Ostomy Help

Living with an Ostomy Bag

An ostomy is an artificial opening created via surgery that’s often required when your bowel or bladder doesn’t work correctly. The surgery allows for waste to leave the body through a stoma, which is a bag that’s attached to the abdominal wall. These are either temporary actions, or permanent.

If it is a temporary procedure, usually, you’ll get a colostomy bag that collects your bodily waste through something called a stoma.  For most people, the stool is usually firm, so they give a closed pouch for this. The stoma might be liquid in form, which makes drainable pouches a more preferential option.

There are many bag care accessories you can get too, from deodorizers to skin protecting accessories, which will help make you feel more comfortable, and of course more secure.

The Lifestyle changes

The biggest thing to learn, is that there will be lifestyle changes.  These are pretty discreet bags, so you can still do a lot even after having colostomy surgery.

These usually go undetected and most don’t realize that you have one until you tell them. You should be able to wear the same clothes as you did before, since they lay flat against your abdomen. There is also an ostomy belt to help you feel more comfortable, and offer extra support. If you still feel awkward, talk to your doctor or nurse about the concerns that you have.

How about Traveling?

You can travel, but you should make sure that you do plan this. You should make sure that you eliminate the appliance charges and the supplies that you need, and pack these extra supplies, and also be aware of the food intake.  You should be careful of where seatbelts are put, since that’s usually where these bags are located.

When it comes to flying, you should have them either in your checked bag, or carry-on luggage. You should ensure that you’re prepared, and in the event the luggage gets lost, or you have concerns about it, you should check the TSA’s website for any information about assisting travelers with disabilities, or even medical conditions as well.

What about Going Back to Work

If you’re someone who took off work, going back can be rough, but depending on the recovery, it could take several months before you’re ready to return.

You may not be able to handle heavy working hours for a long time, so make sure you’re not overdoing it, and only gradually improve them, and you should inform your employer that you won’t’ be able to lift heavy or a bit, or you may need more bathroom breaks.  You don’t have to even tell the people you work with about this, it can be a personal thing for you.

Colostomy and Intimacy

Some people get a bit nervous because they think colostomy bags get in the way of sex and physical activities. But, you should try to avoid positions that place weight there. It can cause erectile dysfunction in some men, but Viagra can help with it. But, you should talk to your doctor before you choose to get it.

It can affect your self-confidence and your sex life, and it may take months to rebuild this, but, you can always talk to your partner.  Sexual activity shouldn’t affect the stoma, or loosen the pouch.  You can also get special ostomy underwear, or even a support belt, and even changing the appliance or using a small stoma cap may be the better option for you.

Living with this can be awkward, but it is possible.