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Why Do Ostomy Bags Leak?

An ostomy, also known as stoma, is a surgically created opening between the abdominal wall and the intestines.



An ostomy, also known as stoma, is a surgically created opening between the abdominal wall and the intestines. An ostomy can either be permanent or temporary, and it is commonly connecting the small or the large intestines to the abdominal wall.

According to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, a permanent ostomy is used when parts or the colon, anus and rectum have been removed, which include the muscles that control bowel
elimination. However, under certain circumstances, a permanent ostomy may also be removed.

A temporary ostomy, on the other hand, is created to avoid the passage of stool through the intestines below the stoma. It is created to allow intestines to heal after a surgery or a disease such as Crohn’s disease.

As the ostomy is created, the bowel movement now takes place through the abdominal wall opening. An ostomy appliance consists of water and a bag (called ostomy bag). A wafer sticks to the abdominal wall using adhesives made up of plastic. The bag then catches and holds the stool, and should be replaced or disposed as necessary.

However, there are cases wherein ostomy bags leak, causing discomfort and bad odor. This might be caused by different reasons the patient must find out in order to address and avoid it. These are the possible reasons for ostomy bags leakages:

1. The adhesives are not suitable for your skin type.
Perhaps your skin is allergic to the adhesives put on it, and might be reacting negatively to it. This may result in rashes which may cause the flange not to stick into its proper place.Your skin might also be too moist prior to application which causes the adhesives to loosen.

2. You did not drain it.
Drain your ostomy bag as much as possible to avoid it becoming full, leading to an overflow or leakages.

3. You are not wearing proper clothes.
When you have an ostomy, avoid wearing tight clothes. You need to wear garments that would leave some space and reduce friction of the garment to the base plate which could lead to its loosening at some of its edges.

4. The ostomy does not protrude above the skin.
When it is not protruded, the stool may go under the pouch seal causing some leakages. Make sure there are no creases and that you examine your skin shape as well if it matches the shape of the peristomal

5 thoughts on “Why Do Ostomy Bags Leak?

  1. So pesky if you have this kind of condition and there are so many things that need to be done at the same time. Difficult situation, but need to do it to keep out the discomfort.

  2. It is best to monitor if your ostomy bag always to avoid it from leaking and also to minimize the trouble.

  3. Sometimes I found defective pouches where the flap closures were. The manufacturing process can sometimes cause this. On two separate occasions, I had to discard the entire box, because the whole box of pouches leaked.

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