Socializing with an Ileostomy: Overcoming Anxiety and Making Friends

Reply to Daisy2023


Going back to work can lead to anxious moments. I've worked for 3 years after my ileostomy. I've learned that 5 minutes after a meal, I start rumbling. Simply putting pressure on your bag/stoma muffles this well. After all this time, only 1 out of 40 co-workers know about my situation. The one person I told may need similar surgery. I still have some chewable Gas-X that I use if I'm giving a presentation, etc. I also watch what and when I eat. Trust yourself, you got this. For me, it's better than quick trips to the restroom.



Yes, you are right - I do place them over my "offender" but I'd much rather place them over my dentist's ears!

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I had the misfortune of having emergency surgery that resulted in my ileostomy just as the pandemic started. For over a year, I dreaded the thought of going back to work and seeing my coworkers in person. While most were aware that I was hospitalized for a couple of months, not many knew that I now have an ostomy. I was nervous, anxious, embarrassed, flustered, and so on on a regular basis. However, I am also very fortunate to work for a program that values inclusion and dignity, which was a blessing. Furthermore, I specifically work in the field of early childhood education. And there is nothing more humbling than having a preschooler point out that your tummy is making funny noises and asking a million questions when trying to give an explanation. Of course, they're just curious and I just try to do my best to answer in a way that they would understand. Thankfully, the teachers are also very supportive and have come to my rescue on several occasions. As a result, it has given me more confidence and patience. On the other hand, I get lots of questions about my hair (yes, I'm losing it), my face (I've had a mole since infancy), my clothes, my shoes, etc. So now, dealing with adults regarding my ostomy is child's play.

Reply to SharkFan

Thanks for the response. So far so good and no one at work knows about my situation. I'm pretty private about it. And I am taking extra care of what I eat now that I'm back to work. It's crazy how many people have issues like we do. It was good of you to share with your coworker who might need the same surgery.


We tend to hear our gurgles while non-ostomies do not.
It would have to be a very quiet environment like church or class to be heard. I went to grad school and sometimes my pouch would act up. I would lean my arm over my stoma to muffle it.

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Hi Amanda, I did reply earlier but I remembered you today when I had to go for a blood test and as I sat down I said, "Excuse me, but I have an ileostomy and it tends to speak for itself." She just said, "That's okay," and when it made itself known, we both laughed. Please, Amanda, enjoy life and learn to love your stoma, but be open about it. I have told everyone I know, and they find it fascinating, and even some want to see it. Have an open day. Don't you just love the sound of some of the places we have in Australia like "Tumbi Umbi" where you're from as it has to be one of the best. Have a good day, Amanda. Regards, IGGIE


Hello everyone! I use a hernia support belt at work and when going out in public. The brand name is Ortonyx and they're sold on Amazon. It does somewhat limit capacity, which makes emptying more frequent, but does a great job of covering up fart noises and supports my ileostomy pouch at the same time. Hope this helps.

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