While it certainly requires a lifestyle adjustment, ostomies are becoming increasingly common medical solutions to a variety of conditions and injuries. With their increased usage comes huge advancements in care and dignified solutions for those who use these products. 

We’ve pulled four of the most asked questions on Google about ostomy care and answered them below. Read on to learn what living with an ostomy means for patients and discover discrete accommodations, bag covers and supportive solutions for patients in Canada.

Who needs an ostomy bag?

In short, anyone could. An ostomy is a life saving procedure after which an ostomy bag collects stool (or urine) through an opening called a stoma, when it is otherwise unable to pass naturally through one’s anus or bladder. There are several reasons why an ostomy bag is used, regardless of age. According to Ostomy.org, this need is most commonly due to:

  • Birth defects 
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Incontinence and
  • Incidents and issues where there is severe abdominal and pelvic trauma such as accidents

While this is a lifelong adjustment for some, others only require an ostomy bag temporarily during a period of recovery following intestinal surgery, usually three to nine months according to the Cleveland Clinic. ​​An ostomy may be used if particular organs, or sections of them, have to be removed.

What is an ostomy bag used for?

There are various kinds of ostomy, resulting from the various different types of stomas (surgical opening) and 3 main solutions (as pictured below) are the most common:  

  • A colostomy is an opening in your abdomen to you large intestine and the subsequent bag collects feces.
  • An ileostomy is an opening in the small intestine. This stoma is usually a result of removing a portion of either the large or small intestine.
  • An urostomy is the equivalent in one’s bladder and the subsequent ostomy bag collects urine.  

Source: Hollister

Where can I order ostomy supplies?

Adjusting to life with an ostomy is never an easy task, especially in the beginning. As a pharmacy with specialized ostomy services, we are very familiar with the physical and social discomfort resulting from the procedure. There are more and more businesses working hard to create dignified solutions for hiding, using and even stylizing ostomy bag covers for patients in Canada, to ease this adjustment into your daily life.  

At Lakeside Medicine Centre Pharmacy in Kelowna we recognize these same challenges and offer virtual ostomy services where you can privately and discreetly schedule a virtual appointment with one of Lakeside Medical Centre Pharmacy’s specialized nurses to discuss and demonstrate ostomy care products, and well as help find the right tools and accessories that will work best for you based on your needs and preferences.

Are ostomy bags covered by insurance?

In British Columbia, most, if not all, ostomy supplies are covered. To those eligible, PharmaCare covers ostomy supplies for patients who have had bladder or bowel surgeries that resulted in a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy, requiring an external pouch. With the exception of dispensing fees, PharmaCare covers most supplies up to the regular retail price.  Learn more about BC PharmaCare eligibility.

Ostomy support in Kelowna

Living with an ostomy can be overwhelming. In addition to our online virtual services, Lakeside Medicine Centre Pharmacy hosts two distinct events in Kelowna to help bring together and support the Okanagan Ostomy Community. Events include guest speakers, networking activities and additional supportive services and vendors. Learn more about Okanagan Ostomy support, supplies and events here.