If you’re stressed trying to hide the smell of output, try your best to not do that. Before getting started, we want you to relax and know that you are NOT alone.
To be expected, thousands of ostomates are Googling 'how to get rid of ostomy odor'. We're not here to help you self-diagnose—instead hopefully answer some common issues and point you to one science-backed internal deodorant solution.
Issue: Not Emptying Often
While you don't have to empty your ostomy pouch every minute (as newbies we've frantically done), it's highly recommended that you do so when it’s less than half full. Letting your pouch fill up completely can cause a leak – which in addition to odor – can be super embarrassing if your clothes get stained (we’ve also been there). Emptying more often is a major must-do!
Issue: Masking The Smell
With the stink comes the need to clean and refresh, but many air fresheners could be creating more offensive smells. Now, before all the Glade lovers side-eye a hole into our head, let's think healthily for a moment. Many commercial deodorizers just cover up odor by adding chemicals into the air. As you can imagine, this solution is not great for our bodies or the environment.
Issue: Eating Certain Food
To be honest, this probable cause is actually the worst since it can sort of ruin the enjoyment of eating whatever makes you happy. So, which foods can make smelly urine or stinky stool? Asparagus, garlic, onions, eggs, meat, dairy, and of course beans are some of the most common culprits.
Issue: Too Much Gas
You won’t hear many people chatting about this because it’s kind of an awkward thing to talk about. First things first: "flatus" or gas is a normal side effect of digestion. However, "flatulence" is a state of having excessive gas. Burping allows some gas to leave the stomach and the remaining travels through the intestines for later release. Apparently, our insides are creating an odor producing bacteria or something like that. Ehhh.
Solution: Eliminate The Odor
The Parthenon Company manufactures an internal deodorant that has been on the market for over 50 years! Devrom® is an FDA-approved, over the counter medication used to eliminate the odor associated with flatulence. It is available without a prescription and come in chewable tablet or capsule option. Ostomates rave about how well it works!
How it works: Devrom® contains the active ingredient bismuth subgallate, which helps deodorize by acting on odor producing bacteria in the intestine from flatulence and stool.
The solution, it turns out, is not to escape the odor—rather change the way your body reacts to it. But once again, we just want to remind you that you’re not alone. If you feel anxious or embarrassed by output smells try to let go and remember, this too shall pass. Consider Greg's point of view:
“Personally, I’m glad to still be alive. Bag output isn’t any worse than being around a bunch of toilet sitters. The smell is a small price to pay for getting the upper hand on cancer.”