How Often Should You Change an Ostomy Pouch? A Comprehensive Guide

ostomy pouch

In patients with severe bowel issues such as the presence of bladder, rectal, or colorectal cancer, the normal process of defecating the waste out of the body is disrupted. Rather, an artificial diversion, such as the use of an ostomy pouch, is needed to empty the intestines on a daily basis.

The same goes for people who need assistance in defecating solid waste after a major abdominal surgery. Moreover, individuals who have the segments of their digestive tract removed also need help.

In all of these cases, the ostomy pouches can work as a solution. Statistically speaking, according to the data published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nearly 725,000 to 1 million Americans are using ostomy bags on a daily basis. But what exactly are these ostomy bags and how often one needs to change them? Let us answer some of these questions in this article.

A woman wearing an ostomy bag without any discomfort or irritation
A woman wearing an ostomy bag without any discomfort or irritation

Ostomy Pouches: An Artificial Waste Collection System

Ostomy bags or pouches are the items that are connected to a patient’s body with the purpose of collecting urine and feces. Ostomy surgery is needed to make a hole in the intestines, called a stoma, to which the ostomy bag can be attached via its doughnut-shaped hole.

At the end of the bag, an opening is present which is needed to empty the bag when needed. This system works automatically and the patient does not need to push the contents into the bag.

How Often Does an Ostomy Pouch Need Changing?

The frequency of changing one’s ostomy pouch is, to a higher extent, dependent on a patient’s personal needs as everyone has different dietary preferences, metabolic rates, as well as lifestyle choices. Therefore, patients need to find with time what works best for them.

However, as a general rule, an ostomy pouch, in most cases, is best to be changed after every 3 to 5 days. If a patient feels the need to change the bag sooner, it is fully acceptable.

However, in case of frequent changes or pouch leakages, it is recommended to contact a doctor or one’s ostomy nurse to find out the problem.

When Should You Change Your Ostomy Pouch?

When 2/3rd of an ostomy bag is filled with body output, it is the right time to change the bag to prevent leakages. Moreover, fuller ostomy pouches can also cause skin irritation due to their heavier weight.

An ostomy nurse can provide personalized advice and assistance on the proper timing and technique for changing the bag, ensuring the skin around the stoma remains healthy and free from irritation.

At What Time Should One Change an Ostomy Pouch?

 Although there is no restriction on the frequency as well as timing for changing an ostomy bag, ostomates find it easy to do so either in the morning or before going to bed. The reason behind this is possibly linked to lesser urinary and stool output at these times which renders it easy to change the bag.

An ostomy bag being worn by a patient
An ostomy bag being worn by a patient

Do you still use the toilet with an ostomy bag?

With an ostomy bag, you do not use the toilet in the traditional sense for the waste that is diverted into the bag. The ostomy bag collects feces or urine directly from the stoma, which is an opening on the abdomen created during ostomy surgery. This means that bodily waste bypasses the usual pathways and is collected in the ostomy pouch instead.

However, individuals with an ostomy may still use the toilet for other reasons, such as emptying and cleaning their ostomy pouch or if they have a urostomy (for urine) and can still defecate through the rectum, or for personal hygiene tasks.

The process of managing an ostomy involves regularly emptying the pouch when it becomes partially full, typically into a toilet, and changing the entire pouching system as needed to maintain skin health and hygiene.

Ostomy Pouch: Brands and Specifications

Among multiple brands that manufacture and market ostomy pouches, the following ones are considered the best items:

Coloplast Sensura Filtered Ostomy Pouch

Coloplast 11472 Sensura filtered ostomy pouch is a product that is designed with a mio 2-piece system. These are opaque in color and have wide outlets to ease the closing process. The material is soft and gentle on the skin which provides comfort to the patient.

To secure the pouch in its place, a double-layer adhesive system has also been installed in the design. Moreover, Coloplast ostomy pouches are available in different sizes which are inclusive of the maxi size needed for larger stomas.

Furthermore, these ostomy bags are leak-proof and easy to drain when full. Their opaque appearance renders them discreet which successfully hides the unpleasant view of collected feces.  

Coloplast Sensura Transparent Ostomy Pouch

Coloplast 15981 Sensura single-piece ostomy pouch is a transparent product that has a 1.5-inch Easiclose outlet. These bags are flat in appearance and are trimmed to fit perfectly. Moreover, the product is transparent and highly durable. These bags, once filled, can be drained easily.

Coloplast Sensura ostomy bags have a carrying capacity of 655 ml and can also be worn for extended periods. Length is 11.5 inches and the construction material is non-sterile. However, when it comes to stoma size, the openings vary between 3/8 to 3 inches.

Hollister Ostomy Pouches

3223 Hollister ostomy pouches Karaya drainable bags, apart from the above-mentioned features, also have a Karaya 5 seal ring for extra protection against drainage. The product has flexibility which enables the user to be comfortable while wearing it.

Its porous tape does not hinder the flow of air to the area of the skin on which the bag is applied thus letting the skin remain healthy and breathy.

The material of the product is itself bacteriostatic which prevents bacterial buildup on the skin. Its pore size is 1.5 inches with a 12-inch length of the bag. The product is drainable and non-sterile in nature.

An ostomy bag with a sealing system
An ostomy bag with a sealing system

The ostomy pouches mentioned in this article, along with many other medical supplies, can be purchased from Health Supply 770, a reliable name when it comes to medical products.

They have a 30-day money-back guarantee and provide your products to you in the shortest possible time. Click the link at the end of the article to check the wide range of ostomy pouches on the website.


An ostomy bag is a pouch that is attached to the body to collect stool and urine. These bags are a great way to improve the quality of life of patients who cannot use the toilet like everybody else.

By using these bags, one can move freely, exercise, do a job, as well as perform day-to-day tasks without stressing out about their disrupted defecation process.

Among many brands, Coloplast and Hollister manufacture ostomy bags that are easy to use and comfortable to wear. When it comes to purchasing ostomy bags, along with other medical devices, reliable vendors like Health Supply 770 should be given preference as they ensure the provision of quality products along with satisfactory services.

Click to Order Ostomy Pouches from Health Supply 770


Uzma Zafar

Uzma Zafar is a dedicated and highly motivated pharmaceutical professional currently pursuing her PhD in Pharmaceutics at the Punjab University College of Pharmacy, University of the Punjab. With a comprehensive academic and research background, Uzma has consistently excelled in her studies, securing first division throughout her educational journey.

Uzma’s passion for the pharmaceutical field is evident from her active engagement during her Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) program, where she not only mastered industrial techniques and clinical case studies but also delved into marketing strategies and management skills.

Throughout her career, Uzma has actively contributed to the pharmaceutical sciences, with specific research on suspension formulation and Hepatitis C risk factors and side effects. Additionally, Uzma has lent her expertise to review and fact-check articles for the Health Supply 770 blog, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the information presented.

As she continues her PhD, expected to complete in 2025, Uzma is eager to contribute further to the field by combining her deep knowledge of pharmaceutics with real-world applications to meet global professional standards and challenges.