin care routine, you can help prevent peristomal skin irritations from forming. These are some simple steps you can take:

  • Routinely change your pouch.
  • Use an adhesive remover to gently remove your skin barrier and any additional adhesive residues left behind.
  • Use oil-free and alcohol-free products to reduce irritation when cleaning the skin around the stoma.
  • Make sure your skin is completely dry before applying the next ostomy bag.
  • Look closely at your peristomal skin each time you change out the barrier.
  • Use a barrier foam or spray to protect the skin.
  • Make sure the hole cut in the barrier is the correct size for your stoma.
  • Ensure the barrier is secure with no gaps or folds to prevent leakage.

Peristomal skin should be healthy skin. Even the mildest irritation should be taken seriously and is worth getting advice from your doctor. Most of the time, solving the skin issue can be as simple as changing to a different product, altering your routine, or taking additional steps to rectify the problem.

For any questions about the products we carry or if you need help choosing the right barrier, belt, or bag, we are just a phone call away. Our Personally Delivered Product Experts will be happy to help you find exactly what you need.

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Introducing the Enhanced ConvaTec Esteem+ and Natura+ Pouch Lines

ConvaTec Ostomy Care Solutions have been enhanced according to valuable feedback from thousands of patients and nurses. Comfort, security, and discretion remain the most important factors to ConvaTec when refining their ostomy pouch lines. That’s why the ConvaTec Esteem+ and Natura+ ostomy pouches have been modified to meet the needs of those with a stoma. This enhanced pouch line includes the Esteem+ One-Piece closed pouch, the Esteem+ One-Piece InvisiClose pouch, the Natura+ Two-Piece InvisiClose pouch, and the Natura+ Two-Piece closed pouch. Ideal for those needing a colostomy pouch or ileostomy pouch, these enhancements deliver the comfort, security, and discretion that’s needed most.

Esteem™+ One-Piece closed pouchThe Esteem™+ One-Piece closed pouch combines the skin barrier and ostomy pouch into an all-in-one system. These pouches are available in Standard and Large sizes and also have options to choose from such as Cut-To-Fit, Pre-Cut, and ConvaTec Moldable Technology™.

This ostomy pouch is made with soft, quiet materials for discretion and a state-of-the-art filter with an anti-clogging film layer. Available with a modified Stomahesive® or Durahesive Plus® skin barrier, your colostomy or ileostomy pouch stays securely in place until you are ready to change it out.

Esteem™+ One-Piece InvisiClose® ostomy pouchNext, we have the Esteem™+ One-Piece Drainable Pouch with upgraded InvisiClose® Closure. This ostomy pouch also features a modified Stomahesive®  hydrocolloid skin barrier that gently adheres directly ot the skin, stays in place, and protects the skin from breakdown until you are ready to change your colostomy or ileostomy pouch. The Lock-it Pocket™ feature provides the comfort of a closed-end ostomy pouch by securely hiding the flapping tail for comfort and discretion.

This Esteem™+ One-Piece InvisiClose® ostomy pouch is available in sizes that range from Standard, Large, and 14″ length. It also has options of Cut-To-Fit, Pre-Cut, and ConvaTec Moldable Technology™.

Natura™+ Two-Piece closed pouchThe Natura™+ Two-Piece closed pouch allows the user to keep the skin barrier on when changing out their colostomy or ileostomy pouch with its a snap-off, snap-on design that makes this process simple and easy. This pouching system is compatible to the Natura™/SUR-Fit® skin barriers and is available in Standard and Large sizes.

This closed-end ostomy pouch is single-use and ideal for everyday use, special occasions, and intimate moments. The 2-sided, fabric-like panels, window to view stoma output, and soft, quiet materials make this pouching system a discreet and comfortable choice.

Natura™+ Two-Piece Drainable PouchFinally, there is the Natura™+ Two-Piece Drainable Pouch with upgraded InvisiClose® Closure. This ostomy pouch also features the snap-on, snap-off design that allows the user to keep the skin barrier in place when changing out their colostomy or ileostomy pouch. This helps to maintain the skin’s integrity when other ostomy pouching systems require repeated removal and reapplying of the skin barrier. The soft and quiet material resists water and dries quickly, while the InvisiClose® tail closure with Lock-it Pocket™ hides the tail and provides the security of a closed-end pouch.

Meeting the most important needs and concerns of those with a stoma is ConvaTec’s main goal. With all of the research that has been completed and the innovative enhancements that have been made, ConvaTec believes their Esteem™+ and Natura™+ enhanced ostomy pouch lines deliver the confidence and freedom you deserve. Keeping comfort, security, and discreetness in mind, we also feel that ConvaTec succeeded with these updates to these pouch lines.

For any questions about these colostomy/ileostomy pouches, other ConvaTec ostomy pouches, or ConvaTec ostomy care solutions, please give us a call. One of our Personally Delivered Product Experts will be happy to help!

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Diet Tips After Ostomy Surgery

Are you nervous about what you can eat after having ostomy surgery? Are you wondering if there are certain foods you should avoid? Are there any dietary restrictions that you should follow? We have a few diet tips and suggestions for you here to help clear up any worries.

Diet Tips for the 3 Types of Stomas

A stoma is an opening on the abdomen that is attached to your urinary or digestive tract to allow waste to be redirected out of the body. There are 3 main types of stomas: colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy. Here are a few suggestions about your diet after each type of ostomy surgery.

Colostomy Diet Tips

When part of the colon is affected by a disease or if it is not working properly, a colostomy may be performed. The large intestine is disconnected from the rectum and rerouted to the abdominal wall as a new opening, called a stoma. A colostomy pouch is then attached to the stoma and is used to collect output which is then disposed of. A colostomy can be temporary to give the colon rest after surgery or it can be permanent if the person suffers from a disease such as cancer.

After a colostomy, a person may be more likely to become constipated. It is important to drink plenty of fluids such as water throughout the day to avoid constipation. Eating slowly and thoroughly chewing food will help with digestion and exercising regularly may keep you on a regular schedule. With a colostomy, there aren’t any dietary restrictions, but you may be more sensitive to foods right after surgery. It is recommended to try new foods in small portions to see if they affect you. Keeping a food journal will help you find if anythng doesn’t agree with you. Maintaining a healthy diet is always a good habit.

Ileostomy Diet Tips

person pouring water into a glass from a stainless steel pitcherWhen an ileostomy is performed, the lowest part of the small intestine is disconnected from the large intestine and rerouted to the abdominal wall to form a stoma. This procedure can also be temporary when surgery was performed on part of the large intestine and this allows it to rest for a bit. An ileostomy may be permanent if the large intestine and rectum have been removed due to disease.

With an ileostomy, intake of more fluids than normal is very important. Normally, the stool thickens as it passes through the large intestine since this is where fiber is digested. In this case, the small intestine is doing all the work, so the output will be less solid. It is also important to limit foods high in fiber to avoid blockage since the large intestine is missing from the digestive process. Chewing your food well and sticking to small frequent meals throughout the day can also help to regulate the function of your stoma and result in less frequent changes of your ileostomy pouch.

Urostomy Diet Tips

cranberry juice sitting in a bed of cranberries in a wooden boxWhen a person has bladder cancer, a birth defect, or a serious spinal cord injury, a urostomy may be necessary due to the bladder either not functioning normally or having to be removed. The ureters are detached from the bladder and then reattached to a small piece of the bowel that has been removed. That piece of the bowel is then attached to the abdominal wall that redirects urine from the kidneys and into a bag.

As with the other 2 types of ostomy surgeries, it is important to get the necessary fluids to avoid the risk of a urinary tract or kidney infection. Continuously flushing the urinary system by taking in enough water, eating foods high in Vitamin C, and drinking cranberry juice can help. Studies have shown that cranberry juice works to fight against bacterial growth and has been effective in preventing urinary tract infections.

As you can see, after ostomy surgery there really aren’t that many specific changes you’ll need to make. To sum it up, the main suggestions that are common for all types of stoma surgeries are:

  1. Intake plenty of fluids.
  2. Chew your food well.
  3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

Keep an eye on certain foods and beverages that may produce changes to the output or health of your stoma and always consult your doctor about any concerns.

For any questions about the ostomy products we carry for these types of ostomy surgeries, please give us a call and one of our Product Experts will be happy to discuss the options we offer.

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Top 5 Reasons to Shop With Personally Delivered

We take pride in the exceptional service we provide at Personally Delivered and strive to stand out from the rest. Of course, we know there are more than 5 reasons we would like you to order your home delivery medical supplies from us, but we will highlight what we feel are some of our most valuable ones.

1. Save on Your First Order

Saving a little bit of money on your first order is important when you are purchasing from a company you have not done business with in the past. We offer first time customers $5.00 off on your first purchase of $30 or more. All you need to do is enter Code: WELCOMESV at checkout and $5.00 will be taken off your total. It is as easy as that!

2. Free Shipping

Not only will you save $5.00 on your first order, if your total purchase price is $40 or more, you will also receive Free Shipping. Orders that fall below the $40 threshold are subject to a $10 shipping fee. So, you could potentially save $15 on your order!

3. Discreet Delivery

When you order your home delivery medical supplies, receiving your packages quickly and discreetly is important. When we ship your items, they will arrive in a plain brown box that does not disclose the contents inside. You can rest assure that your supplies will be securely packaged and delivered directly to your door on time.

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4. Personal Consultations

Not all medical conditions are one-size-fits-all. Your needs are unique and our Product Experts understand. When you call our office, you will speak to a team member that listens to your every concern. They will help you narrow down all of the products we offer to customize and tailor your order especially for you.

5. Automatic Delivery Options

woman signing to receive a package from a delivery manIt can be difficult to remember when you need to reorder your home delivery medical supplies. We can take the hassle out of this and make your life easier with our Automatic Delivery Program. You choose the frequency you would like your supplies to arrive and we take care of the rest. With this program you will also save 5% on your home delivery medical supplies on every future shipment. You will never have to worry about running out of your supplies again!

As you can see, there are several reasons we would like for you to shop with us. We are a Satisfaction Guaranteed company and are sure that you will be happy with the services we provide. Taking the time to listen, helping you choose the right products, saving you time and money, and discreetly delivering right to your door, we are sure that you will be happy choosing Personally Delivered as your one-stop-shop for all of your home delivery medical supplies! Our Product Experts are just a phone call away.

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