My experience of a stoma leak

Aneica Duffy

Aneica Duffy

A leak affects you mentally as well as physically. I am now aware when I feel like a leak is going to happen.

This blog is really personal; admitting about my embarrassing experiences of having a leak is a big step. A leak is when the contents of the pouch leak outside of the pouch.

Having a stoma is not always plain sailing, things can happen at any time which may be out of our control. All ostomates hate the dreaded word ‘LEAK’, when I first got my ileostomy I had a couple of leaks and thought it’s happening because its new and my stomach was swollen so didn’t let it get to me. I then lived in a ‘leak free world’ for about 2 ½ years then one day I had an irritating itch near my stoma but just kept scratching it. I went home and discovered a leak, at that point I was so disappointed and upset with myself that it happened, but I had no time to dwell I had to go to my camogie training.

So I got myself cleaned up and got ‘BOB’ (MY STOMA AT THAT TIME) changed and put on my training gear, through the session I was hoping and praying that it would not happen twice in one day. But thankfully it didn’t, my training session didn’t go as well as id like it to as I was thinking about my stoma. That training session I was so anxious and worried but I think when you become sick you learn to cover a lot of things.

When I look back at this time even though I don’t want to, I realised that I let it get too much to me. A leak affects you mentally as well as physically. I am now aware when I feel like a leak is going to happen, that itchy feeling I will not forget that’s for sure and have learned that scratching it makes the leak develop quicker.

Tips on to prevent a leak

1. Make sure the bag is properly sealed (rub your thumb around the window near stoma)
2. If your output is watery you could use those absorbers (thicken output)
3. Use of a seal
4. Eat bananas/marshmallows to thicken output.

Tips of how to deal with leaks

1. Stay Calm
2. Get all what you need together and get freshened up
3. Keep positive
4. Keep occupied after it, it helps keep your mind healthy 🙂

If anyone has any tips for me on managing leaks I would love to hear as these are just from my experience, remember everyone is different.

Aneica xx

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Aneica, I’m sorry that you have had to experience this at such a young age, at 17 I knew something was wrong as UC is in my family, but doctors never took me seriously- had 2 kids and symptoms were worsening, still no treatment, at 38 I was finally referred to a surgeon who said I was 10 days off a major haemorrhage so colectomy urgently arranged – very scary
    Life was hell running around after 2 toddlers, 50 x day in the loo bleeding and pain constant
    To cut it all short had an illeostomy for a year to rest the bowel then a J pouch for the next 23 years
    Kept getting adhesions after 23 years which meant had to return to illeostomy
    I’ve had it now for a year and am 65 years old
    I feel UC ruined a large part of my life, it was very hard with 2 little kids but that’s life
    Do you think you’ll ever be reversed or happy to stay with BOB?
    I wish you well with whatever decision you make and happy that you can play sport and are obviously enjoying your life!!

    • Hi Heather, you have been through a tough jounery with UC aswell. For me i had my completion of my surgery 2 years past. So my stoma is permanent and im grateful i couldnt go back to those days pre op. Nightmare. Hope your keeping well now.

      Aneica xx

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