COVID-19 and Ostomates: Underlying Condition and Risk?


Are ostomates classified as having an underlying condition if they are being treated for COVID-19? Are we more at risk? I think not, but I'm curious as to how the medical professionals feel about this.


Hello MOST52. 

I would think this will depend on where the ostomate lives and what sort of service the medical professions provide. Many people with ostomies do already have other underlying conditions, so the question presumably would not apply to them. I also think that it might depend on how long it was since the person had the stoma operation. The nearer that is, the more 'at-risk' they may be deemed. The reasons they had the stoma would also come into play, as people who had their stoma because of cancer etc. may well be deemed as having an underlying condition, and those who are taking anti-immune medication should definitely be viewed as being 'at-risk'. 

My doctor thinks I am in an 'at-risk' category, simply because of my age and gender. They seemed to be more important than the fact that I have heart and breathing problems. Who knows what other medics might say on the same issues.  The UK government seems to have different guidelines on who is and is not deemed to be at-risk, but their approach may be guided by which way the wind is blowing on any particular day.

Best wishes


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Hi Most,

I think Bill nailed depends. For those who have an ostomy because of IBD, i.e. Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis, they are probably taking immunosuppressives, even if in remission. That being said, there's a good indicator of one's immune system and if it is deficient that's done in routine bloodwork called a CBC, or a Complete Blood Count. A CBC simply looks at your numbers of white blood cells and antibodies to see if anything is amiss. But talk to your doc in case I'm oversimplifying it. Everyone is different with different no guarantees.




Hi, Most.

I'm an ileostomate of a little over 3 years due to Ulcerative Colitis. Besides having been on prednisone (steroid) for a major U.C. flare in 2011, I have been on no immunosuppressants since then - including since my ostomy surgery.

A couple of my O'mates (one, an ileostomate since 2008) are very certain that we ostomates are immune-compromised. I would tend to agree with them since a major part of my immune system - the colon - is now gone. But, I have yet to see anything from the medical establishment.



Hi everyone,

This forum is excellent. I was going to post the same question. Are we at higher risk? Like explained by the others, we are all different: ages, time since surgery, type of ostomy, and levels of severity. I tried to find out yesterday and was advised by the GPs to look at the UK government website. Here's what it says...

You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:

have had an organ transplant
are having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy
are having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer
are having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)
have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma)
have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
have been told by a doctor you have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, or severe COPD)
have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)
are taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
have a serious heart condition and are pregnant
are an adult with Down's syndrome
are an adult who is having dialysis or has severe (stage 5) long-term kidney disease
have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgment and an assessment of your needs

Mmm... yeah

Organ transplant... not part removed!



It's 3 months only since I had my ileostomy and am on blood thinners for a blood clot on my left lower lung. Also, the hospital is still unable to fully diagnose the cause: Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis... yeah

So breathing is not the same at times. I'm supposed to come off this treatment in 2 weeks. I am assuming that, yes, I am at risk.

Kind regards.

How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Hi OstoMorgan,

Ding! Ding! You win!!! Yes, you have assumed correctly... you are at risk. If you get the virus or just some symptoms... get to the ER immediately. The worst thing you can do is wait. The earlier you catch it, the better your prognosis! That goes for anyone immunocompromised or that has any type of lung issues.

Stay safe everyone...