Long flights with a colostomy

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Hello! Does anyone with a colostomy have first hand experience with flights that are more than 14 hours nonstop? I know from my pre-colostomy days, those flights cause digestive issues such as bloating, dehydration, indigestion and constipation. Does having a colostomy worsen those and add other issues? If so, any suggestions for how to minimize and manage them? I'm hoping to travel to Australia for innovative surgery not offered here in the US that I desperately need.nAny guidance would be gratefully appreciated.

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Hello MarkI have made many journeys from the UK to New Zealand (& back) (usually over 36 hours from home to final destination) and have had no problems at all with regard to the stoma.It should be said that I irrigate, which is a great advantage when it comes to avoiding problems and lasting a long time between outputs.My tip for long-haul flights would be to think about it as your 'new-home' for that period of time. If you take your necessary supplies with you, then the facilities on the planes and in terminals should be sufficient for you to manage your stoma in a relative 'normal' fashion. nHave a good flight. nBest wishes nBill
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Why would flying cause those issues?
Reply to AlexT
I would think it is not the flying, per se. More likely, it is the travelling. Especially across time zones. I often (used to) get constipated on cross-country trips. Not flying, but travelling. I also used to fly to Taiwan and China and would experience constipation on those trips. From my understanding, this is a common complaint among some travelers.nDaniel
Reply to AlexT
Constipation during long flights is common due to inactivity. Same could be said about long road trips. Dehydration is common on flights due to the unhealthy dry air that is circulated throughout the cabin. That's why they always recommend you stay hydrated when flying.nTerry
Do not eat the airline food it is filled with fats,sugar and presertatives that can cause major stomach upsets..bring you own non gasey type foods. Eat light and healthy a couple of days before the trip...drink water no soda.

Hello Mark I went to Australia in February for two months had no problems going again in November for two months 


I have travelled long haul with no problems at all.. take off can inflate your bag but drink lots of water, avoid gassy foods and get up and move around.. relax and enjoy 


That should be no problem, as I flew to Australia a few months ago and the flight was 15.5 hours long.  All was fine, and even thought he bathrooms are very small, you can change your bags.


I had no problems on a flight to Europe and back.  I took an EMPTY 10 oz. water bottle (to get through security) to use in case I needed more fluid to empty.  Be sure and take a small room spray 1.5 oz. (Bath Body) for odor control


I have taken many long haul flights over the nearly fifty years with an ostomy & not had any problems 

just ensure you have a change or two in your hand luggage including enough wet wipes for just in case

i always line the front of the actual toilet bowl with paper before I use it as vacuum systems use hardly any water

if I do need to change I just double bag the old bag & store it until I can safely dispose of it

enjoy your trip 


Hi Mark, I have an ostomy and type 1 diabetes. I just flew to Spain and often fly short flights of 3 hours. I understand the side effects of flying as it can cause all of the issues you mentioned.  My suggestion is to eat carefully for 2 days of pre and post flying. Choose meals/snacks that are hydrating and non constipating long before the flights so you start the trip off right. Then be sure to continue with the foods that work for your system. Avoid red meats as they take long time to digest. Avoid high sugar and high fat meals as they produce a lot of gas and slow digestion down. Include soups with your meal plans. Sip water continuously on the plane and afterwards. Consider trying out some electrolyte single packs that you can add to your water bottle during the travelling. Be sure to test them out long before your trip to be sure your system can tolerate it. Find an electrolyte that is low/no sugar, and doesn't contain a lot of extra ingredients. It just needs a bit of potassium chloride (sodium) and magnesium. I like LMNT electrolyte drink mix. Instead of sitting and waiting, walk around the airports to keep digestive system moving. All will be fine and enjoy the journey. 


I have an ileostomy 3 yrs & Finally took a few short flights in June.  Airport toilets are roomy & can sit up on their elongated seats & no problem,  It's the Jet that's a pain!  3 hrs flight & 30 mins out of DFW, I had to empty.  Turbulence seems to be Very common nowdays  Toilet too small.  Had to kneel on the Stainless Steel god. Shoved my head into the low overead & held on to the sink w/my right hand.  When the tumbling cooled a bit, I wiped fast!  Noggin sore from bouncing off the overhead & neck tight.   I want to fly around the world, but afraid of that jet mess.  12 hrs flights?  Suggestions?


Hey Mark,

I have flown extensively this past year to Asia and Brazil and got my colostomy in 
March 2022.

I haven't had any issues with flying. I know what foods cause my output to increase, so I just watch what I eat for a day or so before flying. Book an isle seat and try to stay hydrated!


I took a 10-12 hour flight with an ileostomy. It was my first time flying after surgery and I was really nervous. Knowing how easily I get dehydrated I prepared with hydration tablets like hydralite, I really like liquid IV packets now. I know my digestive cycle is a pretty consistent 4 hours so I ate early enough to make sure I was fairly empty before the flight but it didn’t matter, I ate lunch and needed to go again. I probably used to bathroom 2-3 times on the flight and the only problem I had was waiting to use it as there was often a line. I felt fine, maybe a bit of abdominal pressure or something but nothing substantial. I wear an Ostomy leak guard and stoma guard daily which helps protect my Ostomy from seatbelts and leaks. I had to explain my Ostomy supplies having a mini pair of scissors in them to cut flanges. You absolutely need to bring a few bag changes in your carry on. Bring a change of clothes just in case! It makes me feel more prepared for any accidents. Wet wipes all that stuff. Don’t drink any carbonated beverages, I had some ginger ale and had gas, that was annoying. Eat the foods that you know minimize odour and output, that’s different for everyone I’m sure. For me French fries, burgers, bread, eggs, pasta is all pretty great for me.
I’m curious about the innovation surgery you’re hoping to have? Would you care to elaborate? 

Reply to Bill

For comfort, I take a Tablespoon of milled flax seeds with my food and finish with 3 or 4 dried prunes. 



With an ileostomy and urostomy when I fly to Hawaii (11 hour flight usually with one stop in Cali) I try and take a later time for flight departures. The more time I have in the morning to hydrate pre-flight the better. In the past, I also had a full schedule of hiking/swimming after landing. Now, I bump a few of those activities a couple days later so I have time to hydrate and adjust to the time change, giving me time to acclimate and rest (extreme temp changes like summer in Australia and you are coming from winter takes about 14 days for your body to acclimate). Any trips to Denver, Salt Lake, Montana when elevation upon landing is 4500 feet+ I also schedule a couple days just to acclimate to elevation. I’ve had one blockage while travelling to a dry climate after eating something I usually eat at home, so now I make sure things are cooked well before consuming. Also, w/a 2 piece convatec system I’ve noticed the stick for the wafers doesn’t last as long when my supplies are in checked bags cargo exposed to the elements - not sure if that’s the case. Certainly to hedge against any lost luggage I’ll always split my supplies with checked bags and carry-on. Safe travels!  

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