A Quick Start Guide to Buying Colostomy Supplies

Angela Breslin, RN
April 10, 2024
min read

When searching for colostomy supplies, it's crucial to find not just any products, but the right ones tailored to your specific needs. Quick essentials for starting include:

  • Colostomy Bags: To collect waste directly from your stoma.
  • Skin Barriers/Wafers: To protect the skin around your stoma.
  • Deodorants: To manage odor from the colostomy bag.
  • Accessories: Such as belts or protective covers for additional support and discretion.

Understanding colostomy and the importance of the right supplies cannot be overstated. Whether it's temporary or permanent, having the correct equipment significantly impacts your comfort, health, and overall quality of life. Selecting the best colostomy supplies means considering factors like lifestyle, stoma type, and personal preference to ensure a comfortable and secure fit.

At ProMed DME, we specialize in providing personalized support to help you navigate your choices, along with competitive perks like insurance billing, free shipping, and free samples to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Living with a colostomy may require adjustments, but with the right supplies and support, you can lead a fulfilling life.

Infographic description: A visual guide to choosing colostomy supplies. Four sections labeled: 1. Colostomy Bags - Images of different types like closed, drainable, and urostomy bags with brief descriptions. 2. Skin Barriers/Wafers - Illustrations of pre-cut, cut-to-fit, and moldable options, explaining the use of each. 3. Deodorants and Accessories - A showcase of deodorant options and various accessories like belts and covers. 4. Personalized Support - A figure next to a helpline, emphasizing the importance of expert guidance. The bottom of the infographic includes ProMed DME's contact information and a call to action: "Equip yourself with the best. Contact us today." - colostomy supplies infographic pillar-5-steps

Understanding Colostomy

When it comes to navigating life after a colostomy, understanding is your best ally. Let's break down the essentials: the types of ostomies, the reasons for needing a colostomy, and the difference between temporary and permanent solutions.

Types of Ostomies

There are three main types of ostomies, each with its unique function:

  • Colostomy: Involves the large intestine and is often required when parts of the colon are removed or need to rest.
  • Ileostomy: This type involves the small intestine, usually needed when the entire colon is bypassed.
  • Urostomy: Not related to stool but urine diversion, involving the urinary tract.

Each type of ostomy serves a distinct purpose and requires specific care and supplies.

Reasons for a Colostomy

A colostomy might be necessary for several reasons, including:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Conditions like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis can necessitate a colostomy.
  • Cancer: Colon, rectal, or bladder cancer might require the removal of parts of the intestine or bladder, leading to an ostomy.
  • Injury or Blockage: Trauma or obstructions in the digestive or urinary tract can make an ostomy essential.

Understanding why a colostomy is needed can help in adapting to life with an ostomy.

Temporary vs. Permanent

Colostomies can be either temporary or permanent:

  • Temporary Colostomies are created to give a part of the intestine time to heal. After the healing process, the colostomy can be reversed.
  • Permanent Colostomies are necessary when a significant portion of the intestine has been removed, or the rectum is no longer functional.

Knowing whether your colostomy is temporary or permanent can influence the type of supplies and care needed.

Remember that choosing the right colostomy supplies is crucial for your health and comfort. Whether you're looking for colostomy bags, skin barriers, or additional accessories, understanding your specific needs is the first step. At ProMed DME, we offer personalized support, insurance billing, free shipping, and free samples to help you find the perfect fit for your lifestyle.

Choosing the Right Colostomy Supplies

Choosing the right colostomy supplies is more than just picking out products; it's about finding the right fit for your lifestyle, your body, and your needs. Let's dive into the essentials: types of colostomy bags, skin barriers, and the additional accessories you might need.

Types of Colostomy Bags

Coloplast, Hollister, ConvaTec are three major brands offering high-quality colostomy bags. Each brand has its unique features, but here's the gist:

  • Drainable vs. Closed-End: Drainable bags are suitable for those who prefer not to change their bag too often, as they can be emptied. Closed-end bags are disposable and are ideal for those seeking convenience, especially when out and about.

  • One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Systems: In one-piece systems, the bag and adhesive are one unit, making them easier to change but potentially less flexible. Two-piece systems, where the bag and adhesive base (wafer) are separate, offer more flexibility and can be more comfortable for some users.

Skin Barriers and Wafers

Skin barriers, also known as wafers or flanges, are crucial for protecting your skin and ensuring a secure fit for your colostomy bag. They come in Pre-cut, Cut-to-fit, and Moldable options:

  • Pre-cut barriers are ready to use and are great if your stoma size matches the pre-cut sizes available.
  • Cut-to-fit barriers allow for a custom fit, especially useful if your stoma is between standard sizes or has an irregular shape.
  • Moldable barriers adapt to the shape of your stoma, providing a personalized fit that helps prevent leaks and skin irritation.

Additional Colostomy Accessories

To enhance your comfort and confidence, consider these additional accessories:

  • Barrier Rings: Improve the seal around your stoma, reducing the risk of leaks.
  • Stoma Caps: Handy for short-term use when you want more discretion than a full-size bag offers.
  • Pouch Clamps: Essential for securing drainable bags.
  • Adhesive Remover: Gently removes adhesive residue, protecting your skin.
  • Lubricating Deodorant: Minimizes odor and helps content to move to the bottom of the bag, making emptying easier.

Personalized Support: At ProMed DME, our specialists are here to help you navigate the options and find the right products for your needs. Whether you're new to colostomy care or looking to switch products, we're here for you.

Insurance Billing: We work directly with your insurance to ensure your supplies are covered, minimizing out-of-pocket costs.

Free Shipping: Enjoy the convenience of having your supplies delivered directly to your door at no extra cost.

Free Samples: Not sure which product is right for you? Try before you buy with our free samples.

Choosing the right colostomy supplies is about more than just the physical products; it's about finding the right support and services to make your life easier and more comfortable. With ProMed DME, you have a partner in your care, ready to provide the products, support, and advice you need.

Caring for Your Colostomy

Living with a colostomy might feel overwhelming at first, but with the right knowledge and tools, it can become just another part of your routine. Let's dive into how you can best care for your colostomy and maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.

Proper Stoma Care

Keeping your stoma clean and healthy is crucial. Gently wash the skin around your stoma with warm water and mild soap every day. Pat the area dry thoroughly before applying a new bag or skin barrier. This simple routine helps prevent skin irritation and infections.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Your colostomy bag should be emptied when it's about one-third to one-half full. This prevents leaks and overfilling. For cleaning reusable bags, use warm water and a mild, non-perfumed soap. Rinse well to ensure no soap residue remains that could irritate your skin.

Preventing Complications

Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help catch any issues early. Be on the lookout for signs of infection around the stoma, such as redness, swelling, or unusual discharge. If you notice anything concerning, don't hesitate to reach out to your medical team.

Active Lifestyles

A colostomy shouldn't stop you from staying active. Whether you enjoy walking, swimming, or yoga, you can continue most activities. Secure your colostomy bag with a special belt or garment designed for physical activity to keep everything in place while you move.

Diet Considerations

After a colostomy, you may need to adjust your diet. Start by reintroducing foods slowly to see how they affect your digestion and stoma output. Drinking plenty of water is essential, and some people find that certain foods increase gas or odor. Keeping a food diary can help you track how different foods affect you.

Support Networks

Connecting with others who understand what you're going through can be incredibly helpful. Look for local or online support groups through organizations like the United Ostomy Associations of America. Sharing experiences and tips with others in similar situations can provide comfort and practical advice.

Living with a colostomy might require some adjustments, but it doesn't have to define your life. With the right care, maintenance, and support, you can lead a full and active life. ProMed DME is here to support you every step of the way, from providing quality colostomy supplies to offering personalized advice. You're not alone in this journey.

Frequently Asked Questions about Colostomy Supplies

Navigating life with a colostomy can bring up many questions, especially when it comes to the supplies you need. Here are answers to some of the most common questions to help make your journey a bit easier.

How often should I change my colostomy bag?

The rule of thumb is to change your colostomy bag every 3-5 days. However, this can vary based on your personal comfort, lifestyle, and the type of bag you're using. Listening to your body and consulting with your healthcare provider can help you determine the best schedule for you. Leaving your pouch on too long can lead to leaks and skin irritation.

Can I shower or swim with a colostomy bag?

Yes, you can! Most colostomy bags are designed to be water-resistant, allowing you to shower and swim without worry. It's a good idea to check the seal around your stoma before getting into the water and consider using a waterproof cover for extra protection. After swimming, just pat the area dry. Showering or swimming can be part of your normal routine, just with a little extra preparation.

How do I choose the right size and type of colostomy bag?

Choosing the right colostomy bag depends on several factors including the location of your stoma, the consistency of your output, and your lifestyle. Here are a few tips to help you choose:

  • Consider the stoma's location: The position of your stoma on your abdomen can influence the type of bag that fits best.
  • Think about your output: Different bags are suited to different consistencies of waste. For example, ileostomy bags are designed for more liquid output.
  • Reflect on your lifestyle: Your daily activities and personal preferences might make one type of bag more comfortable or convenient than another.

Seek personalized advice: It's always a good idea to consult with a Wound, Ostomy, Continent (WOC) nurse or a specialist from ProMed DME. They can offer personalized recommendations based on your specific needs. Plus, ProMed DME offers free samples, allowing you to try before you buy.

There's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to colostomy supplies. What works best for you might be different from someone else. The key is to find supplies that provide comfort, confidence, and convenience, allowing you to enjoy life to the fullest.

Living with a colostomy might seem daunting at first, but with the right supplies and support, you can continue to do all the things you love. If you have more questions or need guidance in choosing your colostomy supplies, don't hesitate to reach out to ProMed DME. We're here to help you navigate this journey with ease and confidence.


Empowerment through Education

At ProMed DME, we believe knowledge is power, especially when it comes to managing your health. Understanding your colostomy and how to best care for it can dramatically improve your quality of life. That's why we're committed to providing not just top-quality colostomy supplies, but also the information you need to use them effectively.

Education is a cornerstone of empowerment. By learning about the different types of colostomy bags, skin barriers, and accessories, you can make informed decisions about what works best for you. There's no one-size-fits-all solution. Each person's needs are unique, and what works for one individual may not work for another.

ProMed DME's Commitment

Our commitment to you goes beyond just supplying products. We strive to be a partner in your journey, offering personalized support every step of the way. From insurance billing to free shipping and samples, we aim to make the process as seamless and stress-free as possible.

We understand that navigating colostomy supplies can be overwhelming. That's why our specialists are always ready to assist you, providing guidance and support tailored to your individual needs. Whether you're new to living with a colostomy or looking to try new supplies, we're here to help.

At ProMed DME, we're more than just a supplier; we're part of your support network. We're dedicated to helping you lead an active, fulfilling life, regardless of your medical needs. It's not just about providing you with supplies; it's about offering you the tools and knowledge to live your life on your terms.

For more information on our range of products and how we can support your journey, visit our urology supplies page.

Empowerment through education and our unwavering commitment to you are what set ProMed DME apart. Together, we can navigate the challenges and celebrate the victories. Here's to living a life defined not by your medical condition, but by your courage, strength, and spirit.

View Resource

Discover the ProMed Advantage
& Try Our Products

We offer free shipping and legendary customer service to ensure you receive the
best DME products for your needs.