Preventing ostomy pouch leaks

Keeping the skin around the stoma – called the peristomal skin – healthy and clean will go a long way towards helping your ostomy pouch adhere properly and preventing leaks.


Following these guidelines can aid in avoiding leaks with your ostomy pouch:

  • Check the peristomal skin for redness or irritation. It should look like the skin on the rest of the abdomen. If it is red, bleeding or showing signs of irritation, the pouching system is not fitting properly. Make sure that the opening in the skin barrier is correct and that the pouching system is fitting.
  • Check the stoma. It should be red, moist and may bleed a little. According to the National Institutes of Health, “A little bleeding is normal. Your skin should be pink or red. Call your doctor if it is purple, black, or blue.”
  • To remove excess skin barrier adhesive, use only plain water and/or mild soap. You may also want to use an adhesive remover (thoroughly clean the skin after using adhesive remover).
  • You can use a barrier wipe to put a protective film over your skin (not recommended for use with extended wear barriers).
  • Empty your ostomy pouch when it’s 1/3 full
  • Try other leak prevention products, such as rings, paste and strips.

Talk to your doctor or WOC (Wound, Ostomy and Continence) nurse if you’re experiencing frequent leaks with your ostomy pouching system.


Related articles:
Deciding on an ostomy pouching system
Ostomy care at work
Attaching an ostomy pouch