Ostomy leakage is a problem that all people who have a stoma will encounter at some point. For many people, ostomy leakage is a common problem in the early weeks and months of adapting to life with a stoma. Ostomy leakages can be very messy and profoundly impact a stomate's self-confidence, especially in public situations where there may not be appropriate facilities to deal with leakage.

Over time, most people find that ostomy leakage becomes much less of a problem as they slowly learn the ropes and adapt to living with a stoma. For some people, ostomy leakage can be a problem that lasts for years and can cause severe psychological problems for the individual stomate.

doctor patient discussing health

What Is Stoma Paste?

Stoma paste which is, in fact, a caulk, not a paste, is an adhesive used to fill in skin contours that are uneven, creating a flatter more consistent surface to which a stoma wafer can bind.

A stoma wafer will not adhere well and stay in place if there are gaps between the stoma wafer and your skin, and if the stoma wafer does not adhere correctly, it can become dislodged or begin to leak. Stoma pastes are designed to help increase the period for which you can wear your stoma system by providing a reliable seal.

If you have lots of dips or scarring around your stoma that make it difficult to apply your stoma wafer, stoma paste is an excellent solution as it fills in these dips and scars, forming a robust and tight barrier and enabling the ostomy wafer to sit flush against the skin.

Having a reliable and strong seal helps prevent ostomy leakage and the associated psychological problems, such as loss of confidence.

Tips for Using Stoma Paste

Stoma pastes are alcohol-free and suitable for most skin types, even those with sensitive skin, and do not sting or irritate the skin. They are easy to apply and come in soft, squeezable tubes, and thanks to the pliability of the paste, it remains flexible and can be molded to fill in particularly troublesome gaps.

The idea of applying stoma paste may be daunting for some, but there are a few things you can do to make the process as easy and trouble-free as possible.

  • Make sure the skin around your stoma is clean and thoroughly dry. Stoma paste does not bind well to wet skin.
  • Avoid using soaps or body creams that leave a residue behind, as this can prevent the paste from adhering correctly.
  • Place the paste on the wafer instead of on the skin to ensure the stoma wafer is completely covered.
  • Don't use too much paste, as it could make an unnecessary mess. Apply more paste to fill in any gaps afterward.

closeup stoma colostomy abdomen

Stoma Paste Application

Depending on the brand of paste you are using, the application instructions can vary. Always check instructions that come with a particular brand before applying stoma paste.

Stoma paste can be applied either directly to the stoma wafer or around your stoma. After applying, it is a good idea to let the paste dry for a minute or two before attaching the wafer to your stoma, but again, this depends on the brand.

If you need to remove some of the stoma paste, it can be a little challenging once it has already dried. Stoma paste is best removed using lukewarm water and a cloth, but you can use adhesive removal wipes or adhesive removal spray too. You don't need to get every bit of paste off your skin, so don't scrub too hard trying to do this, since you may damage or irritate the skin surrounding your stoma.

front view stoma abdominal surgery

Stoma Paste Strips vs. Stoma Paste Tubes

There is no real difference between stoma paste that comes as a strip or stoma paste in a tube it is the same product. Which you should use depends entirely on your situation, and it is worth experimenting with both types of stoma paste to find the best one for you.

The primary benefit of using tubular stoma paste is that you can control the amount you use and tailor it to your requirements.

Popular Stoma Paste Brands

Stoma pastes can vary greatly depending on the brand you use. For example, some stoma pastes use alcohol, which can cause irritation and stinging, whereas others don't. It is essential to work with your doctor to choose a stoma paste that works best for you; however, here are some popular brands.

1. Convatec Stomahesive Paste

Coming in a two-ounce tube, Convatec's stoma paste is easily one of the most popular ostomy pastes available on the market. It has a great consistency that is pliable and spreads easily, plus the aluminium tube makes it very easy to get all the paste out, reducing waste.

2. Hollister Adapt

Hollister adapt paste contains a low amount of alcohol, so for people with sensitive skin or a particular sensitivity to alcohol-containing products, this is a great choice. Like Convatec stomahesive paste, it comes in a tube that minimizes waste.

3. Hollister Karaya Paste

Hollister's karaya paste comes in a slightly larger 4.5-ounce tube and contains karaya, a natural hydrocolloid that protects the skin from stoma discharge due to its unique chemical properties. Additionally, this paste prolongs the stoma seal's life, meaning it can be worn for longer periods.

4. Brava Strip Paste

Brava strip paste protects the skin against stoma discharge by providing a tight seal and filling in cracks. It can be molded into a number of shapes that fit your body's contours, skin folds and fistulas to create an even surface for a snugger fit.