How To Deal With Sore Skin Around Your Stoma

Unfortunately, sore skin around a stoma is a more common complication than any other stoma-related problem. The irritation and soreness in this area can result in redness, itchiness, and pain. Leaving these problems untreated can result in problems adhering to stoma appliances.

Remedying this problem involves the identification of the root cause as the very first step. You may need to add a few easy steps to your stoma care regimen to take care of this problem. Once your skin recovers, you can stop working on those steps.

What are the reasons for sore skin around the stoma?

Skin soreness can develop due to several issues. We will discuss some of them below.

Leakage: It is undoubtedly the most common reason for the development of soreness or irritation in the peristomal skin. This problem refers to the seepage of the stomal output underneath the ostomy pouch’s skin barrier, compromising its seal. It may be due to a poorly fitted appliance. The best way to prevent leakage is to check the correct size of the skin barrier opening.

Changing stoma shape: The shape of the stoma can change for several different reasons. The most significant change of shape occurs during the first few weeks after surgery. That is when post-surgery swelling subsides. It generally takes six to eight weeks for the stoma to settle to a permanent shape and size. During these weeks, you have to measure your stoma more often and adjust the size of the ostomy appliance’s opening accordingly to make sure it fits around your stoma properly. A too-large opening can result in the stomal output getting in contact with the peristomal skin, leading to soreness in the area.

Pancaking: Another factor contributing to skin soreness is pancaking. This problem refers to the development of a vacuum inside the stoma bag. This vacuum prevents stomal wastes from dropping to the bottom of the ostomy bag. They, instead, pool round the top, resulting in leakage.

Damp: Before wearing the ostomy bag, make sure that the skin around your stoma is dry and clean. Applying this bag to a damp area keeps its adhesive to form a seal.

Allergy: Soreness can develop in the peristomal skin due to an allergic reaction. If you think your peristomal skin has soreness due to this reason, contact your ostomy care nurse immediately.


The best way to deal with sore peristomal skin is to avoid soreness in the first place. For that, you have to wash the skin around your stoma with warm water and pat it dry before wearing the ostomy pouch. Avoid using soaps and other fragranced moisturizers as they can contribute to skin irritation. Avoid using baby wipes because they can leave an oily residue on the peristomal skin.

If there is skin soreness, you can consider applying a skin barrier cream before wearing an ostomy pouch. It will provide a soothing effect, making it easier to wear the pouch.

If skin soreness seems to be out of control, contact your ostomy care nurse to ask for an appointment.