Urostomy pouches and supplies
Urostomy pouches are special bags that are used to collect urine after bladder surgery.
- Instead of going to your bladder, urine will go outside of your abdomen into the urostomy pouch. The surgery to do this is called a urostomy.
- Part of the intestine is used to create a channel for the urine to drain. It will stick outside your abdomen and is called the stoma.
The urostomy pouch is attached to the skin around your stoma. It will collect the urine that drains out of your urostomy. The pouch is also called a bag or appliance.
The pouch will help:
- Prevent urine leaks
- Keep the skin around your stoma healthy
- Contain odor
Cystectomy - urostomy; Urostomy bag; Ostomy appliance; Urinary ostomy; Urinary diversion - urostomy supplies; Cystectomy - urostomy supplies; Ileal conduit
Types of Urostomy Pouches
Most urostomy pouches come as either a 1-piece pouch or 2-piece pouch system. Different pouching systems are made to last different lengths of time. Depending on the type of pouch you use, it may need to be changed every day, every 3 days, or once a week.
A 1-piece system is made up of a pouch that has an adhesive or sticky layer on it. This adhesive layer has a hole that fits over the stoma.
A 2-piece pouch system has a skin barrier called a flange. The flange fits over the stoma and sticks to the skin around it. The pouch then fits onto the flange.
Both kinds of pouches have a tap or spout to drain the urine. A clip or another device will keep the tap closed when urine is not being drained.
Both types of pouch systems come with either of these:
- Precut holes in a range of sizes to fit different-size stomas
- A starter hole that can be cut to fit the stoma
Right after surgery your stoma will be swollen. Because of this, you or your health care provider must measure your stoma for the first 8 weeks after your surgery. As the swelling lessens, you will need smaller pouch openings for your stoma. These openings should not be more than 1/8th of an inch (3 mm) wider than your stoma. If the opening is too large, urine is more likely to leak or irritate the skin.
Over time, you may want to change the size or type of pouch you use. Weight gain or loss can affect what pouch works best for you. Children who use a urostomy pouch may need a different type as they grow.
Some people find that a belt gives extra support and makes them feel more secure. If you wear a belt, make sure it is not too tight. You should be able to get 2 fingers between the belt and your waist. A belt that is too tight could damage your stoma.
Buying and Storing Supplies
Your provider will write a prescription for your supplies.
- You can order your supplies from an ostomy supply center, a pharmacy or medical supply company, or through mail order.
- Contact your insurance company to find out if they will pay for part or all of your supplies.
Try to keep your supplies together in one place and store them in an area that is dry and at room temperature.
Be careful about stocking up on too many supplies. Pouches and other devices have an expiration date and should not be used after this date.
Call your provider if you are having a hard time getting your pouch to fit right or if you notice changes to your skin or stoma.
American Cancer Society website. Urostomy guide. www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/ostomies/urostomy.html. Updated June 2, 2017. Accessed June 8, 2018.
DeCastro GJ, McKiernan JM, Benson MC. Cutaneous continent urinary diversion. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 98.
Erwin-Toth P, Hocevar BJ. Stoma and wound considerations: nursing management. In: Fazio VW, Church JM, Delaney CP, Kiran RP, eds. Current Therapy in Colon and Rectal Surgery. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 91.
Reviewed By: Sovrin M. Shah, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.