Keeping Your Pouch Dry in the Shower by Frank Malanga, BOA member

Note: This is an update to my original article. Since writing that piece I have improved and clarified the process, resulting in a watertight seal every time.

Here’s an inexpensive and effective way to keep most of your ostomy pouch dry while taking a shower. I’ve found that using a shower cap over the pouch works wonders. But it must be the cheapest, flimsiest shower cap you can find. I get mine at the dollar store, eight for a dollar! Sometimes they are called “disposable shower caps.” Heavier, more expensive shower caps don’t work. They are usually too large. You will use two small binder clips to hold the cap tightly around the wafer.

First fold the pouch tail over itself and upwards towards the body of the pouch.

Next stretch the cap to fit over the wafer and the folded pouch. (See Photo #1.) The elastic fits loosely around the wafer.

The key to making a watertight seal is how tightly you roll and tuck the cap. The goal is to leave nowhere for the water to enter the cap and wet the pouch. I have found that the tighter the roll, the better the seal.

Next stretch the cap around the wafer and the folded pouch starting at the top and wrapping it tightly at the bottom of the wafer. You have now enclosed the folded pouch and wafer.

Grasp the cap at the bottom of the wafer. Roll and twist it as tightly as possible. You will have much of the cap unused at this step.

Place the first clip on the twisted cap just below the bottom edge of the wafer.

Next grasp the “excess” cap and roll it tightly. Fold it upwards and clip it to the main body of the cap to “seal” the cap. (See Photo #2) which clearly shows the second (top) clip in position.

With practice you will find less and less water trapped in the cap. After much experimentation I’ve settled on the method I just described. Now I find no water at all trapped in the cap. My pouch stays totally dry in the shower. Every time.After you turn off the shower lean your abdomen slightly forward before lifting the cap straight up from the pouch so the pouch won’t touch your wet body. As soon as the cap is removed and while still leaning forward use your towel to dry the skin under the pouch so it won’t flop against wet skin.

If you do find some water entering the shower cap near the bottom while you are learning this process, the water will fall out into the shower when you lift the cap off the pouch or you can shake the cap to remove the water.

After your shower, you can remove much of the moisture from the cap by patting it on both the inside and out with the same towel you used to dry yourself. After that open the shower cap to air dry on one side – then turn it inside out to air dry on the other side. Best of all, the caps are reusable daily. I’ve been using the same cap for weeks. They are remarkably strong and the binder clips have rounded edges so they don’t tear the cap.I use a two piece pouch. This method does not keep the skin barrier wafer edge dry because the cap fits snugly around the pouch seal exposing the wafer edge. I dry the damp skin barrier edge with a dry towel or tissue which easily soaks up most of the dampness.

Optionally, you can use a hair dryer set on low heat or no heat to finish the drying of the barrier edge. Keep the hair dryer moving in a circle around the barrier so as not to heat the pouch or barrier excessively.

I find this method for keeping the pouch dry easy, inexpensive, fast and convenient. From one ostomate to another, I hope this improved technique helps you too.