So what do I mean when I say “flush”? Well it basically means how close your stoma sits to the skin on your abdomen. You often see people with stoma’s (not generally urostomies) that have quite a protruding stoma and that isn’t because of a prolapse but just the length the surgeon created it to be. I have often found that with people I have spoken too the ones with longer stomas tend to have had a loop surgery. This basically means everything is still attached inside but their stoma is formed whilst their insides are healing, this can be temporary or some people have it like that for as long as they feel comfortable with.
My ileostomy is very flush to the skin and in fact depending on my weight sits beneath my skin which isn’t fun if I don’t use the right supplies to prevent it from leaking. The items that can help if your stoma is flush to the skin tend to be:
- convex bags – some companies do them in different convexity such as light or deep
- wearing a belt with your convex bag helps push your stoma into the bag – these can be worn all the time or for a couple of hours after your bag change
- cutting the hole to the right size is as we all know very important and really does help to get your stoma to sit in the bag correctly
- barrier rings/seals/wedges are also great for adding depth to your convex bag or filling in any dips you have which can also cause your stoma to sit flush to your skin
Issues than can arise from having a flush stoma can be:
- sore skin
- harder to size the stoma
- the appliance not sitting correctly
As always when wanting to try new items with your stoma speaking to your stoma nurse first can help because you don’t want to try something and it cause more problems than you initially had to begin with. Also if you don’t need a convex bag and you use one without proper advice you always run the risk of damaging your stoma which could potentially lead to a prolapse or more surgery. But that is the worst case scenario and really quite and important one not to really think about before trying.
My stoma nurse gave me convex bags within the first few weeks of having my stoma as it was leaking a lot and from what I told her on the phone she said it sounded like my stoma was flush and when she saw me she was able to provide me with the convex version of the bag I was wearing at the time.