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A Guide To Living With A Stoma

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100% accuracy at time of writing cannot be guaranteed.  A listing in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not mean it is an endorsement.  All companies listed are tried at the reader’s own risk.  All information provided is intended as a supplement to any professional help already

given.  Before acting on suggestions from anyone, ostomates are advised to check with a doctor or stoma care nurse that the course of action is suitable

for them. Whilst every care is taken, the author will not be held responsible.
















Some manufacturers and support groups offer magazines, journals and newsletters.  These are invaluable in many ways - keeping up to date with new products, medical articles, hints and tips, etc.


Some ostomates find it difficult to acknowledge a stoma as part of their body image, but by giving the stoma a name, instead of just ‘it’, they find that this makes the stoma more acceptable and friendly.

Obviously any name is possible, as long as it means something to the ostomate.


It is advisable for urostomates to use a night drainage bag, as this allows extra drainage capacity, and alleviates the need to get up every few hours during the night to empty the urostomy pouch.

It is better to connect the night drainage bag to a urostomy pouch, which contains a quantity of urine.  The urine can be squeezed through the tube into the night drainage bag.  This ensures that air does not collect in the night drainage bag, and urine does not sit in the urostomy bag itself overnight.

It can be beneficial to place this night drainage bag on its stand into a plastic, rectangular washing-up bowl.  If you accidentally catch the tap or it leaks, then the consequential leakage goes into the bowl and not over the floor.

It is essential that reusable night drainage bags are washed thoroughly after every use.  It is acceptable to use water on its own.  


In the UK, free NHS prescriptions (except for glasses) are available for patients, who have a permanent  stoma.  Patients with a temporary stoma have to pay for prescriptions, unless they are eligible for another reason, e.g. over 60 or on low income benefits.   

Free prescriptions are obtained via an NHS Medical Exemption Certificate.  A form FP92A should be completed, ticking the section stating that the applicant has a permanent fistula, which requires an appliance.  This form can be obtained from a hospital doctor, a doctor’s surgery or a stoma care nurse.  Fill in parts 1 and 2, and ask the doctor to sign that the information is correct.  The surgery will forward the completed application form, using the pre-paid envelope, PPAEXENV, to

NHS Help With Health Costs,

Medical Exemption,

Newcastle Upon Tyne.


 Upon approval of the application, the NHS Business Services Authority will forward a white card - about the size of a credit card.  The white card entitles an ostomate to prescriptions free of charge, and is valid until the expiry date shown on the card. The certificate lasts for five years, or until the patient reaches the age of 60.  It should be shown whenever prescriptions are collected.

The NHS Business Services Authority will write about a month before the certificate is due to expire, so that there is ample time to apply for a new certificate.  If an ostomate does not receive a reminder letter and wishes to renew the certificate, the ostomate should contact the NHS Business Services Authority.  It is the ostomate’s responsibility to ensure that they hold a valid certificate every time an exemption is claimed for prescription charges.

Further details can be obtained by telephoning 0845 601 8076, or by visiting the website.


Many ostomates worry about odour problems, but these days, there are many stoma care products, which will help with this concern.

Everyone passes wind, but for those people with a stoma, this can sometimes be very inconvenient or embarrassing, as they have no control over it.  It is very much an individual problem.  Certain foods, which can cause one person to have wind, may be perfectly acceptable to another person.  

All modern appliances have an integral filter incorporated into the pouch, which controls the release of wind, therefore preventing the pouch from inflating or ballooning.  These filters contain charcoal, which helps to neutralise any odours and is effective normally for between six to twelve hours.

A useful tip to reduce odour in your appliance is to place two or three drops of peppermint essence into the stoma pouch.  This is available from most major supermarkets.  






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