I have a colostomy and recently saw an ad about a liner for inside a pouch. I already use a closed-end pouch. How do the liners work and are they effective?
You are probably referring to Colo-Majic® liners, designed by an ostomate, and distributed out of British Columbia. While initially intended for individuals with colostomies using closed-end pouches, some with ileostomies have also begun to use this product. The intent of the liner is to:
- Make pouch emptying easier as the liner can be removed from the pouching system and discarded into the toilet, and
- Make your pouching system cheaper as the liners are far less expensive than a regular pouch.
Using the Liner
The liners are only for use with 2-piece pouching systems as the coupling mechanism used to attach your regular pouch to the flange holds the liner in place. Here’s how they work:
- 1. The manufacturer suggests putting a few pinholes in specific areas of the liner prior to inserting it into your clean pouch. This allows gas to escape into your regular pouch and out through the filter (if you are using a filtered pouch).
- 2. Scrunch the liner in your hand and place it inside a clean pouch.
- 3. Spread the liner with your fingers, or blow lightly into the liner to have it properly expand inside the pouch.
- 4. Lay the liner opening across the coupling mechanism.
- 5. Snap the pouch onto your flange, ensuring that the liner overlaps to the outside of your pouch, while still being ‘trapped’ within the coupling mechanism.
- 6. When your pouch is ⅓ to ½ full, remove it from the flange, gather up the liner at the top and lift up; grab a corner of the liner and continue to remove from the pouch.
- 7. Discard the full liner into the toilet and replace it with a new one.
There are several advantages to using the Colo-Majic liners.
- Cost Effective: As mentioned, the liners are a less expensive means of managing your pouching system. Rather than replacing your closed-end pouch with another, you just replace the liner, a much cheaper option. Closed-end pouches typically cost about $2.50 to $3.25 each, whereas each liner costs about 16¢ to 19¢ each (depending upon volume purchased).
- Cleanup: Disposal of a soiled liner is also easier, as you can discard it into the toilet.
- Flexibility: Two sizes of liners are available, one for those using a 1¾” (45mm) diameter coupling mechanism, and another for those using a 2¼-2¾” (57-70mm) system. Both sizes hold the same volume and are 7” (178mm) deep.
- Lightweight: There is less bulk when carrying extra supplies, making daily ‘emergency kits’ much lighter and packing for travel a lot easier.
As with any product, there are also some disadvantages to consider.
- Compatibility: These liners will not work with 1-piece pouching systems and a few 2-piece systems. If you are using one of the newer coupling mechanisms, such as Coloplast’s Easi-Flex®, or ConvaTec’s Esteem Synergy®, then these liners will not work. When you are using a coupling mechanism smaller than 1¾” (45mm) diameter, you may find the opening of the pouch too small to pull a full liner out.
- Noise: There is a bit more noise associated with the liner, and you might notice more ‘rustling’ than with your current pouch.
- Disposal: The liners should only be disposed of in primary sewage systems. Do not deposit them into natural waterways, septic tanks, or aeration systems. In some municipalities, ‘green box’ recycling may allow for safe disposal of the liners. Always follow local disposal requirements and regulations for human waste.
- Size: The liners only come in one volume size, so if you tend to have large stools, the liners may be too small to accommodate the volume.
- Odour: A few people have anecdotally reported that there is a breakthrough odour associated with the pouch: that it either interferes with the coupling mechanism or allows odour to escape, or that the odour ‘travels’ along the plastic and out from the pouch. Certainly not all people have reported this, and I would suggest trying the product to see if odour is a concern for you.
For ostomates who dislike emptying their pouch from a traditional drainable pouch, for economic reasons, or for social situations such as work, restaurants, or travelling, these liners might make their pouching system a little easier to manage.