Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a Colostomy & Ileostomy?

A Colostomy is formed during an operation where a portion of the colon, also known as the large intestine, is brought onto the surface of the skin. This allows faecal matter to be expelled into a colostomy pouch which is applied to the abdomen as a collection device. The output from a colostomy is very similar to a normal formed stool and typically a closed pouch is used which can be removed and disposed of.

The difference with an Ileostomy is that the operation brings a segment of the Ileum, also known as the small intestine, to the surface of the skin. This allows faecal matter to be expelled into an ileostomy pouch which has is applied to the abdomen as collection device.  The output from an ileostomy is often a more liquid in consistency and a drainable pouch is used, this can be emptied down the toilet and re-sealed for use over a 24–48-hour period.

What does a stoma look like?

Generally, the stoma will be pink in colour and moist. Some stoma’s will be closer to the skin (flush) and others have a small spout which supports the flow of output from the stoma into the pouch. Despite looking raw,  there are no nerve endings in the stoma.

What can you eat?

There are lots of resources available regarding diet for anyone with a stoma and your Healthcare Professional will be best place to support any queries and guide you with any foods to avoid.

What about gas?

The production of gas through a stoma can depend on two major factors: swallowed air and gas formed by the bacteria in the colon. Gas production is normal and amounts will vary depending on the types of foods we eat, how often food we eat, along with our eating habits plus the motility of the bowel.

Gas can result when we eat certain foods and some cause us to swallow more air as we eat them. Fizzy drinks and beer are likely to increase gas in the pouch. This isn’t to say they should be removed from your diet but that there is awareness of the potential impact.

Managing gas once it is in your pouch is through the use of the integrated filters within your stoma pouch, these also contain charcoal to neutralise any odours. The filters vary between manufacturers but are often waterproof to protect the filter and give longevity against a more liquid stoma output.

Filters should be covered with the small adhesive patches known as filter covers when showering or swimming, unless you are planning to change your pouch immediately afterwards.

What is pouch ballooning?

Ballooning is the term used to explain gas being trapped within the pouch. Ballooning of the pouch is usually reduced as the gas passes through the charcoal filter but the rate at which this occurs can vary dependant on the amount of gas you produce.

If you wear a drainable pouch, excess gas can be expelled at the same time as emptying the pouch. On a closed pouch this isn’t possible so if you are finding ballooning is a constant problem speak to your Healthcare Professional or try other pouches where the filter flow rate will vary.

If you are using an Emperor pouch and find this an issue, please call us on 0800 0086 646 and we can offer advice.

What is pouch pancaking?

Pancaking is the term used to describe a vacuum effect within the pouch which leads to the stoma output collecting around the stoma and not dropping down into the pouch.

If you find this a problem, place a filter cover on top of the filter before applying the pouch and also place a little air into the pouch before applying.

As the pouch fills with gas you can simply remove the filter cover and place it next to the filter, once the gas has been expelled the filter cover can be reapplied if required.

How do I obtain my supplies?

The Emperor pouches are available on NHS Prescription and can be obtained through your usual supplier or you can call us on 0800 0086 646 and we can offer advice.

How much do I have to pay for my pouches?

Stoma pouches are generally covered by the NHS prescription service so you won’t need to pay anything for your pouches.  However, if your stoma is temporary,  your Healthcare Professional will advise if prescription fees apply (England only).

Do the Emperor pouches contain latex?

There is no latex in the Emperor brand of stoma pouches.

Who should I contact if I experience a problem with an Emperor pouch?

Please contact us directly should you experience any problems as we take all product issues or complaints very seriously. Our customer service team are on hand to support you Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9am and 5pm, please call us on 0800 0086 646.