Ileostomy vs. Colostomy Bag: Differences and Lifestyle Adaptation

Do you want to compare the differences between an ileostomy vs. colostomy bag? Discussing this subject requires you to consider when you may need either of these bags.

To handle specific medical conditions, your healthcare team may sometimes need to make an ostomy – or a small hole in your abdomen that allows urine or stool to leave the body. After the procedure, you may require an ostomy bag. Depending on the treatment, doctors may recommend an ileostomy or a colostomy bag.

The results of either a colostomy or an ileostomy vary. Consider these differences in more detail and learn more about stealth belts by contacting our team at Stealth Belt. You may reach us if you call (800) 237-4491.

Surgeries That Require an Ostomy Bag

Ileostomy and colostomy bags are both types of ostomy bags. Several surgeries may leave you in need of one of these bags, and the bags are named after these surgeries. For example, you may require an ostomy bag after the following procedures.


Colostomies represent one of the better-known ostomy procedures. Doctors redirect a portion of your large intestines out of your abdomen when performing a colostomy. During this surgery, doctors create an opening called a stoma.

Doctors generally place a colostomy stoma in the lower portion of your abdomen, to the left side. The stoma allows your body to expel waste products. Your body produces formed and firm stool through a colostomy stoma, and you catch this output in a colostomy bag.

There are four types of colostomy, including the:

  • Ascending
  • Transverse
  • Descending
  • Sigmoid

Each type of colostomy above results in a stoma and the need for a colostomy bag.


Some patients receive an ileostomy instead of a colostomy. Ileostomies form a stoma that directs waste products from your small intestine. Waste can leave your body in a looser state if you have an ileostomy, which means you may need to change your ileostomy bag more frequently than a colostomy bag.


Finally, some patients receive a urostomy instead of either an ileostomy or a colostomy. Urostomies redirect your urine instead of your stool. They also form a stoma from the small intestine. Urostomies generally result in a stoma that expels liquid waste on your abdomen’s right side.

Types of Ostomy Bags

When considering ileostomy vs. colostomy bags, you may want to review different kinds of ostomy bag styles. You have several options to choose from after an ostomy operation. Your choices may depend upon whether you only require an ostomy bag for a short period or if you require a permanent stoma.

Common examples of ostomy bags include those below.

One-Piece Bags

In many cases, you can get a one-piece ostomy pouch. This kind of pouch has a skin barrier attached to the ostomy bag. They often feel more discreet than other options, but they can cause more discomfort, which you should consider before making a purchase.

Two-Piece Bags

You may also consider a two-piece ostomy pouch. These bags offer more comfort because the skin barrier is separate from the ostomy bag. You may wear the barrier for up to four days before changing it. The separation makes it easy to change your ostomy bag.

Pre-Cut Bags

You can order a pre-made ileostomy or colostomy bag. These bags are designed to fit stomas of specific sizes and can work well if you know your stoma dimensions. However, an ill-fitting bag can lead to leaks.

Custom Bags

You may also order bags custom-designed to fit the size and shape of your stoma. Custom bags often reduce the odds of leaking and may prove more comfortable for you to wear in the long term. You can use these bags with either an ileostomy or a colostomy.

Differences Between Ileostomy and Colostomy Bags

In truth, the difference between ileostomy and colostomy bags depends more on how you use these products. You can purchase ostomy bags that work with stomas created by either colostomies or ileostomies.

In many cases, the bags themselves vary little in style or design, as they perform the same function regardless of the surgery you had. You want to order a bag that has the correct dimensions to fit your stoma.

Getting a custom ostomy bag can improve your comfort level, whether you had a colostomy or an ileostomy. Many patients decide to buy a belt to easily and comfortably keep their bags in place. These belts come with adjustable straps, and companies specifically design them to offer increased comfort.

Lifestyle Choices With Ostomy Bags

Generally, manufacturers design ostomy bags to lie flat most of the time. They cannot always remain flat, as they fill up over time with waste products. However, for the most part, they should not interfere with your clothing choices or styles.

You can even wear pantyhose or stretchy pants with an ostomy bag. Some companies provide ostomy bags that offer additional support features, making them more comfortable to wear under your clothing if you engage in athletic activities.

For example, a neoprene belt can provide increased support and allow you to engage in water sports without worrying about leaks. You may also seek a custom bag that provides hernia support or in colors that match your clothing. Some companies even sell bags that can handle double ostomies, offering you extra support so you can continue living your life in comfort.

You may receive instructions about caring for your stoma and pouch from your ostomy nurse or another medical professional. Keep all of these instructions in mind as you make a selection for your ileostomy or colostomy bag.

Decide on Your Ileostomy or Colostomy Bag

Ready to resolve the ileostomy vs. colostomy bag debate? These bags function in much the same way, and you should decide which to use based on the kind of surgery you received. You can find out more about stoma guards for ostomy from Stealth Belt. Our team offers a range of pre-made and custom-fitted ostomy bags. Call (800) 237-4491 to learn more.