The vast majority of ostomates have experienced sore skin from around their stoma, at some point in their stoma journey. It is unfortunately an extremely common problem. Irritated and sore skin can cause redness, itching and discomfort, which if left untreated can lead to issues with your stoma appliance sticking effectively to your skin. Sore skin is easily remedied once the cause of the sore skin has been identified. Simple steps need to be taken to get the damaged skin under control by adapting your usual stoma regime slightly, for a short period of time, which will help the skin settle and recover. We believe that all ostomates deserve to live life without their stoma getting in the way.
The causes –
There are a number of potential causes of sore skin, including:
One of the most common reasons for developing sore and irritated skin is due to leakage from your stoma. The output from your stoma can often get underneath the adhesive and onto your skin. This could be due to your appliance not fitting correctly, so it is important to check the correct sizing of your stoma and make sure the hole/aperture fits nicely around your stoma.
Changing stoma shape
your stoma can change shape for a number of different reasons, most commonly in the first 6 weeks post-surgery as it is normal for it to reduce in size as the swelling goes down. If you find you have lost or gained a significant amount of weight, further down the line, your stoma may have also changed size too. You should always ensure that your stoma pouch fits correctly, not too tight or too loose. If you’re unsure, speak to your stoma care nurse who will be able to help.
Pancaking is another common cause of skin irritation. As waste exits the stoma bag, a vacuum can develop between the stoma itself and the plastic lining of the inside of the pouch. As a result of this vacuum, the waste cannot drop to the bottom of the bag as it should, but instead it pools around the top which can result in leaks. This may result in irritated skin beneath the baseplate.
It’s vital that you make sure the skin around your stoma is clean and dry before applying your stoma bag. Applying it to a damp area can affect the adhesive and allow the skin to become more prone to irritation.
There is always a possibility of an allergic reaction being the cause of sore peristomal skin. If you think this may be the case it is worthwhile speaking to your stoma nurse who will be able to recommend some different products that might help.
You can read more about the potential causes of sore skin here.
We would recommend keeping the area around your stoma clean by washing with just warm water. Soaps and fragranced body washes can often contribute to skin irritation. Avoid using baby wipes as they tend to leave an oily residue on your skin which will prevent your pouch from getting a really good seal with your skin. Once clean, make sure you dab the area dry with a towel or dry wipes/kitchen roll. You may wish to apply a skin barrier cream to the sore skin before applying your stoma pouch. This will help soothe any irritated skin. iLex is an extremely popular cream that many ostomates swear by. For more information on treating irritation around your stoma, read our previous blog post here.
iLex is a topical skin barrier cream that is specifically designed to protect the skin. The cream works to form a complete waterproof seal over sore skin and repel harmful fluids and bacteria.
Here’s what some patients have to say…
“For the last few months I had experienced sore skin under my stoma bag. I have tried various powders and creams but it always gets sore again. I tried iLex paste as my stoma nurse recommended it. My skin cleared up and the red patches got smaller. For me, it’s been the only cream that has worked and I shall be continuing to use the cream in the future.”
“Ilex is the only thing that helps my wife with her stoma!”
“I use this cream around my stoma, it works really well in combating granulation tissue, redness and pain around the site.”
Where can you get hold of iLex cream?
If you’re struggling with sore skin or would just like to take measures to prevent it from happening, we would recommend trying iLex. The cream is available to order through Oakmed, get in touch on 0800 592 786 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and order. iLex cream is also available through GoldCare’s delivery service, meaning you can get yours without needing to leave the house.