Most ostomates will be familiar with the various sizes available for stoma pouches, but there is one more that many might not be as familiar with, the stoma cap. Much smaller than the standard stoma pouch, it’s actually considered its own product type and would not be an ideal choice for anyone as a permanent solution. However, stoma caps do have many uses.
A stoma cap is generally only a suitable product for a person who has an end colostomy with a predictable output as they have no capacity to hold stool. For this very reason, they’re only ever intended for use over short periods of time, unless the person is irrigating.
Here are a few occasions that stoma caps can be a real benefit:
Swimming, or being in a pool in general, is one of the most common times ostomates would like a bit of discretion. A stoma cap can often provide this and is usually easily concealed within swimming shorts or a bathing suit. It might not be that you’re embarrassed by your stoma, and you really shouldn’t be, but a stoma cap can be handy as normal pouches can become a nuisance when trying to enjoy the pool (or other water-based activities).
Again, not always necessary, but many people prefer to use the more discrete stoma cap during intimate moments with a partner. Not only is a stoma cap more discrete, it’s also unobtrusive and less prone to getting caught or getting in the way.
Many ostomate athletes will rely on a stoma cap whilst they compete and it’s easy to see why. They’re more aerodynamic for one and less prone to moving around during high impact sports. They can also be more easily combined with a stoma protector to provide a barrier and prevent injury, especially important when playing contact sports.
The only time a stoma cap could be considered a full-time solution is when the ostomate has mastered irrigation. This means emptying the bowels at a scheduled time by flushing water into the colon through the stoma. This can have the advantage of enabling the person to control when their colon is empty, meaning there is little to no need to wear a full sized pouch. It does take some practice and time to train your colon (and yourself) to irrigate properly, but it is an option.