• Stoma Caps or Stoma Cups?
• What is a Stoma Cap and what’s it used for?
• Some Stoma Caps to consider
• Which type is best for me? Or should I just use a Mini Pouch instead?
• More Stoma Cap Products
An Ostomy Stoma Cap
If you’ve been browsing the various sizes of stoma pouch available these days the chances are that you’ve seen the three most common sizes represented in most of the manufacturer’s product ranges. Like an ostomate version of Goldilocks most of them these days offer you a choice between three sizes. These are the maxi, midi and mini capacity/sized pouches. However there is a size smaller still than the mini which is occasionally referred to as the micro but more often than not its considered as a product range in its own right as they tend to have a slightly different build. This product is the humble Stoma Cap. But who can use a stoma cap? What are they used for? Are they all the same? This article hopes to go some way to answering these questions and more.
First things first; when I first started doing this website, 15 years ago in 2013, the “Stoma Cap” was a name that used to be associated with hard plastic cup-type products which cover the stoma to protect it during contact sports, or from car seat belt damage. Over time the term for those stoma protection products has changed to either stoma cup, stoma protector or something similar. This article is not about this type of product, but instead it’s about the super-small pouch which sticks over the stoma. Examples of the stoma cup/protector are the Stoma Stifler and ConvaTec’s Stoma Cup and Belt (as featured here on the Living Bigger with a Colostomy website).
A stoma cap is a small pouch, usually intended to be worn for short periods of time and where a larger pouch might be a nuisance, embarrassing or unnecessary. Examples of such occasions include sports or swimming where you do not want the pouch to be visible through shorts or when using communal showers, or for during intimate moments where you would want your pouch to be as small and unobtrusive as possible. Alternatively, irrigators often wear them once they have gotten used to irrigating and know what their bowel routine is going to be.
There is also a tiny stoma cap which is used by people who have mucous fistulas or such like, however for the purposes of this article we’re going to focus on the products which cover actual stomas on the belly as a replacement for an everyday pouch.
Due to the stoma cap having practically no stool-capacity it is very important to say that it is mostly Colostomates who use stoma caps. This is due to their thicker stool -output being passed in more regular intervals compared to the Ileostomate whose output is persistent and quite liquidy. Therefore the Colostomate is able to more effectively time when their bowel will be quiet and less likely to need their everyday pouch with such a large capacity. However I do know some Ileostomates who like to use a stoma cap when soaking in the bath so it’s certainly not a colostomy-exclusive product by any means, but it is mostly used by the Colostomates.
Most stoma caps are circular and have a small hydrocolloid flange which can be cut to size. Some manufacturers offer their stoma caps in maybe one or two pre-cut sizes as well.
The entire pouch is roughly equivalent in size to the palm of your hand. The majority of stoma caps of this size also contain a filter to allow wind/gas to escape quickly and without smell. They have a small piece of absorbent padding or an absorbent inner sheet inside. They also mainly have the standard beige cotton cover like most other ostomy pouches, whatever the size, although some opaque options do exist.
Two Piece Stoma Caps:
Some manufacturer’s whom offer two piece flange and pouch ranges in their line-up also have a two piece stoma cap pouch which just clips on to your existing flange. An example of this is the Hollister Contour 2 piece product. However, as most two piece flanges are larger than the hydrocolloid flange on the one piece stoma cap so even though the actual cap will be similar in size to its one piece cousin they are not as compact to look at due to the flange being larger than the pouch.
CliniMed Aura Stoma Cap (One Piece)
CliniMed have recently released their first stoma cap product. The Aura stoma cap is an excellent example of what a one piece stoma cap can offer. It’s very small and comfy to wear. There is just enough capacity within it so that should your bowel start to move whilst you are wearing it then you’ll have sufficient time to get to a toilet and change it for your everyday pouch without it blowing off and embarrassing you. It’s also filtered to help prevent it swelling whilst absorbing any smell that there might be if you found yourself having a lot of baked beans before applying the cap.
The CliniMed Aura stoma cap also has one big advantage over many of its competitors and that’s the addition of manuka honey into the hydrocolloid flange. Recently we’ve all pretty much heard about the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of manuka honey, so having this ingredient mixed into the hydrocolloid across the entire Aura range means you know that the flange on their stoma cap (and the larger pouches in the range) is going to be skin friendly.
Size Comparison of theCliniMed Aura Mini Pouchwith the CliniMed Aura andHollister Stoma Caps.
For their first time foray into the stoma cap market CliniMed have made a very nice product which ticks all the boxes of what a cap should offer, as well as making its own extra tick box thanks to the addition of the skin-friendly manuka honey.
Hollister Stoma Cap
Due to the majority of caps still having a hydrocolloid flange on the back your run of the mill stoma cap can still look rather pouch-like. If disguising your stoma, or the pouch, is important to you for your own self-image or even self-confidence then you might like to try the Hollister stoma cap which stands apart from most of other stoma caps I have personally seen as it is not only square instead of round, but it has a soft plastic cover instead of the standard fabric cover you’d expect to find on most other pouches, regardless of size.
The Hollister Stoma Cap does not have any sort of hydrocolloid flange on its back. Instead, the rear side of the cap itself is sticky which means you can place the entire cap on to the skin. Every corner is stuck down firmly in place, there’s nothing to ruffle or russle. Once in place this gives the Hollister stoma cap an appearance more akin to a 3” square Elastoplast rather than an ostomy product. Only the filter really gives it away as not being an Elastoplast, but unless you are with someone familiar with ostomy products, it is unlikely that the inclusion of this filter would make people immediately think you have a stoma.
This sticky plaster appearance is also more prominent with the clear version as the internal cotton wadding is visible and this makes it look even more like you are covering a wound rather than a stoma. This effect is compounded if you have a fairly flat stoma.
However, there is one important thing to note with the clear version of this product. Should you pass any stool whilst wearing this cap then be warned that once it spreads beyond the edge of the wadding the stool will be visible in the small gap between the pad and the cap’s adhesive edge. Therefore, I personally prefer the opaque version which has the standard beige colour blocking that view to prevent any embarrassment from your bowels.
As the entire rear of the Hollister stoma cap is stuck to the skin you’ll find that as it starts to fill up and run out of storage space the corners can start to lift off the skin. This doesn’t happen so much with the traditional round shaped stoma cap due to the pouch be separate from the adhesive flange. But, this still doesn’t stop the Hollister square stoma cap having been my personal favourite stoma cap of-choice for the majority of my stoma’s lifetime as it is great for intimate moments, or showering at the gym or the pool etc as it can help boost your self-confidence with you knowing the stoma cap doesn’t look like an ostomy product.
As a 21 year old such things as body image and self-confidence were very important to me when I had my colostomy surgery and stoma formed in 1996. But now, some seventeen years later, I’ve found that as my confidence has grown I have no problem wearing either type of stoma cap in any type of relevant situation or even just foregoing the need for the stoma cap at all and sticking with my normal every day pouch instead.
The type of stoma cap which is best for you is very much down to personal choice and your own requirements from the pouch. If you are not bothered about how the cap looks when in place then I’d suggest you try the standard round stoma cap first. You’ll have lots of different manufacturer’s versions to try, including the CliniMed/Welland Aura Stoma Cap. However, if your body image is important whilst wearing the stoma cap then I would be inclined to try the style offered by the Hollister stoma cap first, mainly because of the reasons I have previously stated. I found it to be an excellent product which did the job I needed it to do.
Finally, if size isn’t important to you and you’d like the added peace of mind of knowing you have some extra capacity in the pouch should the bowel start to move then you might like to try the mini version of your everyday pouch instead. These will be bigger than the caps, no doubt about it, but if you cannot tie your bowel down to a specific routine, or haven’t quite mastered that irrigation procedure yet, then the added capacity in the pouch will prove valuable indeed.
As with all things related to ostomy products, it’s down to trying as many samples of different products as you can and eventually you’ll find your own favourite pouches for all circumstances.
The following is a list of some of the other stoma cap products currently on the market. This is not an exhaustive list and is intended only as further examples of the range of stoma caps currently available rather than a personal recommendation etc. Unless stated otherwise the stoma cap in question is based on the hydrocolloid type of stoma cap.
If you are a company rep and your stoma cap product is missing please feel free to contact me with the details and I’ll gladly add it below.
Austin Medical Ampatch: http://www.ampatch.com/ (This is similar in design to the Hollister cap, but is not available on the NHS).
Coloplast Assura : http://www.coloplast.com
ConvaTec Active Life: http://www.convatec.com
Dansac (Incutech) Contour: http://www.dansac.com
Salts Healthcare Confidence Gold (SCG13): http://www.salts.co.uk
Peak Medical Colomate: http://www.peakmedical.co.uk/pages/view/colomate-1pc-closed-pouches.html
Pelican Healthcare Select Minuet: http://www.pelicanhealthcare.co.uk/products/pelican-select-minuet-stoma-cap/
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