Ostomy Bag Concealment: Tips and Comfort

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Warrior24

Hello, I am wondering if everyone "hides" their ostomy bag? I've had my ostomy for a few months now and I'm still not comfortable tucking it under a waistband. I've been letting it hang out the bottom of my shirts but recently I've had a few strangers ask why I don't tuck it away. I don't know if it'll change your response but I had a jejunostomy that is now an ileostomy recently, and I have to wear high-output bags. My output in general jumps between two polar opposites from straight liquid to so thick it gets stuck and covers over my stoma.

AlexT

I wear a wrap or belt most of the time unless I'm at home. Not only to cover it up but to help hold it tighter to my body if I do have output that I can't empty right away.

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Axl

Hi W

My ileo is low enough that I have always had it under my pants, jeans or shorts. In fact, very few even know it's there.

eefyjig

I don't know if a jejunostomy affects things differently (I just looked it up!) but, with my ileo, I put it on at an angle and it fits perfectly in my underwear. No belts or anything.

Killshot_24523

I wear a stealth belt most waking hours. I never tuck my shirt in. I wear a lot of T-shirts. My bag is very rarely visible. However, when wearing a T-shirt, sometimes as the bag fills, you can tell something is there.

 
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Bill

Hello Warrior 24.

Thank you for your post.

People’s perspectives on this sort of issue will depend upon so many factors. 
As you have invited comments, I would say that there is no way I would let such comments from strangers pass without a rapid and reasoned retort. 
My first instinctual thought would be that it is simply none of their business. However, I would be most likely to engage them in an educational conversation about a whole range of issues including a person’s ‘right’ to do as they please as long as it does not harm others.

Part of my philosophy towards life is what I have labelled with the acronym: SOLAR (Self-Organised Living And Reflecting).

With this in mind, I think that Self-Organisation is the essence and (my) definition of ‘freedom’. Therefore, two things emanate from this perspective:

‘The extent to which a person is Self-Organised is the extent to which they are ‘free’-
The extent to which people are organised by others is the extent to which they are enslaved’.
I instinctively believe that people who endeavour to ‘tell’ other’s what to do are engaging in a form of ‘bullying’. This is behaviour which I am only too pleased to have opportunities to confront and expose (mostly via-rhyming verse)!

I feel that people should do what they feel comfortable with, without worrying (or reference) about what other people may or may not think.

I have never experienced this phenomenon myself from strangers or friends, but I suspect that if the ‘bullying’ logic is valid, those who may have bullying as a personality trait are less likely to try it on with someone who can give as good as they can take. For, in my experience, most bullies are cowards and will rarely pick on anyone who is perceived as ‘stronger’ than they are.  Strength, in this sense, can manifest in many forms, such as physical, psychological, experiential, status, financial, influential etc.

Enough of my ranting, you must have touched on a sensitive nerve!

Best wishes
Bill

Ben38

My stoma is high up so the bottom of my bag is waistband level and comes. I'm a man so I wear different clothing to you. I just buy tops/shirts that are slightly longer so it covers the bag. Usually, I'm not a bag flasher on purpose lol but often after getting something out of my trousers pockets, I will get either the pity one or the "you know your bag's showing" look lol. I'm past the stage of caring what anyone thinks but can understand you and others not feeling as confident about it.

I had a temporary jejunostomy for 18 months that was a handful. I already had my ileostomy for over 10 years then and thought I knew it all and nothing could surprise me. Jejunostomy proved me wrong! That was a shock. No one knows what high output really is until you've had one of them.

w30bob

Hey Warrior........great post.......because it's such a simple and obvious question it rarely gets asked. Bottom line for me is I hide mine. When I first got my ostomy that was my primary concern....conceal it at all costs. But at some point you stop worrying about what others think........and you cross over onto Bill's side of things. Screw them!And I whole heartedly agree. But I will interject a slightly different viewpoint, as usual. When you say you had a couple strangers ask why you don't tuck it away I think everyone takes that as a negative criticism. And maybe it's meant that way, but I won't assume that from your simple comment. I know when I'm out and about.........if someone says something regarding how I look I get very defensive too.....it's natural. But when I'm the one giving someone a comment about them (just trying to help, not insult), I tend to see the situation in a very different light. It's just like driving........when I feel like going 100mph there's nothing wrong with it, but when I'm leasurely driving around and some idiot blows by me like I'm standing still........he's an ass.

I've had people tell me things about my appearance like my shoelace was undone, my fly was open, and they've asked things why I wear my ballcap brim to the side (like an idiot) instead of brim to the front or rear, why I'm wearing an overshirt on a really hot day, why was I wearing a neck brace (duh) .......all kinds of things. But instead of getting mad and telling them to go f^k off (which I'm been guilty of previously).......I put myself in their shoes and generally (but not always) just say thanks or 'good idea' and move on. I like to believe we all look out for each other in some way. I also know some people are just plain assholes...........but I first assume the former until proven wrong.

And that's where another part of Bill's post comes in. Educate them rather than get mad at them. Even if you think they said it to be mean. This serves two purposes......the first is you're teaching them something, which is always a plus because there's a hell of a lot of ignorance out there fueled by lack of knowledge. The second is when someone realizes they didn't know something it humbles them, bully or not. Even mean people don't like to feel stupid........so that's your revenge of sorts. You know the old saying.....kill them with kindness. It does work. It's hard to stomach sometimes, but it does work.......and usually leaves them speechless. Unlike telling them to go f *k off......which for me tends to end in violence, explaining things to the Police and just not being a fun time in general. Just a thought!

;O)

Mysterious Mose

My stoma is in line with my navel. I wear my underwear and pants just below my stoma and let my bag hang free. My shirts are long enough to conceal the bag. But, come cold weather, it will probably be back to suspenders. One of the benefits of being male and not giving squat about fashion.

DandyVandyZandy

Mine is really high so my waistbands sit well below and my shirts usually provide plenty of coverage. My biggest issue is wearing certain types of material where you can tell I have a bag, or something, underneath. I'm always open to educate anyone who has questions, whether they're just being inquisitive or a total douche! By the way, I rarely run into D-bags but on the rare occasion that I do, it is so much fun!!!

Mimi6

I most always tuck it in. I have a colostomy and depending on how high my pants are determines how much of the bag is actually in. High waisted yoga pants and jeans cover the whole bag, but even with lower pants, I tuck it in. Sometimes that makes the top of the bag stick out so I wear like Spanx under those pants or even under dresses as they hold the bag securely against my body.

BetaScience

Hi Warrior,

I wear my ostomy bag sideways. I don't have a filter, so this doesn't leak at all. The open-ended pouch clip is at my side. I wear a tube top that I found on Amazon under all my clothes. Bathing suits are a little tricky but I wear a one-piece with a light water sports vest over it. The other option is a tankini and it is never seen! Hope that helps.

Nungsr

Look at StealthBelt.com to see their belts. They are great.

Cybercat

Hi, if you are able to irrigate then you should try it. I irrigate about twice per week and I control my output to be when I irrigate only. It took a while but I trained my body so it gives me more control. I don't have any output at all most days, and my body tells me when it's time to irrigate because I get increased gas output. I just really listen to my body. It will help you to hide your bag if you irrigate. I wear shapewear to hide any appliance I have on, and I dress in form-fitting clothes. No one even knows I have a stoma. I have had my colostomy for over 11 years, and it is a work of art to train your body to poop when you tell it to with an enema, but you can totally do it over time. I wish you the best in your journey and don't give up...

Fidguiman
Reply to Killshot_24523

@ Killshot; I have an Ileostomy and a vertical Stealth Belt. The belt is comfortable around my waist. However, my Ileostomy bag bunches up inside the Stealth Belt vertical pouch — with the output more liquid and continuous, I worry about the bag building up air pressure and then creating leakage. I have a Hollister New Image 2-piece drainable pouch, length 12". Do you find that your ostomy bag sits well within the vertical pouch without bunching?

Vet72
Reply to AlexT

Yes, I also wear a wrap: generally 24/7, so even at night in bed under my PJs, to hide the fact that I have an ostomy. The thought of my bag being obvious to anyone is just about intolerable (maybe largely due to vanity?) Even while wearing fairly tight-fitting clothes, I have found that a strongly elasticated wrap holds the bag in tightly and it remains almost invisible — at least until it starts to swell up with fecal matter, so I tend to empty my bag (one-piece, drainable) every 4 hours or so.

However, I have a colostomy which generally means a lower volume of output per day than most people with an ileostomy would produce. I have also found that it helps to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and drink plenty of water, to ensure that the output doesn't become too thick.

CrappyColon

The two pictures are part of something I made for World Ostomy Day last year... As to who got to see the bag... no one when it was clear. My kids were always like "ewww ughh noooo" to the clear ones when I'd had an ostomy nurse visit and again trying something new. It just depended on who was around... To people closer to me, I'm like "oh it's just you" and move on, others I based it off what I thought their comfort level because I did not care... Unless it was clear, then I cared ‍

CrappyColon

Lins0808

Hi,
I looked up a jejunostomy, I'm not sure if you still have a tube or just the ileostomy. My stoma is placed slightly left and lower than my belly button. Just after my surgery, I wore a lot of stretchy pants. Now (40 years with an ostomy), most of the time I can wear most things, except low-waisted pants or tight dresses. I don't buy pants that have waistbands that are right over my stoma. Luckily, high-waisted pants have been back in fashion for a while, much easier to find.

My underwear is high-waisted and has Lycra to help keep the bag in place. Like these: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/buyagain/ref=ppx_yo2_mob_b_ts_rp_8?ie=UTF8 ats=eyJleHBsaWNpdENhbmRpZGF0ZXMiOiJCMDdEUE1GMzdaIiwiY3VzdG9tZXJJZCI6IkExUkRLN1cyS0ZPMDNTIn03D pd_rd_w=OQMSm pf_rd_p=9033fbe9-0626-4f59-b0bc-0cd9f005a4fd pf_rd_r=Z18NFAX3SVMYA64C1M6M pd_rd_wg=bV8mr pd_rd_r=45fe5dd2-89b4-48c1-8acc-381bcdb4b22b content-id=amzn1.sym.9033fbe9-0626-4f59-b0bc-0cd9f005a4fd

Best of luck.

RoanokeVirginiaArmyBrat

Good morning. My ostomy (Bertie) is about 2" right of my navel. Mine rests in my underpants. With the type of clothes I wear, no one sees it.

TKRain
Reply to eefyjig

That's the way I do it as well.

labjano

I have always tucked it in my pants. I make sure to buy looser fitting jeans, trousers, etc. I really like leggings; they hold everything in place. Nobody even knows I have an ileostomy. I wear tankini swimsuits with high-waisted bottoms from Venus Swimwear company. Everything is covered well.

Redondo

Although most of my friends know, I still cover my ileostomy even from my husband. I will wear a band around it. I am also high output, so I frequently empty it so that it doesn't bulge out. Also, I find if I don't empty when full, I have a greater chance of leaking, so I will do this as soon as I can.

Doe1mama

My husband has an ileostomy which, since weight loss, is now exactly at waistband level. He does use a belt at all times to keep the bag in place. He just doesn't wear tight pants, and that seemed to enable him to wear it inside the pants.

BagBoyBob

I've had my ileostomy for 36 years. I've never heard of leaving the bag out so others could see. I guess if you bought longer shirts this could work, but otherwise it should really be hidden inside your clothing. I'm old school, so maybe it's ok with the younger generation? &zwj

judiprescott17

I haven't tucked my shirt/blouse in for over 30 years. With the big bust, I look like a maternity deal. I just accept it. No fashion maven here.

CrappyColon

Hey, my friend that had colorectal cancer (we connected due to both being Cleveland Clinic patients) she had a failed reversal and now uses a high output bag - but I didn't know. She posts most stuff on her business IG account if you'd like to connect with her.

AgentSmith
Reply to AlexT

May I ask what type of wrap or belt? Do you have links or remember where you bought them?

jghandymann20

I wear bib overalls all the time. It hides my bag and it's easy to empty. I get two wads of paper in my pockets and drop one strap stoop over the toilet and dump. Wipe twice and done. When I'm at home, I wear sweats or shorts and a baggy T-shirt or no shirt. I lost embarrassment feelings 13 years ago. It's actually cleaner wearing a bag than having to wipe your butt! Lol

AlexT
Reply to AgentSmith

I have wraps from Ostomysecrets and my belt is from Stealthbelt.