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Changing your urostomy bag

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Changing your urostomy bag

There are different types of urostomy bag, so we can’t give you detailed information about how to change it here. Your stoma nurse will show you how to change your bag. It is helpful to keep everything you need in a bag or in one place. That way, you won’t discover that something is missing half way through. Your nurse will make sure you are confident about changing your bag before you leave hospital. Remember it takes time to learn how to do new things. If you are having any problems contact your stoma nurse.

You don’t have to keep anything sterile (completely free from all germs) for a bag change. But it’s important to be hygienic so do wash your hands before and after. It’s also important to look after your stoma and the skin round it. As part of each bag change, you’ll need to wash and dry the skin thoroughly.


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Different types of bag

Your stoma nurse will show you how to change your bag. There are two main types of bag – one piece and two piece. A one piece system has the bag, seal and adhesive patch in one and can last for 2 to 3 days. A two piece system has a separate bag and adhesive wafer (flange). The wafer is a soft, flat, plastic adhesive disc that sticks to the body and the bag clips onto it. You can leave the wafer in place for up to 5 days and just change the bag. 

These photos show the one piece system.

Photo showing one type of urostomy bag

Photo of the back of a urostomy bag


What you will need

To fit a new bag, at first you need to cut a hole in the wafer or adhesive patch to fit your stoma. When your stoma has settled in size you can get bags that are pre cut to fit. The more accurate the fit, the less likely the bag is to leak. You will get very good at this with practice. 

You will need to have ready

  • Your new bag and wafer (if you use one)
  • A measuring guide
  • Tissues or absorbent cloth
  • Warm water and wipes
  • A disposal bag or newspaper
  • Scissors
  • A small mirror for looking at your stoma

You may also need 

  • Barrier cream
  • Adhesive paste (if you are changing your wafer or one piece bag)

It is helpful to keep everything that you need in a bag or in one place. That way, you won't be halfway through and realise there is something vital missing.


How to change your bag

Your stoma nurse will show you how to change your bag and make sure you know how to do it before you leave hospital. As with anything you are learning new it can be difficult at first. As you do it more you learn what you need and what works best for you. Remember, if you have any problems contact your stoma nurse.  

When changing your bag, you don't have to worry about keeping anything sterile (completely free of all germs). You have to be clean rather than sterile. Urine is sterile unless it is infected. But you should try to be as hygienic as possible. So wash your hands before and afterwards.

  • Wash your hands
  • Get your new bag ready
  • Cut a hole in the wafer to fit your stoma if necessary
  • Drain your old bag
  • Peel the bag off carefully
  • Throw the bag away in your disposal bag or wrap it in newspaper
  • Clean round your stoma with warm water and wipes
  • Dry the skin thoroughly with tissues or absorbent cloth
  • If you use barrier cream, massage it in well or it might stop your bag sticking to your skin properly
  • Check the size of your stoma with the measuring guide to make sure it hasn't changed (your stoma nurse will show you how to do this)
  • Stick your new bag or wafer in place
  • Make sure the tap of the bag is closed
  • Put the old bag in the bin, well wrapped up (or your local authority may collect it)
  • Wash your hands
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Updated: 21 May 2015