I have had the pleasure of knowing my ileostomy for nearly 3 years and unfortunately in that time have had a large number of pancaking experiences, again not the nice kind. A common reason for this pancake, and the reason for mine is thick output (I know, one day I’ll get a sexy disease!) this can be for reasons such as eating too much fibre or dehydration.
So…preventing pancaking. Everyone is different and the way to deal with pancaking will depend on what is causing it. Another of my problems is that due to my body’s unfortunate reliance on the devil’s drugs (steroids) I have put on a huge amount of weight, currently an impressive 7 stone in fact. Meaning that my clothes keep becoming too tight, this will also restrict the movement of output and will cause the before mentioned problem. The solution to this? Well I’m pretty sure you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realise that you just need to buy bigger clothes. Yes, that does mean shopping!
Lemon and sugar- the only way to eat pancakes! Yes, Pancake Day is here again, the best day of the year for steroid-popping people like me. But the word ‘pancake’ when you have an ostomy, is an entirely different thing.
So, the more unpleasant version of pancaking is when output from the stoma doesn’t fall nicely into the stoma bag, but instead gathers or sticks around the stoma. After a while this can then push itself under the baseplate and cause a nice messy leak.
However if your problem is caused by your output being too heavy, then there are methods to help. There are special bag lubricants that you can get, I have to be honest; I never really got on with them, but I know of many people that swear by them. Another way is to add some air into the bag when putting it on. I will leave it to your imagination some of the ways to do this, but generally the most effective is to just blow some air into your bag before attaching it to you.
Finally it is also important to make sure that your bag is well stuck and the hole in the baseplate cut to the correct size. If the hole is cut too small it will not only damage your stoma but will pull up and encourage output underneath, too big and the output has plenty of room to slip below.
In my spare time, when I’m not being a mum or eating (thanks steroids!) I’m also a busy nurse. I love my job and wouldn’t do anything else and am in a good position to advise patients with IBD/stomas. However I have also learnt from my patients. Occasionally I tell them about my bag in order to be able to bond with them and make them feel more confident. A couple of tips that I have picked up that I do use-
Warming your baseplate slightly before sticking it on will help it stick, sitting on it while preparing your skin is a great way to do this. A quick spray of stoma deodorant into your bag will make it smell better.
Lastly, like I said before- diet will affect your output, I have found it easier to manage by cutting down the amount of fibre I eat (I am not a dietician so am not recommending any sort of diet changes). However when working a 13 hour shift, with a small amount of time to grab food, sometimes it’s a case of if it’s quick to eat- eat it!