When someone gets their first ostomy bag, their first concern is typically about how to empty it without making a mess.
This can be intimidating for beginners – but luckily, there’s nothing to worry about.
As long as you know what you’re doing, emptying an ostomy bag while avoiding a mess is simple; so that’s why we’ve made this handy guide with all the tips and tricks you need to know about emptying your ostomy bag without any mess!
Ways To Empty An Ostomy Bag
Emptying an ostomy bag doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach, and there’s no wrong way for you to empty your ostomy bag.
Do what’s most comfortable and effective for you!
If you aren’t experienced, however, emptying your ostomy bag can be daunting.
Here are some of the most common methods to empty an ostomy bag stress- and mess-free.
The most widely-used way to empty an ostomy bag is while sitting down on the toilet.
This lets you pour out the contents of your bag directly into the toilet through the gap between your legs.
Simply sit with your legs apart, and aim the tail of your ostomy bag through the gap before opening it.
If you’re worried about splashing, you can reduce the risk of it by leaning forward on the toilet; this gives you more control over the bag and reduces the risk of the contents splashing.
Sitting down to empty an ostomy bag isn’t for everyone, however, and there are some drawbacks.
Sitting on the toilet limits the amount of wriggle room you have – additionally, if the seat is too small then you may not have enough space to comfortably empty your ostomy bag.
Standing up to empty your bag is another common method, especially for men who are used to standing while peeing.
It’s also really convenient once you get the hang of it, letting you empty your ostomy bag without the hassle of undressing or dealing with enclosed spaces.
However, standing up to empty your ostomy bag comes with some risks. If your aim is off, then you might end up spilling some of the contents of the bag on the floor or even on yourself.
There’s also more of a risk of splashback because you’ll be emptying out from higher up; to help reduce this, you can lean down to bring your bag closer to the toilet.
While there are some risks to the standing method, it’s a quick and convenient method when you get the hang of it.
It might not be the most used method, but kneeling down to empty your ostomy bag can come with some benefits.
The main advantage of kneeling is that it brings your ostomy bag closer to the toilet, which reduces the risk of splashing and makes it easier to control the bag.
While you wouldn’t want to do this in a public restroom (for obvious reasons), doing it at home where you know the floor is clean can make emptying your ostomy bag much easier if you’re worried about your aim.
If you’re taking this approach, it’s a good idea to invest in a thick bath mat, towel, or some other type of cushioning to take the pressure off of your knees.
Alternatively, an easy workaround is to squat in front of the toilet instead; this lowers your ostomy bag in line with the toilet without you having to worry about unsanitary conditions or hurting your knees.
Emptying Into Another Container
Some people won’t empty their ostomy bag directly into the toilet, and will instead empty it into another container to be disposed of in the bin.
This is a handy method for people who also suffer from mobility issues and might not be able to get up easily.
It’s also a good way to reduce the risk of spills and splashes, as you can empty your bag directly into the container to be sealed immediately.
How To Avoid Splashing: Tips And Tricks
So now we’ve covered the most popular ways to actually empty your ostomy bag in the first place, let’s take a look at some ways you can avoid making a mess. Splashback is one of the biggest fears when it comes to emptying an ostomy bag, but using these handy tricks and tips lets you put your worries behind you.
Aim For The Sides Of The Toilet
Instead of aiming directly at the water in the toilet bowl, try to aim the opening of your bag at the walls of the toilet.
This keeps the contents of your bag from falling into the water and making a splash, as the wall absorbs the impact and acts as a barrier to slow the waste down.
This can be a bit tricky to get the hang of at first, but with the proper angle you can empty your ostomy bag splash-free.
Put Toilet Paper In The Toilet First
This trick is similar to aiming at the walls of the toilet, but with less technique involved.
All you have to do is ball up some toilet paper and toss it in the toilet before you start to empty your ostomy bag.
The toilet paper acts as a barrier and absorbs the impact of the waste – no splashes!
Empty Your Bag Carefully
This should go without saying, but opening your ostomy bag too quickly can lead to the contents making a splash in the toilet.
Emptying your bag slowly and carefully gives you more control over the contents and lets you empty it out without the risk of splashing.
Gently press the sides of your ostomy bag to open it slowly, and slowly add more pressure to let everything spill out in a controlled manner.
Squeeze the last residual contents out, and your bag will be empty and mess-free.
Trying to adjust to an ostomy bag can be tough. However, using the right methods for emptying your bag means that you’ll never have to worry about any unwanted mess!
So whether you prefer to sit, stand, or even kneel, there’s no one right way to empty your ostomy bag.
Just do what works best for you, and use these handy tips to avoid ever making a mess while you empty your ostomy bag.