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Colostomy pouch noise affects patient quality of life

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Colostomy pouch noise affects quality of life in the majority of patients with them but many fail to discuss the issue with specialist nurses, according to survey results.

The research assessed quality of life factors such as social life, relationships, holidays and work among 76 users of pouches and their partners. It was carried out by the Colostomy Association with sponsorship from the healthcare company Hollister.

A large proportion – almost 70% of respondents – stated they were conscious of the noise their pouch makes including almost 16% who said they notice it “a lot”.

As many as 40% are embarrassed by the noise of their pouch and 15% avoid going out in public in case people hear the noise. A fifth said pouch noise affected their sex life and 18% said it affected their relationships.

However, three-quarters of responders who were embarrassed by their pouch noise had not mentioned this problem to their specialist nurse. 

Specialist stoma nurse Rebecca Davenport said: “Many of the patients I meet have faced life threatening conditions which have resulted in the need for a colostomy. So not only do they have to come to terms with a serious illness and the impact this has on their life and the lives of their partners and families, but many also have psychological issues associated with their colostomy pouch, one of which is noise.

“I think many people feel that noise will be viewed as insignificant in the scale of things and are reluctant to discuss it with their nurse, but there are solutions we can offer them.  Pouch noise is an issue and people should not be afraid to ask for help.”

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