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Living with an ostomy

Here you'll find information about life with an ostomy 3+ months after surgery, as you become more experienced. Read guidance on how to keep your skin around the stoma healthy, as well as useful online tools for ensuring you still have the right product and troubleshooting any problems you might be having such as stoma bag leakage or sore skin around your stoma.

Skip back to 'Before ostomy surgery' (preparing for surgery)
Skip back to 'After ostomy sugery' (0-3 months after surgery)

Ostomy Self-assessment Tools

Find solutions for ostomy issues such as ostomy bag leakage or irritated skin.

When you have an ostomy it's not unusual to experience issues such as ostomy bag leakage and irritated skin. However, most often they can be solved with little adjustments in your products and ostomy care routines. Our Ostomy Self-assessment Tools will support you in finding the solution that is right for you.

Find the Mio that fits your body

Bodies change, so an appliance that once fit correctly may not continue to do so. Finding the right appliance for your current body profile is important to get the right fit. Try taking the BodyCheck to see if you are using the best appliance for your body.

Travelling with an ostomy

Request your free travel card, which provides info to airport security about your condition and medical supplies you carry.

Adjusting to life with an ostomy

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Staying away from home and holidays

Having an ostomy needn't stop you from travelling or start planning a holiday a few months after your surgery Tips for travelling with an ostomy
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Holidays and travelling with an ostomy

Travelling
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.

Flying
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.

Traveling abroad
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.

Vacation tips:

  • Store stoma pouches in a cool place
  • Use bottled drinking water to change your pouch when out and about
  • Apply suntan lotion after you’ve put your pouch on, as the creams may affect the adhesive
  • Seal and empty used pouches and dispose of them with normal trash
  • If you feel a bit self-conscious about leaving pouches in your hotel room, use public trash cans
  • Before leaving for your vacation, find out where you can get professional healthcare assistance at your destination, just in case.
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Going back to work

Going back to work

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. Back to work after stoma surgery
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Going back to work

Thinking ahead
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.

Tips

  • Speak to your employer as soon as you can
  • If possible, build up your working hours gradually
  • Check the available changing facilities at work
  • Pack a small changing bag that you can take discreetly to the bathroom
  • Do trial runs before you start work, thinking about diet and clothing etc.
  • If your company provides healthcare insurance, check whether your condition affects the policy
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At Coloplast we put people first when designing and developing products. We also focus on people when talking about our products. For our commercial material we are looking for new models that use Coloplast products. 

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We're social!

Being part of an active community is a great way of staying in touch, sharing ideas and supporting others living with an ostomy. It's also somewhere we at Coloplast are participating more and more.

We are actively participating on social media and regularly take part in patient association days, where you can meet us face to face. To access our social media links, please click on the links below and follow. We look forward to hearing your views!

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