Urostomy pouches are special bags that are used to collect urine after bladder surgery.
Instead of going to your bladder, urine will go outside of your abdomen into the urostomy pouch. The surgery to do this is called a urostomy.
Part of the tube will stick outside your abdomen. This is called the stoma.
The urostomy pouch is attached to the skin around your stoma. It will collect the urine that drains out of your urostomy. The pouch is also called a bag or appliance.
The pouch will help:
Prevent urine leaks
Keep the skin around your stoma healthy
Types of urostomy pouches
Most urostomy pouches come as either a 1-piece pouch or 2-piece pouch system.
A 1-piece system is made up of a pouch that has an adhesive or sticky layer on it. This adhesive layer has a hole that fits over the stoma. It can stay on for 1 to 3 days before it needs changing.
A 2-piece pouch system has a skin barrier called a flange. The flange fits over the stoma and sticks to the skin around it. The pouch then fits onto the flange. The flange can stay on the skin for 3 to 5 days before it needs changing.
Both kinds of pouches have a tap or spout to drain the urine. A clip or another device will keep the tap closed when urine is not being drained.
Both types of pouch systems come with either of these:
Precut holes in a range of sizes to fit different-size stomas
A starter hole that can be cut to fit the stoma
Right after surgery your stoma will be swollen. Because of this, you or your health care provider must measure your stoma for the first 8 weeks after your surgery. As the swelling lessens, you will need smaller pouch openings for your stoma. These openings should not be more than 1/8 inch wider than your stoma. If the opening is too large, urine is more likely to leak.
Over time, you may want to change the size or type of pouch you use. Weight gain or loss can affect what pouch works best for you. Children who use a urostomy pouch may need a different type as they grow.
Some people find that a belt gives extra support and makes them feel more secure. If you wear a belt, make sure it is not too tight. You should be able to get 2 fingers between the belt and your waist. A belt that is too tight could damage your stoma.
Buying and storing supplies
Your doctor or nurse will write a prescription for your supplies.
You can order your supplies from an ostomy supply center, a pharmacy or medical supply company, or through mail order.
Contact your insurance company to find out if they will pay for part or all of your supplies.
Try to keep your supplies together in one place and store them in an area that is dry and room temperature.
Be careful about stocking up on too many supplies. Pouches and other devices have an expiration date and should not be used after this date.
Call your health care provider if you are having a hard time getting your pouch to fit right or if you notice changes to your skin or stoma.
Incontinent urostomy: community care, follow-up and complications. In: Geng V, Cobussen-Boekhorst H, Fillingham S, Holroyd S, Kiesbye B, Vahr S. Incontinent urostomy. Arnhem (The Netherlands): European Association of Urology Nurses (EAUN); 2009: 19-65.
Nettina SM. Renal and urinary disorders. Lippincott Manual of Nursing Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010;chap 21.
Maidl L, Ohland J. Care of Stomas. Fischer JE, ed. Mastery of Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007:chap 132.
Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.