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Maintaining Healthy Peristomal Skin

For your patients living with an ostomy, chances are at some point, they might experience problems with peristomal skin or the skin around their stoma.

Download the Clear Guide to Healthy Peristomal Skin today and help patients navigate sore skin issues.
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What You Need to Know: Skin Care for Patients

Prevention is a crucial part of a successful peristomal skin care regimen. You can help your patients living with an ostomy prevent peristomal skin issues by providing them with helpful skin care tips.

Common Causes of Peristomal Skin Damage:

Leakage: Healthy skin exposed to fecal or urine output under the skin barrier can breakdown fast.1
Pressure: Belts and some clothing may cause pressure on the stoma area.2
Stoma size: Ensure the skin barrier is cut to the right size. It should always fit closely around your stoma (1-2mm larger) to protect against leakage.
Skin folds or creases, may prevent the skin barrier from sticking securely to your stomach and result in leakage. A different shaped product may be required if your stoma is flush or retracted.
Skin stripping or friction by removing a skin barrier too quickly can pull the top layers of skin away. The more frequent it happens, the more the skin can be irritated.3
Pouching system: If the red or irritated area of the skin is the same shape as the skin barrier, you may have developed an allergy or sensitivity.

Tips for Patients Peristomal Skin Care Routine:

  • Change your pouch routinely.
  • Gently remove the skin barrier from top to bottom – an adhesive remover may help.
  • Clean the skin around the stoma with a wipe soaked in warm water.
  • Use a soap that is oil and residue-free.
  • Dry your skin thoroughly before applying your next bag.
  • Inspect your skin every time you change your skin barrier.
  • Apply a skin barrier foam or spray if needed.

As a general rule, healthy peristomal skin should look the same as skin anywhere else on the body. Often times, when the barrier is removed the patient will notice some redness from the adhesive. That's normal. If the redness does not go away, however, it could be the sign of a peristomal skin issue. Discomfort is another sign that their peristomal skin is not healthy.

Remember: It does not take much time or a large amount of effluent touching the peristomal skin for it to be damaged. The damage is not always easy to detect. That's why you should have your patients familiarize themselves with the importance of their peristomal skin, this way, they will know the warning signs and how to manage the skin issue. Ensure your patients receive the support, information and resources they need.

Enroll your patients in the me+ program by calling 1-800-422-8811 or contact your me+ concierge at 1-877-585-0470.

Managing Peristomal Skin Issues

At some point, you may encounter a patient who has unhealthy peristomal skin. Identifying the skin issue is the first step in management. Here are some common peristomal skin issues and general information about them, including description, causes and symptoms:

Candidiasis

Candidiasis

Description/Causes:
Often caused by leakage, perspiration, antibiotic therapy, warm climates, broken skin.

Symptoms:
Itchy, bumpy red skin. Also, infection of vagina, armpit, mouth, or any area of skin folds (i.e., buttocks, groin).

Allergic Contact Dermatitis3

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Description/Causes:
Often caused by exposure to materials and compounds that irritate or sensitize the skin on contact (e.g., tape, skin barriers, soap, adhesives, powders, pastes, or pouch material).

Symptoms:

  • Redness, itching, broken skin.
  • Irritation in the area covered by a part of the pouching system.
  • A history of allergies.

Irritant Dermatitis2

Irritant Dermatitis

Description/Causes:
Inflammation of peristomal skin resulting from contact with stool or urine, usually from leakage under the pouching system.

Symptoms:

  • Redness
  • Weeping areas of skin

Pseudoverrucous Lesions (Hyperplasia commonly called PEH)

Pseudoverrucous Lesions

Description/Causes:
Often caused by chronic exposure of the skin to urine due to an excessively large opening in the skin barrier.

Symptoms:

  • Pain Wart-like, gray or purple-colored thickened areas next to the stoma
  • Frequent leakage or bleeding
  • White, sandy, or gritty granules on stoma or around base

Folliculitis3

Folliculitis

Description/Causes:
An inflammation within a hair follicle caused by traumatic hair removal (e.g., "ripping" skin barrier from skin, shaving too closely, or excessive rubbing or cleaning of peristomal skin).

Symptoms:

  • Reddened, pinpoint, or infected areas at the base of the hair follicles around the stoma.

Pressure Ulcer3

Pressure Ulcer

Description/Causes:
An ulcer in the peristomal area caused by excessive pressure from an ostomy appliance belt, tight clothing, rigid faceplate, peristomal hernia, or work-related habits.

Symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Irregularly shaped ulcer
  • Pouch leakage
  • Decreased wear time

Psoriasis

Psoriasis

Description/Causes:
A common skin disorder that can occur underneath ostomy pouching systems.

Symptoms:

  • Whitish scaly patches of various sizes
  • Itching

Pyoderma Gangrenosum3

Pyoderma Gangrenosum

Description/Causes:
An inflammatory skin disease often seen in patients with inflammatory bowel disease ( IBD ) such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Symptoms:

  • Irregularly shaped, red, painful, infected ulcers, with red-to-purple rolled margins; appear on legs, buttocks, face, and peristomal area.

Caput Medusae3

Caput Medusae

Description/Causes:
Refers to a bluish-purple discoloration of the skin caused by dilation of the cutaneous veins around the stoma (peristomal varices).

Symptoms:

  • Blue/purple area surrounding the stoma that when blanched, displays irregular, small blood vessels.

More in For Healthcare Professionals

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You spend your days helping patients live their best lives, and we want to support you in your mission of increased positive outcomes for people living with ostomies.

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Resources for Patients

From clinical posters and application guides to assessment tools, Convarec’s HCP resources will help you support your patients living with an ostomy.

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Maintaining Healthy Peristomal Skin

You can help your patients living with an ostomy prevent peristomal skin issues by providing them with helpful skin care tips.

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The me+™ Recovery series is designed to help guide patients, step-by-step, through their recovery after ostomy surgery.

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Intimacy Guidance

Depending on which research you believe, women think about sex on average 8 times a day, while for men it’s every 7 seconds. So, why is sex such a taboo subject when it comes to stomas?

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1. Woo KY, Sibbald RG, Ayello EA. Coutts PM. Garde DE. Peristomal Skin Complications and Management. Advances in Skin & Wound Care. 2009; 22(11):522-532.

2. Morss‐Walton PC, Yi J, Gunning, M; McGee JS. Ostomy 101 for dermatologists: Managing peristomal skin diseases. Dermatologic Therapy. 2021; 34(5):1-10.

3. Peristomal Skin Complications Clinical Resource Guide. Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurse Society®. 2015.

 

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