6 Tips for Avoiding Ostomy Leakage

Leakage of your stomal output can happen for a variety of reasons. Explore some prevention tips to help you avoid leaks.

6 Tips for Avoiding Leakage

Learn how to help prevent stoma fluid leakage.

Making sure your ostomy pouch adheres properly will go a long way towards preventing leaks. Here are some tips for staying leak-free:

Put a high priority on ostomy skin health. Damaged skin around your stoma can be hard to manage because you need to place the ostomy pouching system over the irritated area. This is why being proactive with your peristomal skin health is so important.



Make sure your skin barrier fits properly. A skin barrier that fits well around your stoma helps protect your skin from being irritated or damaged by drainage. It doesn’t really matter whether your stoma is large or small, or whether it protrudes or not, as long as the drainage flows into your pouch without leaking under the skin barrier.


  • Measure the stoma using a stoma measuring guide before every barrier application
  • Apply the skin barrier, making sure it fits where the skin and stoma meet
  • Verify that no skin is showing between the skin barrier and the stoma
  • Apply stoma powder to any open skin before applying your new pouching system
  • Discontinue use of stoma powder when peristomal skin is no longer weepy or moist to the touch. If red, but not moist, stoma power is not necessary.


Change your ostomy pouch on a regular basis. It is important to change your pouch on a regular basis before it is susceptible to leakage. An overfilled or overweight pouch causes undue strain on your skin barrier attachment to the skin, which could lead to leakage.


  • Change your pouch on a regular schedule before it leaks
  • Pouching system wear time is based on personal preference, your unique stoma, and output
  • Twice a week changes are considered usual


Make sure your ostomy pouch is secure during exercise or physical activity. If you are participating in sporting activities or other forms of exercise, you can wear certain clothing or accessories that can help ease your concerns. The same goes for other “physical activities” (i.e. sex).


  • Use a support garment or an ostomy wrap  to keep the pouch securely in place
  • Try different sports attire, such as running tights or Lycra® shorts, to see what works best
  • It’s also a good idea to empty your pouch before exercise or having sex


Take special care when removing your ostomy skin barrier. Improperly or rapidly removing of your skin barrier could cause skin stripping. The associated damage could lead to irritation, pain, and leaks.


  • Take your time – gentle and slow is best
  • Gently peel the barrier away from skin, starting at the top and working downwards, while pressing against the surrounding skin


Find the right product mix for you. There are many ostomy products and accessories that are designed to ensure good skin health and help prevent leakage. Every stoma is unique, so you will need to determine what is best for you by working with your stoma care nurse, as well as trial and error.


  • Keep up on the latest products and research
  • If you have broken skin around your stoma, use a stoma powder (not talcum powder) to absorb moisture and protect your peristomal skin.
  • Try other leakage prevention products, such as skin barrier rings, paste, and strips


What to do if you have a leak

Following these preventive steps can help you prevent leaks. However, if you do experience leakage, it is important to pinpoint the source. Contact your stoma care nurse for help.