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HOME >> NEWS >>Nursing Tips >> How to Clean the Skin Around the Stoma?

How to Clean the Skin Around the Stoma?

To clean the skin around your stoma, all you really need to use is warm water and a washcloth (or good quality paper towels). The use of gauze or gloves is not usually necessary, although you can use them if you feel more comfortable.

For those that prefer to use soap to clean around the stoma, it’s best to use a very mild soap. Avoid using soaps and cleansers with oils, perfumes or deodorants since these can sometimes cause skin problems or prevent your skin barrier from sticking.

Rinse the soap off the skin around your stoma very well. Soap residue may keep your skin barrier from sticking and may also cause skin irritation.

If you are using a skin paste, it may be easier to remove the paste before you wet the area. Some people may use adhesive remover. Do not worry if a little bit of paste is left on your skin.

Always dry your skin well before putting on your new pouching system.

Do not use alcohol or any other harsh chemicals to clean your skin or stoma. They may irritate your skin.

Do not use baby wipes or towelettes than contain lanolin or other oils, as these can interfere with the skin barrier adhesive and may irritate your skin.

Unless recommended, do not apply powders or creams to the skin around your stoma because they can keep your skin barrier from sticking.

Sometimes you may see a small amount of blood on your cloth. The stoma tissue contains small blood vessels and may bleed a small amount when cleaned. Any bleeding that does not stop should be reported to your health care provider. The stoma has no nerve endings, so you are not able to feel if you are rubbing too hard. For this reason, use a gentle touch when cleaning around the stoma and do not scrub.

The basic rule that applies is not to use too many products on the skin. Do not use adhesive remover if you have skin that tears very easily. If you do use adhesive remover, always wash well with water and mild soap to remove the oily coating on the skin. Then rinse the skin well with water and dry completely.

If you recently had ostomy surgery, it’s recommended to measure your stoma once a week for the first six to eight weeks after surgery. Your stoma shrinks while it’s healing and you will need to make sure that the opening in the skin barrier is the right size for your stoma. Re-measure your stoma if you experience skin irritation close to your stoma or beneath the skin barrier wafer.


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