An ostomy involves removing a damaged or diseased portion of your intestinal or urinary tract and surgically creating a permanent abdominal opening that allows waste to leave your body. Since the normal excretory function is no longer available to you, you need to wear an ostomy bag into which the waste can pass.

You may feel self-conscious about your ostomy, particularly at first. Fortunately, however, for the most part you can resume your usual activities after ostomy. Obviously, you will have to make some minor adjustments, but for the most part, your life can return to normal even with an ostomy.

Supplies

You should only use ostomy care products that are made specifically for that purpose. The only exceptions are closure clips. In an emergency situation, you can use binder clips or rubber bands. Otherwise, keep enough supplies on hand at all times to last you for two weeks, and always carry an extra ostomy bag with you.

Clothing

Certain types of clothes, such as those with tight waistbands, may be less comfortable to wear with an ostomy. You should be aware of that when choosing an outfit. Apart from that, however, an ostomy shouldn’t prevent you from wearing whatever clothes you want. This includes bathing suits and body-hugging outfits.

Travel

If you are flying on a plane, don’t put ostomy products or other medical supplies in your checked luggage. Keep them close in your carry-on. This way, you will still have what you need even if your luggage is lost, stolen, damaged, or delayed.

Bathing

You can remove the ostomy bag while bathing, but you do not have to. You should be aware that, during the time your bag is removed, you body may keep eliminating waste. With that in mind, the choice is up to you.

Exercise/Sports

You can return to any physical activity that your doctor approves after your ostomy. However, you may need to take extra precautions to avoid injuring the stoma, or opening created by the procedure.

You can use a pouch cover to absorb perspiration and keep you more comfortable during exercise. You can also use a special belt, binder, or stretch underwear to support your ostomy bag and prevent leaking.

Work

In many cases, you can return to your regular job once you’ve recovered from surgery. However, if your job involves manual labor, you may need workplace modifications to protect your stoma. Discuss these with your doctor and supervisor. Your employer must make reasonable accommodations for you.

Your life will change somewhat after an ostomy. However, you will likely find that most of the changes are minor and the important things will remain the same.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "What To Expect After Ostomy," in Medicalopedia, October 22, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/7891/what-to-expect-after-ostomy/].