No. 2: Things I wish I knew back then…

Filter labels

Stickers AKA Filter Labels

As part of writing the piece on ostomy support, I joined a few of the groups I researched and one of the most common questions that I saw on my feed from a variety of those groups was what are the sheet of stickers that comes in the box with the bags? As I sit here I really can’t remember what my first thoughts were when I unpacked that first pack of ostomy supplies and saw those stickers but I’m sure it was something like the masses, what are they for and how do I use them.

Over the years I thought I had it worked out, if there were stickers in the box then the filter on the bag wasn’t waterproof and needed a cover while swimming or taking a shower if you wanted it to continue working at full capacity. But again thanks to a comment in one of the support groups, I actually read the flyer that came in the box and found that with my particular bags, the stickers AKA filter labels are to keep gas in. Go figure… I must be honest and say, to keep water out or keep gas in. I used them for about two years intermittently, saw no real difference, possibly because once I put them on I always forgot to take them off and have never used them since. I did, however, years later find a bundle of them in my arts and crafts box. My mother like many helped while I was in and out of the hospital. When cleaning up one time she must have thought that’s where they belonged.

So that got me to thinking and I would love to hear your responses below.  Does anyone actually read the information leaflets in the box?  Is the filter label to keep the gas in just with my bag type or is this now common across the suppliers? Do you use the sticker? If so do you find it helps? Do you remember to take it off again? And lastly, why would anyone want to keep gas in? I try to avoid ballooning and I can honestly say that in the ten years I’ve had a stoma I’ve never had any smells escape from my filter. Burping the bag is a whole different ball game, one I shall discuss along with ballooning another day.

Don’t forget to post your comments below.

Great comment from a FB Support Group Member.

“Stick them over the filter of your bag (under the top flap) if you need to keep some air in. I use them because I get bad pancaking (when the output stays at the top of the bag and squashes down rather than sliding down the bag). Keeping some air in the bag helps the output to move down to its proper place!” Alice


  1. Helen Wright
    May 3, 2017

    Hi all 🙂
    Sometimes the filter works too well and makes the pouch stick together leaving no room for the stool to drop into the pouch. The stool can “pancake” and stick to the top of the pouch. This can cause leakages and skin irritations. The stickers are designed to be used to block the filter and prevent this from happening. Other ways include putting a small piece of tissue in the bottom of the pouch to keep it open, blowing a little air in before applying and/or putting a couple of drops of oil into the pouch, thus enabling the stool to slip down more easily into the bottom of the pouch. This tends to be an issue mainly with colostomists rather than ileostomists due to the consistency. Adding more fluid and/or fibre into your diet to help change the consistency can also help.
    Hope this answers some of your readers questions and is helpful 🙂

  2. Caz
    May 4, 2017

    Must admit I don’t always read the leaflets, and I don’t use the stickers for gas/to ‘plug’ the filter either. I do, however, use them if I want to take a shower and not have to change the bag until later/the next day if I shower at night. Before using the stickers, I’d always find the inner part coming away around the stoma, but the stickers over the filter seem to help with that for some mysterious reason!

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