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Nursing study to test if honey can help stoma patients

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UK nurse researchers are leading a national study into whether or not stoma bags made with honey from New Zealand can reduce skin irritation.

Although most stoma bags include the gelling agent hydrocolloid, which acts as a barrier to protect the skin from bodily fluids and substances, some patients become sensitive to it and experience skin problems around the site of the opening at some stage.

“Honey is thought to help reduce the inflammation”

David Voegeli

To try and find a solution to the problem, researchers from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Southampton are investigating whether stoma products that contain manuka honey can prevent complications.

The team, led Dr David Voegeli, aim to recruit 30 healthy individuals with stomas to participate in the study.

Participants will trial both the standard and honey stomas over a period of eight weeks following a screening test to determine eligibility.

“At the moment, around 80% of people with stomas will experience skin problems,” said Dr Voegeli, associate professor of nursing in the university’s skin health research group.

University of Southampton

Nursing study to test if honey can help stoma patients

David Voegeli

He said: “Honey is thought to help reduce the inflammation that can cause skin problems and moisturises the skin, which can provide added protection.

“However, there is not any firm evidence to demonstrate this as of yet, so we are hoping this study will prove whether or not this is the case and help to ensure patients have access to the best option for them,” he added.

However, he noted that recruitment to the study had “been slow” and the team needed more patients to come forward so they could get the work underway and complete their assessment.

Anyone interested in taking part in the study or knows someone that might be can find out more by calling 023 8120 4989 or emailing

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The wheels go round! When I was an orthopaedic Ward sister in the 60's we had a patient admitted from another hospital with a dreadful wound exposing her hip replacement, sore,smelly and full of pus. We tried everything to no success. I had been given a book about herbal and old country remedies. In it it said that honey could heal so discussed this with the Consultant who said I could try anything! Over a period of weeks I applied honey (ordinary not even Manuka or pharma) covered with N/A dressing, lots of padding and it healed. Some of the old remedies passed down through the ages have obviously worked.

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