Sleeping in a Recliner with an Ileostomy: Any Tips?


Has anyone with an ileostomy tried sleeping in a recliner chair to prevent leaks? I have a colostomy and have only ever had leaks a few times while I am in bed. Looks like I have to have a temporary ileostomy next.

Wondering if anyone has tried a recliner for sleeping and if it helped with leaks. Thanks, Bill.


Hi Bill, are you sleeping on your back? Your stool will pool around your stoma and seep under the barrier ring if you sleep like that. I have an ileostomy and sleep on my right side. I wear my bag at a 45-degree angle to the right and my output just lands in the bag. I usually have to get up once at night to empty if it really fills with gas and waste depending on what I've eaten. I've only ever slept in our recliner if I had a relentless migraine and didn't want to lay my head all the way down. I'd give it a go and see what happens; maybe it'll work well with your colostomy.

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Hi Bill

I sleep on my back and both sides with no issues, although sleeping on the back has been an issue for some.


Hi Bill,

Yes, some sleep in a recliner. I've been doing it lately just to try something different. Otherwise, I sleep on my left side (stoma on my right) and bring my right knee up to make a space under my bag. This way no accidents during the night. The recliner works, but if you're the type of person who moves around when you'll find you're stuck in one position in a recliner. But once you get over's no different from sleeping in a bed.



I slept in a recliner for the first 2 years of having an ostomy. But if you're having leaks, try not to use any adhesive or glue to hold it on. I haven't used anything like that in years. I shower, shave, and wash the area really well. Then when I get out, I use a blow dryer to dry the area and put my appliance on. I use IV 4.5 x 4.5 plastic adhesive covers cut in half to cover the outside of my appliance edge. I've had a couple of leaks over the years but no spillage! I was using alcohol to clean the area around the stoma, but boy did I get hollered at by the doctors. The biggest problem that will give you leaks is wetness. Good luck.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

Once again, thanks to all who replied. Very much appreciated, Bill.

Reply to Newhere

Hi Bill, I used a riser/recliner chair for over a year, sleeping on my back only. I have an ileostomy. I did not have a single leak in that time other than a minor one from the filter. I do, however, need to get up to empty the bag at least once in the night. It seems that we are all different and the only way is to try it yourself. Good luck. Elwick


Hi Bill,

Hope I'm not too late to chime in and help, but I'd like to touch on what @eefyjig said and what seems to work best for me. The closest thing I've had to a recliner in this situation was the hospital bed, so no on that. I did notice something during my stay in the hospital: the bag was placed "sideways" (or at a 45-degree angle) - to make it easier for emptying when laying in a bed. Before being discharged, a wound care nurse came in to teach me a thing or two about the bag and place a new bag with the draining opening facing down - to make it easier to empty as you stand.

I immediately began having leaking issues when I was home and attributed it to the positioning of the bag. I turned it back "sideways" and have almost no leaking issues. I'm able to sleep on a bed or couch with no issues really. To fall asleep, I turn to my side and lay on my right being careful not to sleep on the bag. While asleep, I turn to my back and stay that way until I wake to empty something. I'm not big on sleeping on the left as it terrifies me since there is less space on that side too.

To summarize: the reason I think this helps is, like @eefyjig said, it doesn't really give the waste a chance to pool around the stoma and leak behind. I even think it has more room and can pool away from the stoma even though it begins to reduce in width.

I hope this information was helpful to you and wish you the best of luck!

- Manny

Reply to elwick

Thanks, Elwick,

Reply to MostSuperTech

Manny, thank you. The angle bag idea makes sense.


I've been sleeping on a recliner since I got my ileostomy in 2018. I find that sleeping somewhat upright lets gravity work in my bag's favor and is far better than risking a messy leak in bed. It's also more comfortable for sleeping for me. For some reason, ever since my surgery, I am unable to lay flat on my back without feeling like I'm falling. I tried sleeping on my side in a regular bed, but I couldn't get comfortable. Then I tried an adjustable bed, but I found that when I got the backrest up where I needed it, I'd also have to raise the bottom up to elevate my feet and then my butt sank into the middle crevice under me which wasn't very comfortable. On top of that issue, the adjustable bed gave me flashbacks to my hospitalizations which triggered some pseudo-PTSD feelings. I'm team recliner all the way! The one downside of getting used to sleeping on a recliner is that it makes overnights at hotels or friends' houses rough. You may still have some leaks in a recliner, but I think they're more manageable and much easier to deal with. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.