Ok I have tried MANY bags while on the hunt for the right one. I have finally found one that works best for me, its still not perfect but after much trial and error its the best I’ve got. BUT hopefully I can give some advice on what I liked and dislike about the many other systems I used.
(If you want product numbers for anything in this post just let me know)
Side notes and things no one really told me:
- Almost all bags will come in clear or opaque. I prefer the clear as gross as it is. Especially in the beginning so you can monitor your output and see what happening in there.
- You can almost always find flat or convex wafers (read below for more info on that)
- Almost all companies sell some kind of paste
- Almost all suppliers will let you order samples. Lots of them. ORDER THEM. They are free and its really helpful to find out what you like. Also if you can, Hollister has a HUGE sample kit they send out to new ostomates but your nurse will have to order it. Coloplast does too.
- There are precut wafers and ones you have to cut yourself. Unless you’ll have your ostomy permanently, I suggest the ones you cut yourself because your stoma will change size.
PS. This entry is SUPER LONG. SUPER. If you’re heading down this road with bags in your future, I suggest that you do take some time to read it. I’m a wealth of info. I also apologize for the hodgepodge of pictures.
COLOPLAST SENSURA CLICK
(Huge long review, bear with me)
This is the system that I use. Its a 2 piece made by coloplast. The wafer (the piece that sticks to your body) is pretty thin, and a plasticy material. It sticks pretty well but if you wait too long to change it, when you do take it off small pieces of the edges will be stuck to your skin and left behind.
Why I like this:
Its a 2 piece system which is always nice. The click is a great locking system and is also really reassuring. Also I wear my bag sideways, so with this system I just unclick and turn it to empty it. Really super easy. Also the BEST thing about coloplast is the opening. Its BY FAR the best out of all other bags in my opinion. Take a look at the picture of the opening, and you’ll see that its a thick plastic, that sort of folds back on itself for easy emptying and cleaning. There is velcro behind it to keep it in place when its open and then when you close it and roll it, there is velcro to keep in in place. Its the BEST and EASIEST to clean. I would HIGHLY recommend an opening like this.
Also I use the MIDI bag instead of the usual MAXI bag. I found that when I did wear the MAXI bag downward it hit my thighs in a stupid spot and was uncomfortable. This bag is smaller and shorter and works well for me because I’m short, but you do run the risk of having to empty more often.
I also use the convex wafer…which…means its turned in and not flat. It helps to make your stoma pop out. This convex wafer doesn’t push to far/hard so its not painful and doesn’t make the site sore.
The bag also fold up inside of itself to make it even smaller.
I also cut the hold on the wafer a little to one side that way the stick part doesn’t fall into my belly button and then not stick as well. A little trick of the trade there.
The wafer falling apart is sorta annoying. Its also thicker than I would like but again..its really not that bad.
HOLLISTER 2 PIECE WITH FLOATING FLANGE
What I like about this:
The wafer and the bag together is SUPER SUPER flat. You can barely tell its there at all. Honestly. After surgery this one is great because of the floating flange.
All other 2 piece systems you have to press it into your belly to get it to click together. This one you can lift up the part that it clicks to, so there is no pressure on your stomach. Its a nice simple easy 2 piece, that you can “burp” easily if you’ve got some air in your bag, which can be a perk. The wafer is a cloth type material and lays completely flat to your skin. Its pretty nice.
What I don’t like about this:
THE OPENING THE OPENING THE OPENING! I would have stuck with this system from the beginning if the opening didn’t SUCK. There is no velcro, which is not a deal breaker but it helps. The end is a plastic but it isn’t as thick or stiff as the coloplast one so often you can’t get it open without sorta fishing in there to get the two sides to separate. There is also a small plastic lip on the ends, which I would cut off if I were going to use this system. Its harder to turn to the side than the coloplast one, but it is still possible. The opening also just rolls a few times and then sorta has this velcro type material at the bottom that holds it together.
CONVATEC 2 PIECE SYSTEM
Things I like about this:
The opening is ok. Its better than Hollister. There is reinforced plastic in there so it makes it easier to open but not as clean like on the Coloplast. Also you roll it like the Hollister piece but there is another piece that goes over the roll for further reinforcement, which I liked. The click on this worked pretty well but it was hard to get to snap.
Things I didn’t like about this:
The click put a lot of pressure on a fresh from surgery stomach. Hurt a lot. And because I was afraid to push, I was afraid it wasn’t clicked in to place properly. Also the wafer on this thing is HUGE. Its really thick, which makes the whole system thicker than desirable. I felt like because it was so thick it didn’t want to stick to my skin as well, and over all just didn’t care for it. I wore this system once and decided I hated it.
COLOPLAST 2 PIECE FLEX
(Sticky two piece)
Things I like about this:
It is SUUUUUUPER flat. Like the flatest ever, you CANNOT tell that its there. That was awesome. Also it has the opening that I LOVE by coloplast.
Things I hate about this:
I don’t really see the point. Because its sticky, its essentially a 2 piece…thats kind of a one piece. The only benefit is that you could change the bag every few days without changing the wafer, but once you take the bag off, you have to kinda clean off the sticky part which is about impossible. Nice idea, bad execution.
COLOPLAST 1 PIECE
Things I like about this:
Uhm the opening…its awesome…duh.
Things I hate about this:
I dislike the one piece for many reasons. You cannot change the bag more frequently. Also you cannot turn it to the side like I like to do. Some people like it and feel more secure, but I found it just more obnoxious. For me the Coloplast wafers are also too big when put on my skin the way they are supposed to go (horizontal) so I put them on vertical…which clearly you cannot do if you have a one piece.
ACCESSORIES YOU’LL USE
Ok there are just TONS of stuff that you can use if your skin gets irritated or whatever. Here is some of the stuff I use.
In the picture there is:
— A measuring guide: Your stoma changes sizes (weird right?) so you’re supposed to measure it once a week.
–Stoma Powder: This helps if the skin around your stoma is red an irritated.
–The little wet nap lookin thing is adhesive remover. It helps to take the wafers off your skin without hurting.
— The tube is coloplast paste. You put paste around the hold on the wafer to help keep it stuck to your skin and help prevent leaks. Remember my post on leaks? Use paste (I did and I still got one)
–The Stick thingy is a different kind of paste. Both have their perks. I think so far I like this one because the tube gets clogged after every use, but with the stick you have to touch it and its REALLY sticky.
–The circle thingy is yet again a type of paste. Except this one you just stick on the circle of the wafer and mold it to fit. Many people like these but I found them to be too thick.
–The blue ring on the picture is where you’d put the paste (the blue isn’t really there)
Many thanks for posting this review! I’ve started looking at different systems and have been a little overwhelmed at all the choices out there. Your review has helped me get a better idea of the options. 🙂
One question: what kind of scissors do you use to cut the wafer? I’ve heard that a pair with a curved tip works best, but is that necessary?
Whew! I’m glad it helped someone! As for the scissors, I do use the ones with a curved end. I got 2 pairs from the hospital, and one pair in the Hollister starter kit. You could probably ask your surgeon or stoma nurse for a pair. The curved tip is nice, but mostly just for one piece systems because you run the risk of cutting the bag on the other side of the hole.
I use the 2-piece Coloplast adhesive one but I agree Hollister’s lock n’ roll tail is the worst. I’m not sure who designed it but I’m pretty sure it was by someone who doesn’t have to clean it. That’s probably the only thing keeping me from using it because I like everything else about it. Great review, Jackie.
I have my pre-op appointment in about two weeks and I have no idea what to expect/ask. This will at least give me a starting point.
Super thorough guide, I like it! Wish there was something like that out there when I was coming out of surgery.
Just a few thoughts/additions from my own experience:
– I really wasn’t enthused about cutting my wafer to fit, so early on I liked the Convatec moldable wafers (you sort of stretch/roll them rather than cut them since they’re soft).
– If the ring/circle paste thing is too thick, there’s also this thing called Hollister Premium Barrier that’s basically a thin version of it. You need to cut it yourself (comes in big squares) but it’s way thinner.
– Belts! They are super awesome for keeping things all attached (especially as the bag gets fuller). I haven’t tried the Coloplast one, but the Hollister belt was definitely nicer than the Convatec belt.
– Cavilon no-sting barrier film! It’s a little sponge in a packet that you dab on your skin around your stoma (usually on top of powder) and creates a nice thin barrier.
– Nu-hope bags! They are awesome. I had a super-flat stoma (it was a loop ileo and they barely made it reach) and their deep convex wafers were a lifesaver.
Thanks for your review. 🙂 I had my surgery a year ago next week and have a perm ileostomy due to Crohns.
I did want to comment on your review of ConvaTec. It is by far the best system out there – especially the moldable wafer – no cutting required. Also the best adhesive technology in the business – I recommend the durahesive – it is long wear. They are currently redesigning all of their pouches and they will be launched this fall. softer fabric, better shape, wider outlet.
The coloplast pouch has “velcro” to close the pouch. This is not easily cleaned if it is soiled. ConvaTec uses plastic nub like interlocking needles that is secure and cleans very easily. Also to comment on your post surgery tenderness. ConvaTec makes a low pressure adaptor that is meant to be used in the few weeks following surgery that makes it completly pain free to apply pouch and is temporary to the system unlike the Hollister floating flange. The system is very low profile – I am female and wear tight clothing sometimes and it is completely undetectable and comfortable. ConvaTec is also the most innovative ostomy company out there, they are actually developing new technology that will change our lives – the others are not.
I appreciate your comments. Convatec just didn’t work for me. The moldable opening is a good idea but I didn’t try that one out. After the time I spent in the 2 piece system I had from them, I didn’t have a desire to continue. i didn’t like the opening, and I HATED, repeat HATED the wafer I had through them. It was nothing shy of awful. SO thick, and didnt stick to me at all. And like I said after surgery (which is when I tried this system) it was FAR too much pressure on my stomach. Mega turn off.
Hi! I love your review. I am almost three weeks out of surgery for a permanent ileostomy due to Crohn’s. Right now, I am waffling between the two-piece Coloplast and the two-piece Hollister. I love the Coloplast pouch, but the normal sized wafer I tried kept buckling, creating little tunnels that poo could possibly escape from. My ostomy nurse just recently gave me a smaller sized pediatric wafer to try which seemed to stick much, much better and flatter. I also use the midi bags. I will probably end up sticking with that option if the pediatric wafers continue to work for me.
I really like the Hollister wafer though. Actually, today is the first day I’ve tried it, so I’ll see how much I like it after showering with the tape. But if it holds, I like how smooth and flat it is. No chance of buckling like the hard plastic Coloplast one. I wish that it had a similar locking mechanism, but I still feel confident that it isn’t going to pop off. I just WISH WISH WISH that it had the Coloplast opening…they really do have the best opening. I also hate the fact that the tail doesn’t fold up further. I’m afraid that the closure part is going to rip open.
If only I could mix and match!!!!!!!!
Also, paste. 🙁 I think I like using the normal paste, but I have such a hard time squeezing it out of the tube in a nice even strip. It’s also hard to make it detach from the tube after I’m finished applying it. I just tried using a Hollister barrier ring today. I kind of like it, but don’t like touching the stickiness. I also thought it was too thick, so I ripped it in half and molded it back into a circle… The thing I like about paste though is that some of it can squeeze around the stoma when you apply pressure when putting the wafer on…The barrier ring just kind of stays where you put it.
hi, i have a four-week old permanent, flat/retracted stoma and my ostomy nurse gave me Marlen pouches to try as they are very convex. My experience, so far, isn’t great. Several have deteriorated (seams break, leakage from who knows where, etc).
Has anyone else had such problems with Marlen (or anything else to avoid)?
I had a complete removal of my large intestine and a hysterctomy all at the same time last year. I wore the ostomy bag for 6 weeks while my j-pouch healed. I go to the bathroom on average 7-8 times a day and constantly hace a raw, bleeding behind. However, I do not have the same UC pain as I had before. I had to be placed on disability because I cannot eat and work at the same time. I was a high school English teacher and I could not leave my class unattended while I made a bathroom break. I hope your next surgery goes well.
Hi, thanks for your reviews – just wondering how you go ‘burping’ the coloplast click – can you do this? I tried these ones and thought they were the best ones I had worn (I’m also short and having trouble finding smaller bags etc), I was wearing it on the side and went to unlock it to turn it round to empty and ‘bang’ the whole bag came off….. what a mess (was at a friend’s party to boot!). I haven’t wanted to try it again as it worries me so much – has that happened to you? I’m now using the Hollister 2 piece, midi bag and they are working okay, but I wish I could get the gumption up to try the coloplast click again!!