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Changing your urostomy pouch

Urostomy pouches are special bags that are used to collect urine after bladder surgery. The pouch attaches to the skin around your stoma, the hole that urine drains from. Another name for a pouch or bag is an appliance.

You will need to change your urostomy pouch often.

When to change the pouch

Most urostomy pouches need to be changed 1 to 2 times a week. It is important to follow a schedule for changing your pouch. Do not wait until it leaks because urine leaks can harm your skin.

You may need to change your pouch more often:

  • During the summer
  • If you live in a warm, humid area
  • If you have scars or oily skin around your stoma
  • If you play sports or are very active

Always change your pouch if there are signs that it is leaking. Signs include:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Changes in the appearance of the stoma or the skin around it

Changing your pouch

Always have a clean pouch on hand. Using a clean pouch will help prevent infections in your urinary system.

You can decide whether it is easier to sit, stand, or lie down when you change your pouch. Choose a position that allows you to see your stoma well.

Urine may dribble from your open stoma when you change the pouch. You can stand over a toilet or use rolled up gauze or paper towels below your stoma to absorb the urine.

When you remove the old pouch, push down on your skin to loosen it. Do not pull the pouch off your skin. Before you put the new pouch in place:

When you put the new pouch in place:

  • Carefully place the opening of the pouch over your stoma. Having a mirror in front of you may help you center the pouch correctly.
  • The pouch opening should be 1/8 inch larger than your stoma.
  • Some pouches are comprised of two parts: the wafer or flange, which is a plastic ring that adheres to the skin around the stoma, and a separate pouch that attaches to the flange. With a two piece system, the separate parts can be changed at different intervals.

Alternative Names

Urinary pouch; Urinary appliance


Nettina SM. Renal and urinary disorders. In: Lippincott Manual of Nursing Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010;chap 21.

Incontinent urostomy: community care, follow-up and complications. In: Geng V, Cobussen-Boekhorst H, Fillingham S, Holroyd S, Kiesbye B, Vahr S. Incontinent urostomy. Arnhem (The Netherlands): European Association of Urology Nurses (EAUN); 2009: 19-65.

Update Date 6/2/2014

Updated by: Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.