5 Ways To Avoid & Eliminate Ostomy Bag Odor

5 Ways To Avoid & Eliminate Ostomy Bag Odor - HEAGI - Colostomy bags Specialist

Passing gas or emitting odors in public are some of the most common concerns among ostomates. You may fear that they’ll interfere with your intimate and social life, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety. Most modern ostomy products are made from odor-proof materials and – unless there’s a leak – you should only notice smells when changing and emptying your bag.

Life after ostomy surgery can present challenges, but knowing what to expect and being prepared can help you adjust more easily. If you find yourself worrying about your pouch emitting gas or odors, here are five simple ways to deal with your concerns.

1. Empty Your Ostomy Pouch More Often
As a good rule of thumb, you should empty your ostomy appliance when it gets about ⅓ to ½ full. If your stoma bag gets too full, the weight can put extra pressure on the stoma and surrounding skin. This can effectively loosen the seal on your appliance, causing leakage of odor and bodily waste.

Your nurse will assist you in learning how to change and empty your pouching system. In general, how often you need to empty your ostomy bag depends on the type and location of the stoma.

Typically, most “colostomates” empty their bags around 1-3 times per day. Ileostomates tend to empty their bags 4-10 times a day (depending on the consistency of the output). For people with a urostomy, urine volume depends on the fluid intake of the individual.

2. Avoid Certain Foods and Beverages
The odor of your output can also be affected by your diet. Different kinds of food are digested differently, so it’s important to keep track of what you consume.

 Foods to Avoid Odor with Colostomy
If you have an ileostomy bag or colostomy, certain foods and beverages may cause gas to build up more quickly in your ostomy bag. Such foods often contain soluble fiber and/or sugars (e.g. fructose, sorbitol, lactose, raffinose), including:

 Apricots (fresh and dried)
 Beans (e.g. black, butter, cannellini, kidney)
 Brussel sprouts
 Dairy products (e.g. milk, cheese, yogurt)
 Soda (regular and diet)

Foods to Avoid with Urostomy
If you have a urostomy, you might be worried about urine odor. Some foods cause stronger odors, however, this can be minimized by drinking more fluids (such as water and cranberry juice). Foods that can intensify urine odor include:


 Even though these foods may contribute to odor and gas production, most are still very healthy for you, so don’t eliminate them entirely from your diet. Before changing your diet or taking any supplements, consult with your healthcare professional. You can choose to limit their intake on social occasions or make use of odor-eliminating products.

Avoid Swallowing Air
Swallowed air often results in increased gas production, so it might be sensible to avoid taking extra air into your digestive system whenever possible. This can also lead to your ostomy bag ballooning. Common causes of swallowed air include:

Chewing gum
Drinking through straws
Drinking carbonated beverages
Eating and drinking too quickly

3. Use a Filter in/on Your Ostomy Pouch
Odorous gas can make its way into your ostomy bag and fill it with air. If that air is not released, the pressure can cause the pouch to inflate, increasing the risk of leaks. Using an odor-reduction filter helps to release this gas in a safe and convenient way.

Many pouches today are designed with an integrated filter. For those that don’t have a filter, you can easily apply one prior to wearing your pouch. Most filters can be applied to any ostomy bag, and work best with a more formed output (but can also be used with other discharge consistencies).

4. Use Odor Eliminators
There are also products that eliminate odors without needing to make drastic dietary changes. Odor eliminators are a great option, available in the form of drops, sprays, and tablets.

Ostomy Bag Deodorizers
Appliance deodorizers are either liquids or gels that are placed in your ostomy bag each time you empty or change your appliance. They are discreet and convenient to use. While some in-pouch deodorizers are scented, others are designed to eliminate odor-causing bacteria.

5. Find the Right Ostomy Bag for You
Ostomy bags come in various shapes and sizes, from small stoma caps to large, overnight bags. Generally speaking, the smaller the ostomy pouch, the more often you will need to empty it. Ostomy pouches are also available in different styles (e.g. 1-piece, 2-piece, disposable, drainable).

When searching for an ostomy bag, make sure you choose a pouch that fits your stoma and typical bowel movement. For instance, if you need to empty your pouch multiple times a day, a small (or even medium-sized) bag might not be large enough.

Products such as wafers, barrier rings and seals, adhesives, and powders are all specially designed to work together with the ostomy bag to prevent leaks and keep the skin around the stoma healthy.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published