Tag Archives: ostomy help

Colorectal Cancer: Know the Symptoms, Know Your Risk

Posted by on February 27, 2013 under Resources | Read the First Comment

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month kicks off Friday, March 1st with National Wear Blue Day. Experts predict that in 2013, 150,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer, making it the third most common cancer in the United States – surpassed only by lung and prostate cancer in men and lung and breast cancer in women. Colorectal cancer is also the 2nd deadliest cancer in the US – second only behind lung cancer.

Unlike many cancers, colorectal cancer is up to 90% treatable. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about getting checked until signs or symptoms apear – and by this time, the cancer is usually in late stages. If detected early, colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable. That’s why it’s important to:

Read on for more information, and the life you save could be your own!

Know the Symptoms

It’s important to remember that colorectal cancer can be present without any symptoms at all.  If you or someone you love has any of the following below, tell your doctor. A colonoscopy may be necessary to rule out cancer.

Symptoms can include:

  • A significant change in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea that lasts more than a couple of weeks
  • Bright red or very dark blood in the stool; black stools may also indicate blood
  • A feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Unexplained anemia (low number of red blood cells)
  • Stools that consistently look narrower or thinner than normal
  • Abdominal discomfort such as frequent gas pains, bloating or abdominal cramps
  • Unexpected, unexplained weight loss
  • Constant exhaustion or fatigue

Know Your Risk

All adults are at risk for colorectal cancer, as well as a small percentage of children and young adults. Adult risk for colorectal cancer increases significantly over age 50, so if you’re 50 or above, make sure you’re screened regularly. Certain factors can increase your risk, such as your family history, personal medical history and lifestyle choices. Which of the following risk categories do you fall under?

Average Risk:  

  • You’re age 50 or over with no other personal or family risk factors

Increased Risk:  

  • You’ve had previous colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps, or
  • You have a family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps

High Risk:

  • You’ve inherited Lynch Syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC) – a type of cancer of the digestive tract
  • You’ve inherited familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis (AFAP)

Additional Lifestyle Risks:  

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Lack of exercise
  • Diets high in fat and red or processed meat
  • Diets low in fruits and vegetables
  • Inadequate levels of Calcium and Vitamin D

Get Regular Screenings

Since up to 90% of colorectal cancers are treatable if discovered early, we can’t emphasize a regular screening program enough! Leaders in the field have estimated that up to 30,000 lives are lost unnecessarily each year, due to late-stage diagnosis.

Tests that screen for cancer and polyps:

  • Colonoscopy (Every ten years starting at age 50.) What to Expect:  the doctor examines the inside of the rectum and entire colon using a long, lighted tube called a colonoscope.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (Every five years starting at age 50.) What to Expect:  the doctor examines your rectum and lower part of the colon with a lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope.
  • Virtual Colonoscopy (Every five years starting at age 50.) What to Expect: the doctor uses x-rays and computers to take 2- or 3-dimensional images of your colon and rectum.
  • Double-Contrast Barium Enema (DCBE) (Every five to ten years starting at age 50.) What to Expect:  the doctor pumps air and barium into your rectum. The solution shows polyps or tumors on x-rays.

 Tests That Screen for Cancer (these stool tests are less invasive, but also can’t detect polyps)

  • Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) – Guaiac FOBT (Once a year starting at age 50.) What to Expect:  you’ll submit a portion of several bowel movements to your doctor, who will test for small amounts of blood in the stool.
  • Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) – Fecal Immunochemical Test (Once a year starting at age 50.) What to Expect:  you’ll submit a portion of one to three bowel movements to your doctor, who will test for blood in the stool that can’t be seen with the naked eye.
  • Stool DNA (sDNA) (This is a new method, and the screening interval is still unknown.) What to Expect:  you’ll submit a stool sample to your doctor, who will look for certain DNA mutations caused from cancerous tumors or precancerous polyps.

Please share this article and spread the word!  Have you been screened for colorectal cancer?

Why So Gassy? How Certain Foods Affect Waste

Posted by on February 20, 2013 under Ostomy Care | Be the First to Comment

Clip Art Upset TummyMost people don’t think much about how the food they eat affects their waste, unless their body’s response is frequently inconvenient.  For those living with an ostomy, however, making intelligent and informed diet and nutrition choices is the only way to control when – and how often – a pouch fills with waste and gas.

What makes the digestive system move quickly, and what stops things from moving (food blockages)?  What causes waste to be more liquid or more solid? Which foods create more odors? Which foods produce more gas – not necessarily the same thing?

Whether or not you’re living with an ostomy, making informed diet choices and knowing how certain foods affect your digestive tract can be a good thing!  Here are a few digestive tips for ostomates and non-ostomates alike:

Foods that slow things down (or can cause blockages):

While fiber is key to healthy digestion, too much of a good thing can also be a problem.  For ostomates with an ileostomy in particular (an outside opening created in the small intestine for waste discharge), undigested fibrous foods can cause complications and food blockages.  Corn, dried fruit, hotdogs and sausages, pineapple, and fruit and vegetable skins are a few examples.

Foods that cause unwanted odors:

Digestive odor is created by bacteria breaking down certain foods, turning it into odorous waste and also sometimes creating odorous gases.  Though some ostomy pouches have filters that deodorize and release gasses, it can be easier to simply avoid – or eat with moderation – odor-causing and gas-forming foods.  Foods that cause especially strong odors include asparagus, coffee, garlic, prunes, beans, cucumbers, green peppers, radishes, brussel sprouts, eggs, milk, turnips, cabbage, fish, onions and alcoholic beverages.

If you’re indulging in an odor-causing food, try pairing it with foods that can reduce odors, such as buttermilk, parsley, yogurt, cranberry juice or spinach.

image of bacteria partying in small intestine

Foods that produce lots of gas:

There’s no two ways about it: some foods simply produce lots of gas during digestion.  Even if gases from these foods are not as odorous as gases from the foods listed above, they can still be unpleasant and cause abdominal pains.  These foods include apples, soda, dairy products, onions, asparagus, melons, beans, mushrooms, corn, broccoli, nuts, cabbage and beverages consumed through straws (you’ll swallow more air).

Foods that thicken waste:

Liquid waste can compromise the skin barrier and irritate peristomal skin.  For this reason, it’s good to know what foods can thicken waste.  Some thickeners include yogurt, bananas, milk, creamy peanut butter, breads, cheeses, pastas, potatoes and rice, among others.

Foods that thin waste:

Conversely, sometimes waste moves too slowly through the digestive system or is too firm for comfort.  Fruits and fruit juices, chocolate and green beans are a few of the foods that can thin overly firm stool.

Diarrhea Need-to-Know:

Diarrhea happens to everyone – and the end result is fluid, potassium and sodium loss.  Dehydration is a top concern with diarrhea, and can be a serious risk for ostomates.  Along with plenty of liquids, consider adding foods slightly higher in potassium and sodium (salt) until the digestive tract returns to normal.  Some foods high in potassium include milk, chicken, beef, fish, pork, turkey, lima beans, V8 Juice, apricots, bananas, avocado, tomato juice, potatoes, broccoli, grapefruit juice, oranges and orange juice, watermelon and strawberries.  Foods high in sodium are not hard to find; most pre-packaged foods, canned soups and seasonings have high sodium content, and simple table salt can counter the deficiency.

A complete ostomy nutrition guide can be found here.  For more ostomy information and to buy ostomy supplies, visit www.totalhomecaresupplies.com.  Fast, free, discreet shipping for all your ostomy needs!

Four Things You Need to Know Before Buying Ostomy Products

Posted by on February 4, 2013 under Ostomy Care | Be the First to Comment

Ostomy Supplies at TotalHomeCareSupplies.com

Ostomy Supplies at TotalHomeCareSupplies.com

What Are Ostomy Products?

An ostomy is a surgical operation that creates a new outside opening for body wastes.  This new opening is called a stoma, and requires special products for daily care.  For many with colon or bowel cancer, injuries or congenital defects, an ostomy is the best – sometimes only – option available in order to resume a normal, active life.  The numbers vary, but range from 70,000 to 120,000 Americans undergoing ostomy surgery each year, witah approximately half a million ostomates currently living in the United States and Canada.  Some stomas are meant to be temporary, while others are permanent.  Several manufacturers such as Hollister, Coloplast and ConvaTec make terrific products which are designed for functionality, discreetness, and disposability.  The placement of stomas can vary greatly, and this has a strong influence on which products are right for you.

Four Things I Need to Know Before Buying Ostomy Products

1)  What size is my stoma?  For the first few weeks or even months after surgery, your stoma may change in size and shape as your body recovers.  Once recovered, your stoma should no longer change.  This will influence whether you choose a Cut-to-Fit Barrier or a Pre-Cut Barrier

  • Cut-to-Fit barriers are designed to let you measure and cut the barrier yourself, so that they can perfectly fit any size or shape stoma.  Cut-to-Fit barriers come with a sizing guide to help you easily measure your stoma any time you need to.  This is most likely the barrier you would choose in the weeks following surgery, and if you prefer to cut the barrier yourself.
  • Pre-sized barriers are barriers that have been pre-cut to a specific size, so that you don’t have to.  Pre-sized barriers are useful for people whose stomas are a stable size and who no longer need to – or no longer prefer to – cut their own.

Hollister New Image 2-pc Convex Flextend Barrier2)  Where is my stoma located?  Depending on the reason for your surgery, your stoma may be located in your small intestine, your large intestine, or in your urinary tract.  For a stoma in the small intestine and in the earlier portions (ascending colon) of your large intestine, the discharge will be rich in digestive enzymes and more irritating to the skin. An Extended Wear Barrier is a good choice for this type of stoma because it offers more robust skin protection.  A stoma in the later portions of the large intestine, such as in the transverse, descending and sigmoid colon, is less rich in digestive enzyme content, and a Standard Wear Barrier may be preferred.  In addition, before ordering supplies you may want to consider whether or not you want a barrier with or without an additional tape border.  While tape can always be added as desired for extra security, depending on your lifestyle, the barrier with tape may be a convenient choice for you.

3)  What kind of barrier & pouch system do I need?   There are two different types of barrier & pouch systems you can choose from: a One Piece System or a Two Piece System.  Each system has its advantages, and for many people the choice comes down to personal preference.  In a one piece system, the skin barrier is attached to the pouch, making the unit all one piece.  In a two piece system, there is a skin barrier with flange (a snap-on ring) and a detachable pouch that snaps onto the barrier.  The two piece system allows the user to easily change out the pouch without needing to remove the skin barrier.  Both systems offer a variety of pouch options, including drainable or closed, opaque or transparent, or with or without filter, among others.  While the many options to choose from can be overwhelming at first, the variety of products  allows you to customize your products to match your own unique needs.

4)  What size flange do I need?  No matter which system you prefer, in order to purchase supplies you’ll need to know what size flange you need.  This is because:

  • In both a one piece and a two piece system, the size of your stoma determines the size flange that works best for you.  Your flange size can be larger than your stoma size, but it can never be smaller.
  • If you have a two piece system, it’s very important both pieces match each other!  Since the pouch snaps onto the flange, your flange size is very important when ordering both pouches and barriers.

If you’re not sure what size flange you need, contact your WOCN (Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse).  You can also obtain this information from the manufacturer number (MF#) on your current pouch, because each MF# is unique to a specific size as well as to a specific product.

Are you ready to order?  Great!  Don’t forget to take a moment to think about any additional products that may make your day-to-day usage more comfortable.  From adhesive removers and pastes to deodorizing powders and lubricants, there are many terrific companion products available.

Sur-Fit Natura Products

Posted by on July 24, 2012 under Ostomy Care | Be the First to Comment

Convatec‘s Sur-Fit Natura product line provides quality ostomy products with features that guarantee effectiveness and durability. The skin barrier technologies contain plastic rings for quick and easy barrier-to- pouch application. The barriers form to everyone’s unique shape for zero leakage. Those with active lifestyles no longer need to constantly worry or be conscious of their ostomy. Sur-Fit products are reliable and offer the security you are looking for.


•  Sur-Fit Natura Stomahesive Skin Barrier with Flange is a reliable skin barrier  with a low-profile flange that  provides excellent security because of a unique formula that enables the skin barrier/wafer to adhere to both dry and moist skin. Without tape collar. 5×5 Cut to fit.



•  ConvaTec Sur-Fit Natura Two Piece Drainable Pouch is a 12 inch drainable pouch with 2-sided comfort panel.The two-piece system provides versatility and can be removed or interchanged with other pouch types without removal of the skin barrier/wafer. Odor-proof and quiet under clothing. Includes two tail closures in each box. Opaque.



• ConvaTec Sur-Fit Natura Disposable Convex Inserts. Disposable convex insets are designed to snap into flange or ring adding convexity to the standard skin barrier for improved management of retracted stomas. For use with Sur Fit Natura skin barriers.



Also within this product line comes numerous other valuable elements. Drainable pouches are available with InvisiClose clipless tail closure or the traditional tail clip. You have choices of drainable, closed-end, or urostomy pouches, and pre-cut, cut-to-fit, or moldable barriers. Also, within drainable and closed-end pouches, there is a charcoal filter available to deodorize and release gas. Pouch comfort panels are designed to be odor-proof, and help maintain discretion. All of these great features are here for you to take advantage of!

TotalHomeCareSupplies carries numerous Convatec Sur-Fit Nutura products and sells them at an amazing price with a speedy delivery! Order your Sur-Fit products today!

Ostomy Vocabulary Lesson

Posted by on July 20, 2012 under Ostomy Care | Be the First to Comment

An ostomy is a surgical procedure that creates an alternate route and artificial opening for the excretion of bodily wastes. The destination can either be into another proper digestive organ or into an outside system. For this article we will discuss the latter situation which typically targets those with colostomies, ileostomies, and urostomies.  This outside collection system is typically an ostomy pouch that attaches to the stoma (the end of the artificial path). The pouching system is held in place by a barrier, also referred to as a wafer , which is a an adhesive or air tight seal to prevent leakage.

One option when searching for an ostomy pouch is the one piece system in which the barrier is connected to the pouch, making it one unit. The one piece system is known to be more simple because everything is cohesive and connected. How ever, the entire system should be changed every twenty four hours.

New Image Lock N Roll Drainable 2 Piece Pouch at TotalHomeCareSupplies.com

The two piece system is different because the barrier/wafer is separate from the pouch. On the barrier is the flange which is the connecting piece to the pouch and the barrier. Typically, the flange-pouch connection is similar to that of an air tight tupperware. This permits the barrier to be changed weekly, but the pouch still should be changed every day. Aside from making the decision between an one piece or two piece system, there is also the option of an open ended pouch or close ended pouch. An open ended pouch, or drainable pouch, has a feature that allows you to drain the contents of the pouch, whereas the close ended pouch is to be thrown away and replaced when full.

Which Product Is Best For You? As you can see, when choosing your pouch there are a few things to consider. Each of these options have their pros and cons, but  the decision is typically dependent on how often an individual needs to empty the contents or fills up the pouch.

When using a barrier/wafer, it must fit correctly and comfortably in order to be effective, and since everyone is built differently, there are a few choices to make when shopping.  Barriers come in a variety of sizes, so find the one that works best for you. There are some products that come pre cut, and others are cut to fit, which are customizable for each individual.

Sur-Fit Natura Stomahesive Barrier Cut to Fit -Tan at TotalHomeCareSupplies.com

Along with choosing your pouch system, there are a variety of accessories available to keep you comfortable, confident and healthy. There are a number of deodorizers, pastes, and wipes to protect against odors,  enhance sanitation, and support a more assured barrier fit. Also available are belts, tapes and adhesives for extra security, and numerous other products to suit your needs.

TotalHomeCareSupplies is here to provide you with high quality, low price ostomy products that will leave you more than satisfied.

Need Help Finding The Right Ostomy Supplies?

Posted by on June 14, 2012 under Ostomy Care | Read the First Comment

Ostomy Supplies at TotalHomeCareSupplies.com

When looking for ostomy supplies, we know you have a lot to consider.  What size of ostomy pouch do I need?  What color of ostomy pouch should I use?  Do I want a 1 piece ostomy system or a 2 piece ostomy system?  Do I want closed ostomy bags or drainable ostomy pouches?  Which brand of ostomy supplies is best for me?

At TotalHomeCareSupplies.com, we make it easy for you to find the right ostomy supplies for less.

From our Ostomy Products, search for ostomy accessories, barriers with flanges, closed pouches and drainable pouches.  Click here to view all of our ostomy supplies.  Or better yet, sort by brand for the colostomy or urostomy supplies you use every day.

Hollister Ostomy Supplies

ConvaTec Ostomy Supplies

Coloplast Ostomy Supplies

Cymed Ostomy Supplies

Nu-Hope Ostomy Supplies

 Always count on TotalHomeCareSupplies.com for fast, free discreet shipping for all your ostomy product needs.

Online Resources For Ostomy Advice And Support

Posted by on March 25, 2012 under Ostomy Care | Be the First to Comment

Whether you’re new to managing an ostomy or would like to find the latest resources and support tools, Total Home Care Supplies can help you find what you need. From ostomy product options and support groups to ostomy manufacturer resources, there’s a solution for each of your concerns and people with similiar issues to offer support.

Best Online Ostomy Resources

MeetAnOstomate.org | This helpful online community of ostomates has over 7,500 members and over 32,000 forum posts about ostomy issues and topics. What you’ll find here is a great place to meet other ostomates, make new friends and get all the answers you need to your ostomy questions.

United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA) | The UOAA is a national organization with excellent resources and experience in supporting the ostomy community. All over the map, there’s an Ostomy Support Group. Most ostomy support groups hold regular meetings that bring people together offering solutions, comfort and a place to share and learn. Find a support group in your area.

Hollister.com Learning Center | As one of the leading manufacturers of ostomy products, Hollister offers every aspect of educational support for ostomates. Their online learning center includes education booklets, helpful hints, product instructions and stoma measuring guides.

GreatComebacks.com | Sponsored by ConvaTec, the Great Comebacks® Program recognizes these inspirational individuals, both in their personal lives and in their contributions to their communities. Discover and learn from motivating people who are living a full and productive life after an ostomy surgery. Share your story for a chance to win a Great Comebacks® Award.

TotalHomeCareSupplies.com | Total Home Care Supplies is backed by more than 50 years of experience in ostomy products with reliable home delivery to customers. Customers enjoy free shipping on orders over $40, monthly coupons and an online EZ Ship program to automate ostomy supply shipments. Discover the most competitive online pricing on drainable pouches, closed-end pouches, ostomy skin barriers and a full line of ostomy accessories to comfortably manage an ostomy.