Controlling ostomy odours

Common Problems

Kate, a community stoma nurse, talks about odour control when you have a stoma.

Bathroom odours can be a challenge, but ostomates do have a number of options when it comes to odour control. In this video, I’ll be going over the most popular options of dealing with ostomy pouch odours.

Before I offer these tips, it’s important to remember that you should only notice odour from your ostomy pouch when emptying it or doing an appliance change; a sealed pouch should NOT smell.  If you notice odours at any other time, it could indicate a leak, a defective ostomy appliance, improperly cleaned pouch outlet or a non-functioning filter. You should talk to your ostomy nurse if you are noticing odour at times others than emptying or changing.

Here are some odour eliminating products which you may have heard of or tried:

First up- In Pouch Ostomy Deodorant. In-pouch deodorants are either liquids or gels that are poured into your ostomy pouch with each bag change and if you wish every time you empty your pouch. This type of odour eliminator is designed to help eliminate or neutralise biological ostomy odours from inside the ostomy pouch. Many of these deodorants are lightly scented and some are designed to kill odour-causing bacteria.

Next is Toilet deodorants: toilet deodorants help to eliminate any odours that can occur when emptying a pouch into the toilet. A few drops are added to the toilet before emptying the pouch. The drops work by trapping odours below the water surface until they are flushed away. Many people find this option to be both effective and convenient. Some brands come in large and small bottles so you can stick a small bottle in your pocket or handbag when you are out and about.

Ostomy deodorant sprays is another option: An Ostomy Deodorant Spray differs from regular deodorising sprays and air fresheners as it neutralises odour rather than simply masking it. There are various brands and various scents that usually come in a small compact can that is easy and convenient to use at home and outside the home. Regular air fresheners are also an option to use but many people find them quite heavily scented and they only mask the odour, they don’t completely eliminate it.

If you have ever searched online for ostomy odour solutions, I’m sure you will have come across some very creative DIY solutions. While some of these may work, I hesitate to recommend them as it isn’t clear if their “off-label” use is safe. Remember, your stoma (especially an ileostomy) has the potential to absorb nutrients, as well as chemicals.

Certain foods can can cause output odour.

Foods that commonly cause odours are: Asparagus, fish, garlic and onions.

Some foods are believed control odour. Such as: Buttermilk, cranberry juice, yoghurt and parsely.

Everyone is different: These foods may or may not affect you in these ways. Listen to your body. If you notice a food causes a strong odour, you may wish to limit or avoid it.

Likewise with odour eliminating products. Play around with the different options, if they are available to you and find out which one suits you best.


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