Improving Lifestyle for Ostomy Patients

Be Free™ Odor Eliminating System

Each year, about 120,000 individuals end up with an ostomy after undergoing surgery to combat various diseases, including certain cancers, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis and a host of other conditions. This procedure results in an opening on the abdomen (called a stoma) that brings the intestine out through the abdominal wall, allowing waste to leave the body and collect in a disposable pouch attached to the skin. This is often a life-saving intervention, and for many people, it allows them to lead healthier, more productive lives.

Human Colon
Colon image

People with ostomies often face many difficulties. The ostomy pouch collects waste and needs to be emptied 4 to 6 times a day on average. For most, this drastic lifestyle change comes as a shock, with 16 to 26 percent of patients reporting emotional distress as a result, often in the form of anxiety and depression.

For many ostomates, their greatest fear is that others might notice their ostomy, particularly the smell. While ostomy pouches are discreet and odor-free, they produce a distinct smell when emptied. It’s a discomfort that can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life after surgery.

Cynthia Timms (BSN, RN, CWOCN) empathizes with that anxiety. Not only has she worked as a certified wound, ostomy, and continence nurse for much of her career, she received an ostomy in her early twenties due to Crohn’s disease. Immediately after the operation, she recalls being distressed, “I thought I was never going to go outside, work or have sex again.”

Generic Ostomy Illustration
Generic Ostomy Illustration

Although Timms leads a healthy and full life today, she acutely remembers that fear. It's part of the reason why she and her partners, Ronny Bracken and George Cavagnaro, developed an innovative system to eliminate ostomy odor.

Current deodorizers, primarily in liquid form, help reduce or mask odors coming from the pouch when patients empty them. But many popular products on the market today have significant problems: their effects can be short-lived, and the products are inconvenient to use, requiring many re-applications throughout the day to control odor. The bottles are often unwieldy and difficult to manage in tight spaces, resulting in stained clothes and wasted product. Additionally, the bottles may leak and are often bulky to carry around.

That’s where Timms’ team comes in. They’ve developed a patented two-pronged solution to the problem: 1) a new, highly effective liquid deodorant, and 2) an absorbent pod that provides extended release deodorant, thus reducing the number of deodorant applications necessary throughout the day. These deodorant pods provide odor eliminating protection even after patients have emptied their pouches multiple times, allowing them to Be FreeTM from products and odor.

Pilot testing of the innovative new product has yielded very positive results. Embarrassment and stress associated with pouch usage were significantly lower when subjects used the Extended Wear Carrier (EWC) technology (deodorizing pod). A majority of subjects reported less odor than usual when emptying their pouches, 56 % reported odor control lasting the entire day, and the number of ostomates who believed that emptying their pouches during the day adversely affects their social lives decreased by around 17 percent. Beyond the statistics, Timms has seen how the product affects patients first-hand. “One of them even recorded a jingle” about his excitement for the technology on an answering machine, Timms remembered fondly.

When asked about the future of treatment for patients with ostomies, Timms replied that she hoped one day ostomies would not have to exist at all. But until that day comes, the Be Free TM odor eliminating system has the potential to improve the quality of life for potentially hundreds of thousands of people.

Techids: 12069, 12070, 16058, 16059

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