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Returning to normal life

Learning the lingo

When you are introduced to the term ostomy or stoma you may not be prepared for the vast amount of new words and phrases that you will hear associated with it.

To help your understanding, we have created a basic ostomy terminology guide, based around different pouching systems/products and common ostomy problems that you may encounter.

Making sense of stoma products

Adhesive RemoverA helpful tool to ease pouch removal and to clean the adhesive that might stick to the skin after removing the pouch. Available in spray or wipe format.
Appliance/Pouch/BagA collection device worn over the stoma to contain body waste
Convexity (Convex stoma appliances)Convexity is defined as the outward curving of a base plate or skin barrier. The convexity allows a retracted or flush stoma to stick out more to ensure the output is directed into the pouch to prevent leaks. (You should seek assessment from a stoma care nurse before using a convex pouch)
FilterLets gas escape from the pouch but not odour
Flange/BaseplateThe flange is the adhesive part of the pouching system that sticks to the skin around the stoma
Ostomy beltBelts that wrap around the abdomen and attach to the loops found on certain pouches. Belts can also be used to help support the pouch and provide additional security
Seal/RingAn absorbent ring that can help prevent leaks. It is placed over your stoma before applying your pouch
Skin barrier/Skin protectorUsed to help protect the skin under the flange and around the stoma from irritation caused by harsh output. They also help with the adhesion of the pouch
Skin barrier pastePaste that can be used to fill in skin folds, crevices or scars on the abdomen underneath the pouch flange, thereby creating an even surface and a better seal
Stoma measuring guideA card used to measure the stoma from the base. This is useful in selecting the right pouch size
One-Piece pouchThis system has the pouch and adhesive base plate (also known as flange, wafer or skin protector/barrier) combined as one item
Two-Piece pouchThis system has a separate pouch and adhesive base plate which attach to each other using either a clip-on or stick-on coupling system
Ballooning (of stoma appliance)Occurs when a stoma pouch/bag fills up with gas. This is most likely to occur when the filter is blocked or ineffective or where there is no filter on the pouch/bag
ExcoriationA term used to describe severe skin damage around the stoma, where the skin integrity is broken, leading to a moist, bleeding area
HerniaA weakness in the muscle layer where internal organs may protrude. A parastomal hernia appears as a bulge around the stoma (the bulge being loops of intestine), is a common complication which may occur weeks, months or years after stoma surgery and can cause discomfort and problems with stoma appliances
MacerationWhen the skin immediately around the stoma is excoriated and moist
Pancaking (of stoma appliance)Caused when faeces stay on top of the stoma, and do not move down into the bottom of the pouch/bag
Peristomal skinThe skin immediately around the stoma
Prolapse (of stoma)Occurs when the bowel protrudes through the stoma opening in the skin further than was anticipated
Wear timeThis is the length of time a product can be worn before it needs to be replaced. This can vary depending on the product and your
individual output

If you are concerned about any of these problems, please contact your Stoma Nurse.

Introducing: A Bigger Life Community

A safe and welcoming space for ostomates, friends, family and caregivers to talk about a wide range of topics related to living with a stoma.