5 Ways to Avoid Ostomy Odor

February 21,2020 |

If you need an ostomy, regardless of if it’s permanent or temporary, there are some lifestyle changes that you’ll have to make. While you won’t need to change your diet forever, what you eat and drink has a direct relation to what you expel. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that one of the biggest challenges that comes with an ostomy—aside from the lifestyle changes—is managing ostomy odor. One of the biggest concerns for people who undergo an ostomy is managing odor while they’re out in public. Many people fear that their ostomy will have an impact on their social life or love life, which in turn creates a lot of stress. Luckily, just because you have an ostomy doesn’t mean that you’re going to emit strong odors. Being prepared and knowing what to expect will help you avoid any embarrassing moments and keep the details of your ostomy private. In this article, we’ll go over 5 ways to avoid ostomy odor to keep your anxiety at bay.

  1. Monitor Your Body’s Response to Food and Beverage

    The first thing you should to do to avoid ostomy odor is monitor your body’s response to food and beverage. Different foods and drinks are digested by the body in different ways and the process of digestion has a direct link to any odor or gas that’s produced. If you’ve had an ostomy, there are certain foods that can cause an increase of gas inside your ostomy bag.1 Most of these foods are foods that are high in soluble fiber or have a lot of sugars—both natural and artificial.1 Since everyone’s body reacts differently, you’ll need to pay special attention to what you consume and what kind of effect it has.

    To begin, see how your body reacts to these common foods and beverages that cause gas. The following list is a good place to start.1

    • Asparagus
    • Apples
    • Apricots
    • Beer
    • Nuts
    • Broccoli
    • Onions
    • Cabbage
    • Dairy Products
    • Peaches
    • Beans
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Cabbage
    • Mangoes
    • Pears
    • Soda
    • Raisins


    When you’re introducing these foods back into your diet, do so in a way that allows you to monitor your body’s response. Try introducing only one of these foods back into your diet each day so that you can better understand what’s causing an increase in gas. This will allow you to more effectively tailor your diet to your specific needs.

    It’s also a good idea to reduce your intake of foods that are known to increase the odor of your urine. You don’t have to eliminate them from your diet completely, but if you’re worried about smell while out in public you can reduce your intake accordingly. You can also drastically reduce the odors of pungent foods by making sure that you stay hydrated to dilute the concentration of your urine and thus the pungency. Asparagus, fish, garlic, and onions are all known to intensify urine odor.1

  2. Empty Your Ostomy Pouch Regularly

    The next way to best avoid ostomy odor is by regularly emptying your ostomy pouch. When you let waste build up, the odors will become stronger. To keep odor under control, try to empty your ostomy bag whenever it gets to be about 1/3 or 1/2 full.1 When you wait until your ostomy pouch is full, it will become heavier and could loosen the seal on your appliance, which causes odor and waste to leak out.1

    If you’ve just recently had an ostomy, talk to your doctor or nurse about the best way to empty your ostomy pouch both in public and in private. Different types of pouching systems require different steps to be emptied, so always make sure to follow the proper recommendations for your pouch. Depending on your food and beverage intake, you should expect to empty your ostomy pouch anywhere from one to three times per day.1 Different types of ostomies may require more frequent care.

  3. Consider Using an Odor Eliminator

    If you’re still having trouble with ostomy odor after monitoring your food and beverage intake and emptying your pouch regularly, consider using an odor eliminator. There are a number of different products available that will help you manage ostomy odor without making major lifestyle changes. Odor eliminators come in many forms, so try a few of them out to see what will work best for you.

    Pouch Deodorants

    One type of odor eliminator is a pouch deodorant. These come in both liquid and gel form and are used as a preventative measure. All you need to do is put your preferred pouch deodorant in your ostomy bag after every time you change or empty your pouch, before reattaching the system.1 The deodorant will work as soon as your waste starts to fill the pouch, offering discreet odor eliminating options. You can get either scented or unscented deodorants and there are a number of safe brands to choose from.

    What About Tic Tacs?

    While using tic tacs as an odor eliminator isn’t nearly as effective as using a pouch deodorant, many people have found success with this DIY method. However, as with any DIY method, using tic tacs should be done at your own risk. Many people put them in the bottom of their ostomy pouch and while some have found success, others haven’t. For a safer, more effective alternative, we recommend always using an FDA approved pouch deodorant.

    Odor Eliminator Spray

    Another option is using an odor eliminator spray. Odor eliminator sprays are used when you’re changing your pouch to help eliminate airborne odors.1 They should not be sprayed into your pouch directly. Instead, odor eliminator sprays will help eliminate the smell that accompanies changing your ostomy pouch, which is very helpful when you need to change it in a public setting. There are also some great options to use to reduce odors from escaping the toilet. One of which is a brand called Hollister® m9™ Odor Eliminator Spray, which helps to keep the odor from escaping the toilet once your pouch has been emptied.

    Doctor-Approved Medications

    If all else fails, talk to your doctor about using oral medications like Devrom. Devrom is a chewable odor eliminator that contains bismuth subgallate, which works to neutralize odors from stool and flatulence.1 Always make sure you talk to your doctor before using any medications and understand any side effects that may occur.

  4. Use a Filter

    There are ways that you can filter your ostomy pouch. When gas starts to build up in your ostomy pouch, the pressure will cause the bag to inflate and put a strain on the seal.1 If this isn’t addressed, it will eventually contribute to leaks. If you’re experiencing odor problems because of your bag inflating, there are options to insert an odor-reduction filter.1 Almost all ostomy pouches have the ability to attach a filter directly to the system. If your ostomy pouch doesn’t have this feature, you can apply one before wearing your pouch and it will work the same way.

                *Products offered through insurance.

  5. Try a New Ostomy Bag

If you’ve tried all of the above and are still experiencing embarrassing ostomy odor, talk to your doctor or ostomy nurse about trying a new ostomy bag. Ostomy bags come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and fit to everyone differently. Even if your ostomy bag isn’t the problem, you might be dealing with an improper fit. When your ostomy bag doesn’t fit perfectly, it will end up leaking odor or even waste. Make sure that you choose a pouch that fits your stoma and your stoma output.1 If you’re having trouble getting the right fit, talk to a professional about what you can do to create a tighter seal.

You might also benefit from trying a different type of pouch. There are options for one-piece and two-piece systems and it could be beneficial trying both to see what works best for you. There are also options for disposable pouches if you’d prefer to replace the bag rather than empty your pouch throughout the day. All of the different products that are involved in an ostomy pouch system should work together to give you an air-tight seal that prevents any leaks or odors from escaping.


To get the most out of your ostomy care, always opt for high-quality, medical grade ostomy supplies. You’ll need ostomy pouches, ostomy flanges, stoma powder, and skin prep essentials to get the most out of your ostomy skin care. At Byram Healthcare, we’re committed to helping improve the life of people living with an ostomy and offer a wide range of ostomy supplies, ostomy bags, and support systems. If your insurance doesn’t cover ostomy supplies, Byram is available to help save you time, money, and hassle. Check out our selection today.



1 https://www.exmed.net/blog/ostomyhelp/post/2019/03/29/5-ways-to-avoid-ostomy-odor.aspx