Life,  Ostomy Care

Why I Don’t Empty My Bag

The first bag a brand new ostomate gets is usually a clear, one or two piece drainable pouch. The closure might be a clip, some velcro, or even a nozzle for those who have urostomies. It took me a few years to get away from these types of pouches. Let me tell you why I don’t empty my ostomy anymore.

The first reason I steered away from these bags is the emptying part. I hated awkwardly leaning down to empty my ostomy into the toilet, worried of a clip removed prematurely, a splash back, or just a bad aim. I was always nervous emptying my pouch and ruining my outfit [although Ostomy Aid has eliminated this issue!].

Cleaning the pouch after mostly successful empties was also a battle. It felt like I needed to carry a water bottle or have some sort of bidet at hand to make sure the end of my bag was clean. Even if I did have a water source, it never actually felt clean. There was always a little output I just couldn’t clean off the end, and it would always seep through my shirt.

The closure at the end of these bags were also a little to rigid for me. Should I tuck the plastic clip into my pants or let it hang? Either way, the clip seemed to be noticeable through my clothing. As someone new to the ostomy world, I wasn’t too keen on that.

It was after all of this that I really started exploring different brands. I wanted to see which bag made me feel the cleanest and look the sleekest. I probably went through ten or so different bags until I found the non-drainables. These never crossed my mind as an option as I felt it was a silly idea. How the heck am I supposed to empty a bag that has no opening?! It never made sense to me, until I tried it.

I had originally ordered the non-drainable Hollister bags you see me use in most of my videos for swimming. I wanted something small and discreet for swimming, but also have the option to switch back to a normal, draining pouch. I ordered my usual 2 and 1/4 inch flanges and ordered both bags. Trying out the non-drainable pouch, I realized how easy it was to slip a little baggie over my bag, pop off the bag from the flange, and throw it away. It was just as easy to click a new bag on.

From then on I have use non-drainable. When I tell both co-workers and patients, they look at me like I’m crazy and ask how I can even empty my bag. The answer is, I don’t!


  • Dana

    I Maggie!
    I am going to have my colon removed in September 2017 due to UC issues dx 30 years ago! I now have sever structure, fistula, and dysplasia. Thank you so much for all you do to help others with similar issues. I like the recent video of using a non-drainable bag after I am able to switch to something like this. What is the product name and/or order number?

  • Steve

    Hi Maggie,
    I had a colostomy in October of last year, and I too could not get used to the ‘ emptying ‘ of my pouches. Trying to clean the opening was difficult and usually removed the bag completely to clean thoroughly. Fortunately for me my wife found a product which has made my process tolerable. They are ‘ Flushable ‘ bags which go inside the ostomy pouch, you remove your pouch any put bag into toilet, clean around stoma, reattach your pouch with flushable bag inside.
    The bags come in 2 different sizes and have turned my ostomy world around.

    • letstalkibd

      I apologize! Most ostomy bag brands have non drainables, but this is a Hollister bag! My flange number is 14603 and the pouch that attaches is 18393.

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