Hi lovelies! It's Amy here, or as some of you may know me, ibdwarriorprincess on Instagram.
I hope you all enjoyed Halloween (if you celebrate). I decked our house out with some decorations, we had a pumpkin carving night & really enjoyed it!
Now the weather is getting colder, it can be handy to be aware of the ways that it can affect having an ileostomy, especially when it comes to your equipment and skin etc for your bag to adhere to.
Before I get started, I'd like to just remind you that this isn't medical advice. This post is drawn from my own experiences of living with an ileostomy & my own research.
I'll start with this one as a definite pro of having an ileostomy...see it as your efficient hot water bottle, if you like! I can't be the only one who actually doesn't mind the warmth from fresh output (inside the bag mind, no leaks, please) when it's that bit colder outside!
When it's colder, I tend to reach for the warm drinks without hesitation. However, I've cut down on my caffeine intake hugely as this was proving a big drive for my anxiety & I was getting insane energy crashes, which made my fatigue much harder to deal with. It's important to remember to ensure you are getting enough fluid and the right fluid alongside warm drinks as well. I try to have at least 4 - 5 glasses of squash in the day and I'm really pushing myself to keep my hydration up, especially as I can get a bit lapse with my drinking & eating when the weather is colder.
Winter can dry out your skin, so it's important to remember that this can impact the skin around your stoma too. If you find this, it might be worth using a barrier spray or barrier wipe to help protect and nourish your skin.
Storing your stoma supplies
It might be worth considering where you store your supplies. It's good to bear in mind that if the supplies are somewhere near a radiator or a heat source, that this can affect the adhesive and cause it to break down, potentially leading to bag leaks from poor adhesion in future. It's never a good idea to store your supplies where there's a safety risk anyway (common sense!) I store my medical supplies under my bed in a box (the surplus supplies) & my every day supplies in a little craft organiser caddy in the bathroom.
Clothing - layers!
This time of year definitely calls for more layers! I've never had issues with this myself so it's probably just something to bear in mind and not stress over. More layers can lead to your bag being more restricted which can increase the likelihood of leaks so it's probably a good idea to be safe to check in on your bag every few hours. I swear by the Comfizz products and find that these ensure my stoma is not restricted, as they are designed to allow the stoma to function properly.
Be mindful of everyday skin products
Drier skin usually calls for more all over moisturiser! It's important to remember that everyday moisturisers can affect a stoma bags ability to stick to the skin as the adhesive can break down if it comes into contact with body cream. To avoid this, keep moisturiser away from the stoma bag area and never use it underneath the bag for this reason. Only use specialised stoma products for this, unless medically advised to do otherwise.
Put your new bag under your armpit!
Yes, you read that correctly! A good way to warm up a new bag before taking the adhesive film off to stick it to your skin is to hold the bag under your armpit to warm it up so that it is closer to skin temperature and therefore has a chance of forming a secure adhesive seal. I personally wouldn't recommend using a hairdryer on the hottest setting as an alternative, but maybe a warm setting (one that isn't going to burn your skin or actually melt the adhesive) and not for too long either. It shouldn't take too much time.
Managing supplies stock
As a rule of thumb, whatever time of year, I always like to make sure that I've got at least one unopened delivery when I'm opening a new delivery. This means that I always have extra supplies & bides me extra time in case deliveries are delayed due to bad weather or other reasons.
What are your tips for colder weather with an ileostomy? Comment below.