Tips for Minimizing Ostomy Odors and Gas

It’s natural to be concerned about odors and gas after your ostomy. Explore products and routines for minimizing ostomy odors and gas.

Tips for Minimizing Ostomy Odors and Gas

Learn how to reduce ostomy odors and gas.

One of your first concerns after your ostomy surgery may be unpleasant odors and gas. The good news is that advanced pouch technology and some simple routines can combine to help you minimize odors and gas.

Ostomy odors

Today’s advanced ostomy pouches are made with odor-barrier film. This keeps odor contained inside the pouch. You should notice odor only when you are emptying or changing your pouch. If there’s odor at any other time, check the pouch seal for leakage.

Here are a few more ways to keep odor at bay:

  • Empty your pouch when it is a third to half full. For many people that means one to three times a day.
  • The best time to change your pouching system is in the morning before you have had anything to eat or drink
  • Emptying or changing your pouch regularly can help reduce the risk of leakage. It can also help to avoid a bulge if your pouch is too full.
  • Your diet can also affect the odor of your output. So, make sure you develop healthy eating habits.

Ostomy gas

If you have a colostomy or ileostomy, you may have noticed gas in your pouch, which happens as your bowel begins to function after surgery. The amount of gas varies. However, if you’ve always had excessive gas, you’ll probably still have it after your surgery, but in your pouch.

Gas can be caused by the foods you eat. It can also be the result of swallowing air. Drinking carbonated beverages, smoking, chewing gum, and chewing with your mouth open can all increase the amount of air you swallow.

If you are concerned about gas, you can use a pouch with a filter.

  • The filter lets the gas out of the pouch, but not the odor
  • It also minimizes gas from building up, so the pouch does not inflate like a balloon
  • Filters work best with a more formed discharge, but can be used with other stomal output consistencies

A word about medications

Some medications or nutritional supplements may make good hygiene a little more challenging. They may change the color, odor, or consistency of your output. For people with colostomies or ileostomies, even non-prescription medications, like antacids, can cause constipation or diarrhea. Talk to your healthcare professional or pharmacist before taking any medication or supplements.