Urostomy: Changing Your Pouch

You’ve just had a urostomy. As part of your surgery, a small opening (stoma) was made on your abdomen (belly). Urine and mucus drain from the stoma into a disposable pouch. You’ll be shown how to change your pouch before you leave the hospital. Plan to change your pouch every few days. Change it early in the morning, when your urine output is less. To change your pouch, follow the steps below.

Closeup of abdomen showing hands removing urostomy pouch.

Closeup of hand cleaning around urostomy stoma.

Closeup of hands putting on urostomy pouch.

How to change your pouch

To change your pouch, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Prepare the new pouch.

  • Gather your supplies in the bathroom. These include plastic bags, toilet tissue, paper towels or a soft washcloth, a clean cloth or towel, an extra skin barrier wipe (if desired), and a new pouch.

  • If you don’t use a pouch with a precut skin barrier, size and cut the opening.

  • Slowly peel the backing off the skin barrier. Set the skin barrier aside.

  • Empty the used pouch before removing it. When you empty the pouch, be sure to sit on the toilet. Or stand in front of the toilet.

Step 2: Remove the used pouch.

  • When removing the used pouch, sit on the toilet. Or stand in front of it.

  • Carefully push the skin away from the skin barrier with one hand. Do this starting at the upper edge of the barrier. With the other hand, slowly peel the skin barrier off from top to bottom.

  • Seal the used pouch in a plastic bag. Then throw it away in your regular trash.

Step 3: Clean around the stoma.

  • Use toilet paper to wipe urine or mucus from the stoma and the skin around it.

  • Clean the skin with warm water and a soft washcloth or paper towel. Wash right up to the edge of the stoma. You can also do this when you shower. Getting wet will not harm the stoma, but remember that urine will keep coming out.

  • Pat the skin dry with a clean towel.

Step 4: Put on the new pouch.

  • Use a folded paper towel or a piece of gauze to keep your stoma dry while you’re putting on the new pouch.

  • Using one hand, pull the skin on your abdomen tight to smooth out any wrinkles. If you use one, apply the barrier wipe to the skin around the stoma.

  • Starting from the bottom of your stoma, apply the skin barrier. Put the palm of your hand over the barrier. Hold the barrier in place for 45 seconds. This molds it to your skin.

  • If you use a two-piece pouch, snap the pouch onto the skin barrier. Start at the bottom and work your fingers around the barrier to get a tight seal.

  • Make sure the pouch drain is in the “closed” position. If the pouch has a drain cap, be sure to put it on.

  • After you change the pouch, wash your hands.

When to seek medical care

Call your ostomy nurse or other healthcare provider if:

  • The skin around the stoma is red, weepy, bleeding, or broken.

  • The skin around the stoma itches, burns, stings, or has white spots.

  • The stoma swells, changes color, or bleeds without stopping.

  • The stoma sinks below its normal level or below the skin.

  • The stoma sticks up above the skin more than normal.