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Ensure you have everything to hand before changing your bag:

  • A clean stoma bag
  • Scissors and template (if required)
  • Dry wipes or plain kitchen roll (not cotton wool or tissues)
  • Warm water
  • Disposal bag
  • Adhesive remover (if required)

Tip: It is advisable to wash your hands before and after changing your bag.

Preparing a one-piece bag

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Preparing a two-piece bag

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Removing your ostomy bag

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How to change your stoma bag

1) Draw the template of your stoma onto the adhesive of the bag, then cut it out. To remove the bag, carefully release the adhesive, working from the top down whilst supporting the skin (if you choose to use an adhesive remover, spray a small amount as you peel away the adhesive to help with removal)

Tip: It is most important that this hole fits snugly around the stoma to prevent the risk of leakage and irritated skin. Your Stoma Care Nurse will show you how to do this and it will become easier with practise. However, if you would like your bags to be cut to size, this will be possible once the initial post-operative swelling has reduced.

Please note: If you have a drainable or a urostomy bag, please follow steps 1a, 1b & 1c. If not, please skip to step 2.

1a) Close the outlet of the new bag so it is ready to apply

1b) Drain the bag you are wearing into the toilet

1c) To remove the bag carefully release the adhesive, working from the top down whilst supporting the skin (if you choose to use an adhesive remover, spray a small amount as you peel away the adhesive to help with removal)

Tip: Once you are in your preferred position for emptying the bag, undo and unroll the outlet to open it. When empty, clean the outlet with toilet tissue or a dry wipe. Roll the outlet back up to its original position and secure. Some stoma bags allow you to tuck the outlet up into the bag for extra discretion.

Emptying a Drainable Stoma Bag

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Emptying a Urostomy Stoma Bag

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Stoma Bag Disposal

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2) Once removed, fold the adhesive section of the used bag in half so it seals

3) Place your bag into a disposal sack

4) Use dry wipes (kitchen roll is an alternative) and warm water to clean around the stoma. Place these in the disposal sack (do not put them in the toilet as they may block it!)

Tip: To clean your stoma and skin, water is considered adequate and acceptable. However if you prefer to use soap, a simple non-perfumed, non-moisturised soap should be used. Ensure that it is rinsed away before drying your skin to prevent irritation.

5) Ensure the skin around the colostomy/ileostomy/urostomy is dry

6) Remove the backing film from the adhesive of the new bag

7) Fold the top half of the adhesive back, then position it around the stoma, working from the bottom and smoothing upwards with your fingers. Take time to ensure there are no creases in the adhesive and use the warmth of your hands to mould the bag to your skin, making sure it is well stuck!

8) Securely close the disposal sack and put in the normal household rubbish bin. DO NOT flush a used bag down the toilet, unless it is described as a “flushable” bag, as it will cause a blockage

Useful Resources

Wearing your stoma bag

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Skin care

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