Coloplast Vs. Hollister
July 15, 2010
I was waffling a little bit on which company to use for my ileostomy supplies, but after trying Hollister then going back to the Coloplast I have come to the concrete decision that the Coloplast products make me feel much more comfortable and secure. I am using opaque, two-piece appliances that attach with a tupperware-like flange. I thought I’d write a little bit about what I like and dislike about each one. This will probably be hard to understand if you don’t have an ostomy.
I think Coloplast’s pouch is pretty awesome. It’s actually almost perfect if the filter worked (alas, filters pretty much don’t work on any pouch). I use the midi sized pouch which has to be emptied a little more often than the larger size, but with the end folded up it is very comfortable how it lays against my body. I hardly notice it most of the time. The pouch is wide and short with a wide bottom, so there is not a lot of stress placed on the flange when it gets full. The best part about this pouch is that you can fold the tail back up into a small flap to conceal it. This keeps the tail from rubbing against your leg and being annoying. Definitely a thumbs up for the comfort level.
Hollister’s pouch is sort of lame. I say this mostly because of the problems with the opening, which I will get into more specifically in the next category. There is no option to fold up the tail though. This leaves the tail dangling in annoying spots, making the pouch more noticeable to the wearer. The pouch also gets more narrow where the tail comes out. I think the narrowness puts undue stress on the closure and the wafer when the pouch gets full, because all of the weight of the output is focused on that one spot.
Coloplast’s opening is great; it’s the main reason why the pouch is awesome, besides the fact that you can tuck in the tail. The opening is wide and the pouch is easy to empty. The end is made of a rubbery sort of material and has a flap that folds back so that you don’t make a mess. After emptying, you can just clean the end with one or two swipes across the opening and fold it back over, and it stays clean. You roll the end over several times, and it closes with two velcro straps. The velcro straps seem pretty secure, and even if you are scared that they would fail, there is another velcro dot holding the tail in place when you fold it back up into the pouch, so I see virtually no possibility of leaks.
Hollister’s opening sucks, sadly. It is difficult to get open to empty the pouch. I even creased mine into the open position before use, and it still gave me trouble. It also has a very small piece of plastic overhang that serves no use but to get poop all over it and be a pain in the butt. After emptying, you have to clean not only the end but also the inside of the tail or else it will make a mess when you roll it up. I find that it just takes too long to do this several times a day when I can just use Coloplast and make it very easy. I’m not looking to make extra work for myself by carrying around squirt bottles or something like that. Anyway. When you roll it up to close it, you have to press down so that it locks to a velcro-like seal. It’s not really velcro; it’s some kind of hard plastic that interlocks. It doesn’t have straps though, so I feel like it could easily be yanked loose by accident. Also, if there are gritty pieces of food stuck in the tail, I think it would be very easy to poke a hole in the plastic since you have to push down on it to make it stick. Definitely not happy with this opening.
I think that the wafers on both appliances are alright. Coloplast’s wafer is a plastic moldable material without tape. I think it is good that it has tape, but I think that the plastic is more likely to buckle and cause problems. I feel like they have made improvements on this though. The pouch I got sent home from the hospital with was actually an older version; I think it was much more likely to wrinkle. I am now trying the newer version of their wafer, and it seems much more flexible than before.
Hollister’s wafer was VERY flexible. I think this is largely due to the use of tape. I don’t really like the tape, but the wafer was VERY comfortable and I couldn’t even feel that it was there. I liked that a lot. And I didn’t feel like there was a chance of it coming off the whole time I wore it. The annoying thing about tape is that you have to blow dry it after you take a shower, because wet things breed bacteria. Also, after just one use, I started to get sticky residue on the outside of the tape, which would probably build up over time; that stuff’s hard to get off.
Coloplast’s flange is okay. I’m not always confident that the pouch is securely attached after I put it on though. You have to fit the pouch ring over the wafer ring snugly and press down on your abdomen to sort of snap it on. Meh. The good thing about this flange is that it has a locking mechanism. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but it makes me feel secure. If you want to unlock it and open the top to release gas, however, it is not very easy. There is no way I could do that discreetly with this pouch.
Hollister’s flange is awesome. It is a “floating” flange. This means you can reach under it and press up with your thumb while pressing the pouch down instead of pressing against your belly. This allowed me to press all the way around and be sure that I had a good seal, although my own insecurities made me want to check and check again. The only downside is that there is no locking mechanism, which made me afraid that the pouch could get pulled off. However, I felt that it was securely attached at all times when I was wearing it.
So, I chose Coloplast. The Hollister opening was just too messy and dangly… and the tape was a minor annoyance.
As far as accessories go, I don’t use many. I use Convatec stomahesive paste, because that is what I was given in the hospital. I find that it works very well as a caulking device to prevent leakage under the wafer. It is sometimes difficult to get out of the tube in a smooth, even consistency, but since it is a paste it sort of molds to what you need. It also squishes under the wafer and around the stoma to protect any bare skin that might be showing.
I also tried Hollister barrier rings, but I found that I probably like paste better. It is convenient because you can just mold the ring to the shape you want it and place it around the opening of the wafer. It’s sticky though, so it’s not the most pleasant thing to mold. It worked reasonably well, but I’m not sure that it squished out like the paste would have; it more or less just stayed where I put it. Also, I only used half of what came in an individual package and molded it back into a ring, because the original size barrier ring seemed way too big. I think it left a little more residue than the paste as well.
I don’t use stoma powder, because I don’t currently have any real skin irritation. I was also told not to use the barrier film unless I had skin problems as it breaks down the adhesive. So that makes it a real quick and easy process for me to change bags. I just remove the old one, shower, cut a hole in the wafer, apply paste, stick on the wafer, and stick on the bag. Hopefully, I will be able to get pre-cut wafers once my stoma stops changing size…that would eliminate one more step!
I think that is the end of my experimenting, and I will settle on what I’m using now except maybe to use some of the free supplies I’ve acquired. I have my second follow-up appointment on July 21st. The surgeon will just briefly check my wounds (most of them seem to be healing great, but my belly button has been weeping a clear liquid =/), and then my ostomy nurse will silver nitrate my stoma again. The last time worked well, and the little bump that was there did shrink. I guess I will make sure I have the product numbers for all of the supplies I’ve decided on so I can order what I want. I haven’t actually had to make an order yet, so I’m sure that will be a fun process. Until then…