An ostomy bag for health, beauty and function

We look back at some impactful design from a UK graduate who sought to combat stigma in health care.

For the the 2016 New Designers Exhibit in London, Brunel University graduate Stephanie Monty designed a colostomy bag geared toward "intimate occasions". The lingerie and tattoo-inspired, silicone colostomy pouches address an aspect rarely considered in their production: aesthetic.

Talking to Dezeen, Monty said, "There are over 250, 000 ostomates in the UK alone and despite a wide range of highly-advanced medical appliances, outstanding issues with their functionality and especially their aesthetics merely compound the social stigma surrounding the subject."

An ostomy bag for health, beauty and function

Necessary after patients have undergone ostomy procedures, the bags collect waste from the colon or the bladder through an opening in the stomach. Despite a global movement encouraging the view of such disabilities as normal and beautiful, the stigma surrounding its use means that issues with its design are often ignored or receive limited attention. It was Monty's family's personal struggle with Crohn's Disease - an incurable condition that causes the inflammation of the digestive tract - that inspired her creation.

While traditional colostomy bags can be ill-fitting and cause the wearer to develop skin rashes and infections, Monty's use of silicone and her inclusion of antibacterial materials introduces a degree of flexibility and comfort to the product. The pouches are markedly less obtrusive than standard ones and come in a range of shades to better match a variety of skin tones.

Monty is in search of collaborators and investors to further develop her prototype.

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