After your surgery, one of the big questions may be: how and who do I tell about my ostomy?Read more
Having an ostomy needn't stop you from travelling or start planning a holiday a few months after your surgeryRead more
After surgery, it’s natural to want to get back to your everyday life as soon as you can. Going back to work may be part of that and, with a bit of planning, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be possible.Read more
Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing is that you are comfortable with your decision. You may want to explain that you had major surgery because of a serious illness and now wear an ostomy pouch. This often leaves few other questions to be asked and people will see that you have a straightforward attitude towards your condition..
Family and friends:
Being open and honest with the people close to you can help you get back to the life you had before your stoma surgery. In the beginning, it’s important for the people closest to you to understand that although you are back home, recovery from major surgery will take time.
If you have young children or grandchildren you may feel that they are too young to understand. However, children tend to cope well if they are given the information in a simple way. Children will often pick up on secrets and hiding the truth from them can sometimes make them think a situation is more serious than it really is.
Many people are concerned about telling work colleagues. And just like with family and friends, who you tell and what you tell them is entirely up to you. However it’s usually advisable to ensure that at least one person knows you have an ostomy. Then, in case there are any problems or issues, you will have someone to talk to.
Having an ostomy shouldn't stop you from traveling. You may, however, need a bit of time to adjust to having an ostomy and feel ready to travel. Start by taking short trips, and see how it goes from there.
Whether you are traveling by car, ferry, train or plane, it’s important to be well prepared. Pack a small, travel changing bag and keep plenty of extra pouches and any other supplies you may need with you.
If you are flying, make sure you pack plenty of supplies to take with you on the flight and for while you’re away, plus extra for contingencies. Divide up your supplies in different bags just in case your luggage is misplaced or your flight is delayed. Don’t forget that scissors aren’t permitted in carry-on luggage, so cut all of your barriers to fit your stoma before you fly.
Don’t be concerned about your pouch expanding due to the change in cabin pressure. Ostomy pouches have been designed and tested to withstand pressure changes.
Before you travel abroad, check your travel insurance policy to see how your condition and circumstances are covered while away.
In warmer climates, you may perspire more and thus need to change your pouch more frequently. Always make sure your skin is completely dry before applying a new pouch to ensure a good secure fit. If necessary, use a hairdryer to dry the area – but be careful not to have the heat setting too hot.
You may also be at increased risk of diarrhea or dehydration. Drink plenty of water, and consider bringing medicine to treat diarrhea, just in case.
Once you are on vacation, remember that you can still do all of the same activities you did before, and relax and enjoy yourself.
After surgery, it’s entirely possible for most people to go back to work. But when and how you do this really depends on how you feel, the type of work you do, and the stoma operation you had.
Talk to your employer and discuss your options as soon as possible. It may be possible to return to work part-time; this could be particularly helpful when you first go back as you may still feel tired and need time to get used to new routines.
Try it out:
A few weeks before you go back, do a few trial runs where you dress and plan your day as if you were going to work. Think about your diet and when and how many times a day you may need to change or empty your pouch. This will help you to establish routines and plan your day accordingly. Most importantly, it will make you feel prepared.
It's one thing to prepare meals at home. But what if you eat in the restaurant or have something delivered? Here you will find tips on how to prepare properly and what you need to consider.Read more
It's important to socialize. Don't let ostomy hold you back in your social life – enjoy life with friends and family.Read more
A stoma can affect your body image, but it does not have to affect the relationship with your partner or any pregnancy. Continue reading for easy, practical advice on living with an ostomy.Read more
Perhaps this seems like a giant step to you. But there is no reason why you shouldn't eat in a restaurant.
You can always contact the restaurant to prepare before you go. And many restaurants put their menu online, so you can always find out what's available before you visit the restaurant.
Maybe first choose a restaurant that you already know well. You don't have to be overly cautious, but you should be practical. Order what you feel like, but consider how you react to certain foods. Do not hesitate to ask the waitress which ingredients are used.
If possible, you can also order dishes that you have already tried at home. This will let you know how you are likely to respond. In turn, if you eat more and more different foods gradually, your concerns about eating out will decrease. Even if it is part of your life to drink alcohol at home, it is better to take it slowly. So a small beer is better than a big one. In this way, your body can get used to alcohol more easily and possible reactions can be reduced or even avoided altogether.
After ostomy surgery, it is natural that you are worried about the appearance of the body. It may take time to get used to the physical changes and you may feel less attractive as a result. It can be a challenge but it is important to accept it as part of who you are.
What happens to the intimacy?
Intimacy and a normal love relationship can be resumed after ostomy surgery. How and when depends on the type of surgery you have undergone. Impotence and / or discomfort may occur if the rectum or bladder has been removed (women may also be affected).
It is important to talk to your partner and not feel too self-conscious because of the surgery. It is also important to talk to your ostomy nurse who is used to discussing the concerns you are experiencing and can help you in many ways. There are also several handy tips and tricks to cope with everyday obstacles. For example, you can customize lingerie so that they are worn as a tube around the body and cover the bag, or to use mini bags for intimate situations.
Can I have children?
In short, yes. Having a stoma does not prevent a woman from having a baby throughout her pregnancy and giving birth normally. As the stomach grows, the stoma will simply follow the shape of the abdomen as it changes. In later stages of pregnancy you may need to use a mirror when changing your bag. The delivery takes place in the normal way.
Talk about it
There is nothing safer than someone who really understands what you are experiencing. Through your local patient association you can meet other stoma surgeons and get useful tips, inspiration and personal support.
Read what you should consider in the first two to six weeks after the operation and also after your complete recovery - we name a few tips and tricks!Read more
As with everyone else, the drinks you consume affect the digestive tract. Here you can find tips for people with ileostomy and colostomy.Read more
You may have some concerns if you are travelling by plane – what do you do in the security check? Can the bag explode under air pressure? Or what about noises?Read more
In general, people with a stoma can eat and drink what they want, unless the surgeon or stomatotherapist has given them any other recommendations. But just like before the operation, some dishes are easier to digest after the operation than others. And immediately after the procedure, it can be helpful to pay special attention to the body's signals.
New research has shown that the faster you eat “right” food after the procedure, the faster your digestive system will get going again. Basically: Talk to your doctor about your meal plan after the ostomy.
Are there dishes that I am not allowed to eat?
There is no reason to avoid certain foods. But it's good to know that different foods affect stool properties in different ways. If you are unsure about a particular food, try a small amount first. If you don't have any problems - enjoy it! We recommend that you keep a food diary where you can record what you have eaten and what the effects are.
Don't be afraid of new dishes - but everything with reason. You may notice that certain foods cause more bloating than others. And even if these foods are not bad for you, you may want to reduce them a little. The same applies to chewing gum.
Just experiment and discard what is not good for you - you will find a balanced diet that suits you. Some foods, especially fiber-rich foods, can lead to regular constipation, in which undigested foods block the intestines. Chewing thoroughly can help, but constipation can be a serious problem. Read more about constipation further down this page.
You can still eat the famous "five servings" every day! The skins of some types of fruit and vegetables are quite firm. Therefore, it is best to peel them to avoid problems. This is especially true for potato and apple skins. And maybe you just have to prepare fruit and vegetables in a new way. with vegetables in the form of soups or fruit as fruit smoothies?
If vegetables get a little softer while cooking, this is also helpful. And root vegetables can be used to make mashed or puree very well.
A bad experience should never result in you giving up a particular food. Only in the case of repeated problems should you perhaps better remove the "wrongdoer" from the menu.
And please remember: everyone reacts individually. What is good for one person does not necessarily have to fit for another.
* After consulting your doctor.
If nothing speaks against it, you should consume at least two liters of fluid ** a day. This also prevents constipation. But you may be wondering if you can still enjoy your morning coffee, a glass of wine, or carbonated drinks.
Here are a few pointers:
You can lose fluid especially after the procedure due to the relatively high amount of stool (approx. 1,500 ml). If nothing speaks against it, it is recommended to drink at least two liters of water daily plus the corresponding amount of fluid lost through the stool.
Three to twelve weeks after the procedure, the small intestine gradually gets used to absorbing more fluid and you may not have to compensate for the loss of fluid as you did in the beginning. Patients with ileostomy lose two to three times more fluid and electrolytes through stool than others.
** After consulting your doctor and if there is no disease that requires volume reduction.
When booking your ticket: it might be a good idea to book a seat near the toilet as it might help take away some of your concerns and make you feel more confident as well.
You can bring as much as you can in your hand luggage within the requirements of the airline, but since you will not be allowed to bring scissors in your hand luggage we recommend that you cut all your barriers to the right size before you fly.
The security scanner might detect your pouch, but you do not have to show your pouch, and security should not ask you to remove clothing to expose it or let them touch it. You may be asked to rub your hand against the pouch on the outside of your clothes, but that should be the extent of the examination. You can always show them your travel certificate, which explains your condition, the medical supplies you are carrying and why you might need support and privacy.
There is a slight risk that the pressure will cause the pouch to balloon. If this should happen all you need to do is go into the bathroom and take out the air. And remember that just as often ballooning is caused by something you ate or drank – so when you're flying be extra careful with carbonated drinks. If you are a little self-conscious about noise from the pouch, you will be pleasantly surprised by how noisy an airplane cabin is.
Warm climate and sunscreen can affect the adhesion, but help is here - there are a few things you can do to make the barrier stick better.Read more
Going swimming can be a big thing when you have an ostomy – what to wear? Will the barrier stick? Read a few tips here.Read more
The fear of smell from the ostomy bag is a well-known problem for most people who have an ostomy. However, the reality is that most ostomy bags prevent all odor from coming out.Read more
If the climate is warm enough to make you perspire more than usual, the barrier might lose adhesion and you may need to change your pouch more frequently.
Make sure your skin is completely dry before you apply a new barrier for good adhesion. It can be a bit tricky if the weather is very hot and humid – if drying your skin is difficult, you can use a hairdryer on low heat to dry the area (but be careful that it does not get too hot and keep it away from the stoma itself).
Apply sunscreen after you put on your barrier, as the lotion could affect the baseplate and make it harder to stick. Read about applying sunscreen in the 'use sunscreen' section.
We recommend that your supplies are stored in a cool place – do not leave your ostomy products e.g. in the car for long periods during hot weather, since the heat may damage the adhesion.
Talk to your stoma nurse – and get the products you need
When spending time in a warmer climate you might need a few more products than usually. For some people a skin barrier that helps the adhesive stick better can be very helpful, and if it is the edges not sticking properly an elastic tape can be a possible solution. Some benefit from using a antiperspirant on the skin in the area to be covered by the adhesive. Or try our new Brava® Protective Ring for additional security.
The most important is that you wear something that makes you feel good – feel as you. Some people do not mind showing their bag when going to the beach, whereas some prefer covering up. Do what makes you feel the best. Unfortunately, buying specialty swimwear is no guarantee of a good fit. On the other hand, you might be able to find regular swimwear that fits your need perfectly.
On the beach, a sarong or wrap can be a great way to gracefully cover up without feeling out of place.
Always make sure that the barrier sticks properly before going swimming – give it some time after applying. Be aware that the water can affect the adhesion negatively, so make sure to change your product more frequently if needed. For some people it can be helpful to use accessories when going swimming – using a skin barrier that helps the adhesive stick better can be very helpful, and if it’s the edges not sticking properly an elastic tape can be a possible solution.
It is always a good idea to talk to your ostomy nurse if you have any questions. You can also contact one of our customer service representatives at 1800 102 0550.
Odor, or the fear of odor from the ostomy bag, is a well-known problem for most people who have an ostomy. However, the reality is that most ostomy bags are made of material that prevents all odors from coming out, and that most also have a filter that removes odors from intestinal gases. However, if the bag is not changed often enough, the filter can be blocked by feces, which can cause odor.
If you use a disposable bag and you do not clean the outlet properly after emptying, odor can easily escape into the environment. Thoroughly clean the outlet to avoid this.
Staying in the shade is an effective way to reduce sun exposure - especially between 10AM and 4PM when the sun is at the highest point.Read more
Many believe that they can no longer exercise or perform physical activities when they have an ostomy. There are many different types of exercise - find one that you like.Read more
Your stoma does not prevent you from wearing certain types of clothing - the most important thing is that you wear something that makes you feel good.Read more
Staying in the shade is an effective way to reduce sun exposure. You can use trees or built shade structures, or bring your own umbrella to the park, beach, etc.!
Whatever you use for shade, make sure it casts a dark shadow. Though being in the shade it is still recommended that you use other protection - such as clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.
These guidelines are not exhaustive and you should always seek advice and guidance from professional if you have any doubts.
Exercise is healthy and there are few physical limitations to participate in recreational activities after receiving a colostomy or ileostomy.
Once you have recovered from the surgery, you can return to most of the activities you did before, sports, gardening, etc. However, we recommend that you contact your doctor or ostomy therapist before resuming / starting these activities again.
If necessary, the stoma can be protected with a special protective accessory, contact your stoma therapist.
Most often, the biggest challenge when participating in various sports is psychological. Unfortunately, the experience of leaks, or the fear that the bag will leak, causes some people to avoid sports activities.
When you participate in team sports, you rarely have the opportunity to shower individually. Some people with an ostomy may find it very difficult to undress in front of others and thereby show their ostomy. Teammates can notice this which can lead to curious questions, but it should not limit your willingness to participate.
You can probably dress like you did before your surgery. The most important thing is that the clothes do not prevent the stool from falling into the bag.
The stoma must be positioned so that it does not get in the way of the type of clothing you usually use. In most cases, this means that it must be placed below the waist, where it would otherwise be subjected to friction from the waistband / belt. Tight waists over the stoma should be avoided as they can push against the bag and cause leakage or even prevent the stool from leaving the stoma.
For men, it may be more practical to use braces instead of a belt, but some may still prefer to use braces only when they have a blazer or similar at the top.
Clothes are a part of my identity, so I worried about what I could wear after my operation. Today, I still dress the way I want.
I was so glad to get back to work, it meant a lot to me. At first I worried about my ostomy appliance, but now I’m just focused on the job.
I lost 35 kilos when I was ill. But I have put it all back on. I feel determined, I’m training regularly and I’m now a specialist personal trainer.
Our Care programs, designed for people living with an ostomy, offer straight-forward advice, personalized support and inspiration. Care is available when you need it. Our dedicated regional language speaking CARE team of advisors and specialists are here to help you live a better life by helping you do more of the things you love, so you can be you!1800 102 0550 Enroll Now MyOstomy App
Don't let ostomy surgery keep you home
Though most things are easier in the comfort of home, it is really important to get back to living and enjoying all the things that you were doing before your surgery. That includes going out and socializing with friends and family.
Will it be awkward?
It is only natural to be concerned about having to explain your situation to people you don't know. But when meeting new people, remember that you do not owe them an explanation of your condition, and it is totally up to you if and when you choose to tell them.
Have a short explanation ready
Sometimes, preparing a short and confident explanation will help put your mind at ease even if you don't ever use it. For instance, you could simply explain briefly that you went through a serious illness, and because of that you had major surgery and now wear an ostomy pouch.
Avoid being too technical, and try to be open to questions - without over-sharing. Don't feel you have to explain details of your surgery even if they ask.
What about family and friends?
If you are open and honest with the people close to you, it can help you get back to the life you had before your ostomy surgery. It is completely normal if you still feel uncomfortable talking about it right after surgery. Keep in mind that opening up and sharing can be helpful to you and to them.
How to involve your partner
If you have a partner, it is good to have an open and honest discussion socializing with friends and acquaintances. Involving your partner in how you would like to explain your condition if and when you choose to, will help both of you handle the situation more naturally.