Modern technology is pretty amazing. An old stereotype of ostomates was that you could smell them once they walked in the room. Well, NOT ANYMORE!

Odor with an ostomy doesn’t have to be a problem at any point. The pouches are odor proof and though your output stinks (because poop smells), there are a number of options for odor eliminating products you can use. There are gels and liquids you can put in your ostomy pouch to neutralize the odor, sprays you can spray in the bathroom after, and even oral medications you can take to help neutralize the odor.

As you eat more and more variety of foods, you’ll find that some foods leave a much bigger smell residue than others. Some popular culprits are asparagus, baked beans, broccoli, cabbage, eggs, garlic, onions, peanut butter, and most seafood. Illness, diarrhea, and some vitamins and medications can make the odor more extreme as well. Some foods act as neutralizers, like yogurt, parsley, cranberry and orange juice, tomato juice, and buttermilk.

Gas is part of the ostomy package, the same way it was part of the full digestive system package. Often just after surgery, you’ll feel a lot of uncomfortable and painful gas trying to pass. It can be noisy and embarrassing, but should quiet down as your body heals. Usually the foods that gave you gas before you had your ostomy will still give you gas. Some popular gas producing culprits include alcohol, beans, soy, cabbage, carbonation, cauliflower, cucumbers, drinking through a straw, dairy, gum, nuts, onions, radishes, swallowing air.

You can try to prevent gas by eating regularly, even if it’s a small amount. If you got a long period of time without eating, your small intestine will still be functioning but won’t have anything to digestive which results in gas and a watery discharge. Now you have an excuse for a midnight snack if you want one. Eating slowly helps too, because you swallow less air.

Most manufacturers offer ostomy pouches with filters to filter out the gas without letting the smell through. It’s a great idea that’s still a work in progress. Many filters get clogged up when water touches them (in the shower), or when stool touches them. Putting a sticker over the filter when you’re in the shower can help prolong the life of the filter. If you can invent a filter that works regardless of liquids and other substance touching it, you’ll have found your gold mine!

You can muffle the gas by putting your hand over your ostomy and pressing lightly. As you get acquainted with your ostomy, you’ll start to recognize different sensations and know if/when you might have some gas coming. You usually get some notice before you hear the gas come out so it shouldn’t startle you too much every time. Sometimes it even tickles a little.