Stoma: going to work, noisy stoma and pancaking issues!!!

I've had a stoma for 3 months following emergency surgery. I'm still struggling with the whole thing although I've been told it gets easier in time. Whilst I am going through treatment I still go to work most days. This involves wearing a suit and sitting in meetings. My issues are twofold:

1) Noisy stoma: just awful. I've tried charcoal tablets, jelly babies and drinking peppermint tea by the gallon. And still we have very embarrassing situations. Any advice??

2) Wearing the stoma to work. I've got some boxer shorts which come up high and strap in the stoma so you can't see it (good). However when it starts to fill up I have a major pancaking problem which results in a split bag and its a total nightmare (bad). Without using the stoma-friendly boxer shorts I tuck the bag into my trousers. This means the waistband/belt cuts the bag in half so the waste doesn't trickle down to the bottom of the bag. Again, a pancaking problem and potential split bag. 

The whole situation is a total nightmare and I've started to work more from home just so I don't have to go into the office. Not ideal long-term. 

Does anyone have any advice or have faced similar issues? 


  • Hi Winston

    Don't think I have had the opportunity yet to give you a welcome to the Mac family if I may rectify this now and give you a very warm welcome although I doubt you really wanted to join this club.

    Sorry to read you're having problems with you stoma which is being vocal and causing problems at meetings and also you're having pancaking issues.


    Are you following the "rules" about eating and drinking.

    Noise could be caused by the foods you eat, some foods as you know create wind and the noise is just flatulence but coming from your Stoma. I don't think jelly babies will help as they are normally the go to food to thicken up the output.

    I can only suggest that you take your time when eating and if possible don't drink or talk whilst you are eating.

    Keeping a food diary and noting everything you eat and drink and recording in it how you have been effected by the foods you've had.

    The same goes for drinking have a drink before and after food but not with. Avoid fizzy drinks including beers/lagers.


    Can be caused by your faeces being too thick to drop to the foot of your bag and having Jelly babies might not help.

    Several remedies can be tried to eliminate pancaking

    1. Stoma bridge

    2. Crumbling up some toilet paper and putting into the pouch

    3. Using a gel to lubricate the pouch similar to baby oil.

    4. Try a different pouch


    The obvious solution is to buy trousers with a high waist band.

    You can get on prescription support underwear in boxer form which have pockets inside to put your pouch into, (the ones I use are high waisted) and will not cut your pouch in half.

    Would it be a problem if you didn't tuck your shirt into your trouser waist band which would conceal the height of your waistband. Have you considered braces instead of a belt.

    I'm sorry to hear that your problems are making you work from home rather than the office which does not really suit you.

    Let me know if you need help sourcing products and I will send you details as links.

    Both your problems whilst annoying and inconvenient can be overcome we just need to do a few trial and error exercises to find a solution.

    Please keep coming back to me by typing the following

    @Bodach into your message, a little blue will appear with my screenname if you click on it, when you send you message it will turn green to show  and I will be alerted.

    Look forward to hearing from you again.


    With 2 Certificates in Stoma Care and Management.

    You can find me in * Stoma Support * Bowel * Carers * Anal * Family & Friends * Bereavement * Diagnosed at a Young Age * Parents of Young Children * New to the Community * Living with incurable cancer - incurable patients only / End of Life (and others)

    Macmillan Support Team 0808 808 0000 Monday to Sunday 8 am to 8 pm, a delay in answering might be experienced.

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  • Hi Winston,

    It's still early days yet for you, and it's all about trying different things to find out what will suit you best - from food to clothing! I think you need to concentrate on what foods are going to agree with you and plan ahead with that knowledge. I'm 6 years on from my surgery and can assure that you in time things will definitely settle down. Why not speak to your stoma nurse about the pancaking? Have you thought about irrigation? This is a method of introducing water into the bowel through the stoma and flushing everything out. I've been doing that for about 3 years now and it's given me a big boost. I irrigate first thing in the morning and that gives me a lot of assurance that for the morning at least, I won't have any output. Sometimes I even get a whole day! By irrigating I have taken back some control. If this is something that you'd be interested in, just speak to your stoma nurse and they will help you with that.

    I changed jobs after my stoma arrived, and out of an office of 11 others, no-one knows I have a stoma. If it's a bit noisy, they think it's my stomach rumbling because of where the sound is coming from. And don't forget, everyone has wind! But if you can find out what foods give you wind, you'll find things improve. I wouldn't say a definite 'no' to any kind of foods if you enjoy them - but if you know something will go right through you, or gives you wind, plan to have them when you know you'll be at home. But irrigation does help a lot, trust me!

    I'm sure that as time goes on things will improve for you.

    Linda x

  • Hi Winston 

    Thought you might be interested in this article on PANCAKING

    If you click on the green text it will open up the article.


    With 2 Certificates in Stoma Care and Management.

    You can find me in * Stoma Support * Bowel * Carers * Anal * Family & Friends * Bereavement * Diagnosed at a Young Age * Parents of Young Children * New to the Community * Living with incurable cancer - incurable patients only / End of Life (and others)

    Macmillan Support Team 0808 808 0000 Monday to Sunday 8 am to 8 pm, a delay in answering might be experienced.

    What is a Community Champion?


  • Hi ,

    If I may ask, what type of stoma do you have? I had a temporary loop colostomy. Thicker output than ileostomies so leaks was not really an issue, but pancaking was. "Sticky poo", my stoma nurse called it. So what Ian said, i.e. jelly babies probably not a good idea as it thickens up output. But make sure you keep very well hydrated. Aim for 10 glasses of fluid a day, and make sure you get in at least 8. That will help to make the poo less sticky.

    If the issue is not output consistency but rather the clothing, I occasionally had to maneuver the poo down by gently pressing with my hand down the bag from top to bottom, so in your case maybe pulling the belt / waistband away for a moment to allow the output to run down? Have you thought about wearing suspenders rather than a belt? As a woman I think I had less issues with finding suitable clothing, but I did come across a company called Chums that sell high waisted and elasticated waist trousers.

    I also had the issue of being noisy during meetings. It did get better with time, but I avoided like the plague anything that could make me the least bit windy, as Ian mentioned. I.e. no fizzy drinks, beer, cabbage, beans / pulses, cauliflower, onions, spicy foods, chewing gum. I avoided having large meals far apart, and opted for smaller regular meals and snacking inbetween.

    If possible, try to plan your meetings so that you have 30 mins to an hour after lunch before going into the next meeting. And whatever you do, don't wolf down your food; chew slowly! Chewing stimulates peristalsis, i.e. the movement of the bowels, and I found that if my stoma was going to be noisy, it was always shortly after eating. I learnt the lesson the hard way when I had to go into a meeting right after lunch, where I basically shovelled in my food minutes before going into the meeting. My colleagues knew about the stoma, but I still remember their faces and how they were trying to pretend that they didn't hear the noises that emanated from my stoma!

    All the best.


    "There will always be people who tell you that you cannot do what you want to do. Ignore them."
  • Hi Winston

    I have a permanent end colostomy - it’s been two months now.  I’ve also had pancaking issues and some embarrassing leaks, which I did not have when I had my temporary ileostomy for four months.

    My stoma nurse says I need to drink lots of extra water - you think you have and then realise a morning has gone by with just a cup of tea and a coffee, which is not enough. Also I have been on a low fibre diet since surgery and am only just going on to “proper” food again, so there is a bit of experimenting.  I had a glass of Prosecco a couple of weeks ago which (I think) was the cause of a major bag leakage in a restaurant but I managed to sort myself out in the loo and stay calm. I only drank the Prosecco because it was a free drink - I don’t really like it. How stupid can you get?! It was very fizzy and not very nice.  Conversely I went to a party on Saturday and drank only soft drinks and the stoma behaved itself and I was able to dance the night away.....

    I think when I’ve had leaks I have possibly not paid enough attendion to my bag change and perhaps a bit of adhesive remover has not been wiped away properly  I’m being more careful now. Also, if I go out to a restaurant or for an evening I apply the extra tape strips to make everything super secure.

    Regarding wind, so far my stoma has not been too bad.  If it does let out a fart I joke to my husband that at least it doesn’t smell, unlike an old-fashioned fart! The filters in the bags seem to do a good job in that respect.

    The tips people have given here are great.  I’ll try to remind myself to follow them.....especially the bit about eating slowly and not talking too much during a meal.

    Good luck with your job. I hope your colleagues can accept that you are going through a tricky time and be supportive. There should be no need for you to hide away at home.


    Everything is rosy in the garden. 

  • Hi honey! I can see you have already recwives loads of helpful advice but I just wanted to add my support. I get exactly where you are coming from and it does get SO MUCH easier. Once my chemo ended my output was calmer and I had a great routine which meant "my boy" was quiet all day til mid or late afternoon. Very little gas too after chemo. I'm a high school teacher so I was very nervous about embarrassing noises but nobody noticed!! So try to eat soothing, plain food and once your treatment is finished your output should be more manageable. I used Coloplast Bravo lubricant/deodoriser which helped loosen output. Don't be afraid to squeeze the output down into the bottom of the bag either - I thought I would damage the bag (or "my boy") but they are both sturdier than you think ;)

  • hi Camelializ, have you tried stoma belts? These loop through  both sides of the stoma bag and make for security. As do high waisted pants. Worth a try. Both come from my Stoma supply people free of charge.

    "don't think about tomorrow"

  • Hi Winston,

    This is a great place to get masses of tips and support.  
    I’m pretty new to the group only Aug op however I have had similar issues and the belt recommended definitely gives great security and the baby oil, I’ve found a good squirt when changing in the opening and smooth it about and if my output is stodgy which can happen when I’m out and about it can be tiresome to empty and take too long so I open the neck and give another few drops hold up the the bag, mix, and it flies out. 
    I don’t do this when I have lots of time but when I’m  busy  it’s annoying trying to squeeze the glue like output out of the bag.  Smoothing the top around like mentioned before flattens it, then the oil gives it a quick exit.. it’s practice to get to know how much and if you need it. I have made the mistake of squeezing too hard so probably best to practice at home first  

    I realise it could be difficult to have the baby oil when out as even the small bottle is cumbersome and slippery so I’ve decanted a small emergency bottle.  It’s good to have it there if I get pancaked. 
    Best wishes


    Best Wishes

    Artsie Ann 

  • hi Winston76, try squirting baby oil into the bag and rub it into the bag. Try also some scented oil (your stoma nurse will know about this). There's different scents to choose from like peppermint and citrus which helps disguise any pongs. I have support pants there must be male equivalent. 

    "don't think about tomorrow"

  • hi ArtsieAnn, naming our stomas has been fun. I was wondering about starting another thread about diet  dos and don'ts. Only thing is I'm not sure how to start it. What do you think?

    "don't think about tomorrow"