Drainable or Closed?: Choosing the Right Ostomy Pouch for Your Needs

drainable or closed ostomy pouch

When you first begin to use ostomy supplies, you may find that there are a lot of different types of products and accessories out there on the market today that can service your needs and even make your daily routine a little easier.

Depending on the type of ostomy you have (ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy), you may find yourself wondering which type of pouch is best for your individual preferences and needs. This post is intended to help shed some light on the differences between these two types of pouches, as well as their potential uses and benefits.

Drainable Pouch

drainable colostomy pouch

  • Drainable pouches are open-ended with some type of secure closure, such as a clamp, press and seal, velcro, etc., so that you can empty your pouch and reuse. For instance, Convatec Pouches, like the popular SUR-FIT® Natura drainable pouches, feature a wide tail-like opening for easy, safe emptying along with an Invisiclose® Lock-It-Pocket™ that rolls up to hide the tail-end opening. This closure type provides the security and comfort of a closed pouch, so you can feel confident about your drainable pouch staying secure and comfortable throughout the day.
  • This type of pouch is most suitable for collecting liquid, such as urine, or bowel movements that are more liquid in consistency (i.e. not fully formed or thick).
  • Does not require changing out as often as a closed pouch, so fewer pouches are used.
  • May be difficult to empty if your output is formed or of a thicker consistency.
  • Easy to empty and clean, prior to eventual disposal.
  • Ideally should be emptied when the pouch is about half-full.
  • The outlet/closure should be cleaned of any output that may remain on the pouch after each time it is emptied.

Who Does This Type of Pouch Work Best For?

The drainable pouch is typically best for those with an ileostomy or for those with more frequent discharge/output from their stoma throughout the day. Specialized pouches with closeable drainage taps/valves are available for those with urostomies as well. Drainable pouches may be a more comfortable, reliable option than continually changing out pouches and disposing of them.

Closed Pouch

  • Closed-end pouches are designed for one-time use only, so they must be removed and disposed of once they are full. closed end ostomy pouch
  • Cannot be emptied or reused, so you may use more product than if you were to use a drainable pouch. Typically, these are changed out once to three times a day, but the frequency is based entirely upon your individual needs and your healthcare professional’s recommendations.
  • Closed pouches are often preferred for activities such as swimming or intimate moments, just for the extra security of knowing there is no opening for any discharge to leave the pouch.
  • Most suitable for collecting fully formed bowel movements or output of a thicker consistency.
  • This style of pouch will need to be changed and disposed of even when away from home, so that is something to keep in mind when it comes time to dispose of your pouch.

Who Does This Type of Pouch Work Best For?

If your discharge is less frequent, or if your discharge is small enough that you would only have to change out your pouch once or twice a day.

Both are effective and good quality pouching systems that are sure to meet your needs, but the choice made is typically one of personal preference as well as the type/consistency of your output. Your prescribing healthcare professional is there to discuss these more in-depth with you and let you know which one may work best for your individual needs.

At 180 Medical, we have closed and disposable pouches, along with a wide array of wafers and barriers, adhesive removers, belts, and plenty of other high-quality products and accessories to choose from. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our friendly, trained Ostomy Specialists, who will be glad to work with you to find the right supplies for you.

Call Toll-Free (877) 688-2729

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About the Author
Jessica is the Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical and has been a part of the 180 family for over 9 years. In her downtime, she enjoys creative writing, making art, seeing new places, and spending time with her loved ones.