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Swimming with a stoma

Hi I am trying to contact any one who lives in the UK Blackpool area, to ask them about swimming pools sutable for us with a Stoma.
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Quite honestly, I swim all the time in a pool and at the beach and never have had trouble with anything loosening up, if that is what you mean. I could never imagine any place having restrictions against one who has an ostomy. Is that so in the UK?

You can use any pool in the UK, you don't need to ask them, just jump in and have some fun or exercise.

P.S. I forgot to say, if your worried about your bag showing. You can use a stoma cap, it's a very small round bag they only hold up to 50 ml, you can get them in 1 or 2 piece systems.
I'd be interested in hearing more details in regards to your concern. What I can offer is the fact that I regularly swim, surf, waterski, scuda dive, and truly enjoy being in the water! I have never had a problem with my "equipment" but as always if you enjoy spending time in a hot tub be aware that we ostomates dehydrate more quickly than those with the majority of their organs so make sure you keep up with your water intake! - Greg
Thank you & all that replied to my request about swimming, My queerie is about the changing facilities as some in Blackpool UK  dont have separate cubicles and i find it embarrassing to change in full view of other men, i want to find one that has seperate cubicles.
Hello All. Thank you for your input about swimming with a stoma. Since my surgery a year ago I have not tried to swim even although I used to swim four times a week to stay in shape. I have been afraid that the stoma might become irritated from the pool or salt water. CSC
Hi Snrterry
I go swimmimg twice a week at my local pool near Glasgow. I use the disabled shower as I always change my bags after swimming. It is a private room. I would not like to  have to change my clothes etc in a communal changing room. I think all swimming pools in the UK have a disabled toilet and shower room. As you have a stoma you are entitled to use disabled facilities. I have been challenged a few times for using disabled facilities. Some people think it is only for people in wheel chairs. I always say " I know I do not look disabled but I am " If I am challenged further I tell them I ahve a colostomy and a urostomy and I am disabled.
Enjoy your swim.
Hope this helps.
Hi there I go swiming 3 times a week and also do the aquafit (exercise in water) I go to any pool no one knows you have a stoma so don't worry about it just make sure that your bag doesn't leak
You go Maureen! Do you use any seal/tape over your flange? After your swim, do you just change the bag or the whole appliance.

I'm not happy with my trys at getting back into swimming (appliance starts to peel away - adhesive melt on my 2-piece appliance) and looking for any ideas.

Many thanks.
hi snrterry, l try and go swimming in my local pool most weeks. know what you mean about changing in one big room , the only way around it is you try and turn away just for a few mins while you pull up your undies . if you can use the disabled toilet go for it , l am lucky we have abrand new pool with seperate cubicles and not a curtain like it use to be but adoor of course .  you could wear a belt in the pool if you want ,just don't dive in much without
checking it does not ride up into every bodies sight .   with having my urostomy  all my life l know no different , just make sure your shorts are not loose on you and use the   tie cord to make sure they are secure .  good luck with your swim .  its get better with practice in the changing rooms .   mike .
beatrice wrote:
You go Maureen! Do you use any seal/tape over your flange? After your swim, do you just change the bag or the whole appliance.

I'm not happy with my trys at getting back into swimming (appliance starts to peel away - adhesive melt on my 2-piece appliance) and looking for any ideas.

Many thanks.

Hi Beatrice
I have both a colostomy and an urostomy. I wear a one piece Coloplast sensura bag for my colostomy. And my urostomy bag is also Coloplast. I just take the bags off after swimming and put new ones on. They are still securely fixed on when I change them. The water does not loosen them. I do not have a shower ( just a bath ) at home so I just love to take my bags off and stand under the shower after a swim and be bag free for a few minutes. Great.
I find Coloplast Sensura bags stick on well and also come off without too much trouble as well.
I go swimming and they don't have private cubicles however, i go to a hotel that has a pool and so very people there and quite often it is just me and a couple of others and sometimes just me. it is £8 a time though.
Afterwards when i have t dress again i just turn my back on anyone in there and quickly get my pants and t-shirt on. if the changing room is busy i just sit down and wait until they have gone.
The other thing to take in to account is the other people - do they care? probably not. Secondly, it's not like you are going to see them again and if you do see them regulary they will just know you are the person with the 'whatever' and then they will turn away and swim another length.
Totally agree with the 'do they really care' attitude.

I think we should try to be as private as possible if that makes us feel better ... after that, who cares who sees what.

I've always had the same concern, and would put myself in a bathroom stall to change.  Now that I use a gym regularly, I've learned to change "creatively".  I always bring a long t-shirt.   As a female, I pull down the top of my suit, put on the bra ( an issue you don't have to be concerned with) and then pull on the t-shirt.   I often have the towel wrapped around my from there, it's easy to pull down the bottom part of the suit...leaving the towell in place.  I dry off with the towel inplace.....put on the underwear, pull down the t-shirt and "poof" remove the towel.  I learned all this from growing up on the public beaches in Brooklyn.  That's the way the kids were changed from wet suits to dry suits/ or clothes...
It really does work, and I do it unobtrusively.....calmly and descretely.  I can't believe that it's taken me more than 40 years to get comfortable doing this.  It really does work, and I've found that nobody really looks.

I have gone swimming "around the world"....  I grew up swimming in the ocean in Brooklyn ny ( after ostomy surgery), Have swam of the coast of NJ, in Md, in Fla,  West coast, Mexico & the mediteranian.  I have never considered not swimming, and give no thought to the pool or ocean water irritating or hurting the stoma.  It's made of the same material as the inside of the mouth!  I did have a problem when I floated in the dead sea.  Unknown to me, the boyancy of the water ( 5x the salt content of the regular ocean) pulled off my faceplate, and when I peeled off my bathingsuit in a dressing room without running water or a shower, I was facing a filthy mess.   How did I solve it?  I asked a friend to bring me wads of paper and a plastic bag.  I cleaned myself off, stuffed everything dirty into the plastic bag, plastered more toilet tissue over the ostomy....pulled on undies and went to the showers.  Washed me and my dirty clothes off....and then taped my rinsed of pouch back on.  ( No, it didn't stick).  Thank goodness, that was the last stop of the day...and we headed back to the hotel.  that made me realize that when I swim anywhere, take an extra pouch and faceplate as well as tape with me.  I don't always do that.  Sigh....  I guess I like to live dangerously.  

BTW.....I NEVER change my pouch to a clean one after swimming..   I wipe my body dry of the water, and so I wipe the pouch dry also.  It's just an extension of my body, and doesn't need to be changed.  However, I'm not always so lucky with tape.  But I found "scanpoor" which is like a second skin.  My faceplate & pouch stay put for a week, and the tape stays there also.  Considering that I take 6-7 showers a week, the tape dries perfectly.  It doesn't always hold up in a hot tub howerver., so I may have to change the tape if I want to soak.  

Best advice I can give anyone, is to try different things and find what works for you.
i go swimming both at local pool and on holiday, never had any problems  i always put a new bag on before i go. the worst thing is when i next change my bag is getting all adhesive off my skin .

Hi there,  I have been having alot of problems with the water also.  I am scared of the flange peeling away....which sad to say has happened many times.  I have tried the blow dryer and everything else I've been recommended by the manufactures.  It doesn't seem to work for me.  I just came back from Greece...a month long much needed trip...and the salt water was very bad for it.  It wouldn't stick, and the irritation was horrible.  I also have a problem with public washrooms.  I use the handicapped ones.  Noone has said anything to me...but I get the looks.  I just wave my medical bag at them and smile.  If they want to ask or complain...I guess I can show...the not so pretty bag also!lol   I also change my "accessories"  after the water.  I just feel cleaner.
Mind you...I haven't really attempted the public pool.Still alittle nervous/  And...................I sold my hot tub because it's too much of a temptation for me.  I also gave up baths and shower only.  Its the only time I feel free and normal.  Even if its for a few minutes.  Good luck!!!!
Hi Betty - reading your post made me feel so sad.  People can be so cruel and obnoxious criticizing other people's bathroom odors - as if their sh*t didn't stink!

Anyway - I wondered if you have ever tried CYMED products.  They are supposed to be excellent for salt water.  Cymed will send you samples to try out - they sent me 2 flanges and 2 pouches (a closed-end and ope-end).  Their spokesperson is Ben Moon, a young man from Oregon who is a professional surfer and rock climber.  He has a couple of videos on the website showing how he applies the product and irrigates his colostomy.

So, it could be that adhesive on the product you are using just isn't right for you.  So call or e-mail the different manufacturers (Convatec, Hollister, Cymed, NuHope, etc) and ask for samples.  Hollister even has a nurse who will help you over the phone.  Good luck!   Smile

PS - I think you were VERY BRAVE to go to Greece for a month!  Wow!
I wear the coloplast sensura and assura products and find I can do anything my little heart desires.  You can call any manufacturer and they will be glad to talk to you about your needs and send a sample of product for you to try.
I like the 2 piece and I'm kind of petite so the flange is nice and low profile and smaller.  They have larger, too.  When I shower, I remove the larger bag and replace w/ a close ended bag then change just the bag afterwards.  Since I have an ileo, I really can't wear a clse ended bag for a long period of time.
I live in Florida and am a "river rat" .  I enjoy boating in the river and jumping off the boat straight into the water.  I don't care!  I don't care!!  BIG towels are a must!!
Be free.  You only live once.  
And remember...
everybody poops.

I haven't seen anyone else mention it but...does anyone else have a problem with the edge of the stoma bleeding?  It only happens when I swim.  I don't know if it pulls when I swim or if it is just from the drying and wetting from getting in and out all day?   Is it common or do you think maybe I need a stitch or two added?  Great post my disposibles stay on great too.
I'm wondering if it's just the added 'movement/abrasion' factor of the flange against the stoma?

I get something similar when I've been extra active ... like gardening where I'm bending down alot, twisting, etc.

But as my ET nurse said to me ... "blood" is always something you have checked out.

One thing that helps me is to wear a hernia support belt when I'm being active. It seems to hold everything in place and causes less rubbing. I plan to wear it swimming too. Since my doc thinks I have a hernia developing, the belt and I are becoming good friends.

Take care.
Bizarrely Beatrice, that is eactly the opposite of what I was advised ... I was told that bleeding around the stoma is good as it shows that there is good blood supply to that area .... we can't win eh?
Rach xxx
Hi Rach! Actually I think we're on the same page ... I just didn't explain myself properly .

Blood - in that the stoma is red (looks like the inside of the mouth) and some blood might come off on a kleenex if it's put over the stoma is good/healthy.

Anything extra, blood-wise is not. Anything out of the norm.
I've been to nudist resorts and swim there. Never had any issues. I say do what you want! Nothing should stop you. Hell, they let babies in pools with diapers and those aren't sealed.  Go swim and have fun!!!
thanks for the quick answer.  I think you are right I think the stretching is causing little separations along the line of the stoma but it is enough to go into the bag.  Has anyone ever needed extra stitches to attatch the stoma to the skin?  Some of mine are metal staples and I can feel them just under the skin, ouch.  One  fell out from the area near the reoccuring bleeding but I thought the skin would soon grow and adhere to the stoma?  May be not I dont know if colon cells have that ability like skin cells, what do you think?

Wow you go girl,   firegirl you have my vote!!!
How about Barefoot Water Skiing with a Stoma?  I do it every chance I get.
Your answer was a big help to me especially about the part of using the disabled bathrooms.  I live in Florida and have shyed away from swimming like I use to because when I sit on the beach with a wet flange and pouch I wonder what will happen to my skin.  I can't change them everytime I take a swim.
My dad and brother both bare foot but that's alot of ab work for an ostomy and with no belt, way cool dude.......
Thanks, I love it and can't imagine life without it.
I used to love to swim and I am scared to try to swim, I am afraid my bag will not stay on! I use coloplast assura and if it is hot outside , I notice that my wafer will start to come up on the edges. I hear avout all these people who swim with the bag on and want to try it but always afraid of that embarassing moment whe it may come off. I have read some good pointers and I might be willing to try. I have a rather large scar down most of my stomach and it is not the flatest, so it makes it hard to get a good seal with the wafer when the skin is uneven. I used the eakin seal to try to make it more even but never had luck with that stuff, made my wafer not last as long.
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