Swimming After Surgery: Tips for Confidence and Safety

Mar 05, 2024 4:31 am

I haven't been confident enough to swim in the pool or the ocean since my operation in 2022. Has anyone got any tips or tricks to make this a safe exercise? I just don't want the bag or flange to fall off during swimming.

Mar 05, 2024 11:34 am

Do you have Premium? There are 69 posts on swimming.

Gray Logo for MeetAnOstoMate

Why Join MeetAnOstoMate?

First off, this is a pretty cool site with 35,000 members who truly understand you.

It's not all about ostomy. We talk about everything.

Many come here for advice or to give advice, others have found good friends, and some have even found love. Most importantly, people here are honest and genuinely care.

🛑 Privacy is very important - we have many features that are only visible to members, ensuring a safe and secure environment for you to share and connect.

Create an account and you will be amazed by the warmth of this community.

Stoma Boy
Mar 05, 2024 12:38 pm

Here is my reply from a couple of days ago for someone else asking about swimming.


Mar 03, 2024 6:23 am

I, like you, was very hesitant to get in the water with the bag. When I did the first couple of times, I really felt uncomfortable. Mostly because there was now drag (not a lot but some) where there had never been some before. So my focus was on the bag the entire time rather than on swimming, so I didn't enjoy it. So I wore a belt (wrap) with the bag that kept it pressed against my body, and that really helped me stop focusing on the bag while I was in the water. I probably would have gotten used to it eventually, but the belt worked.

Then I got a pretty decent-sized hernia, and the nightmare scenario started to occur regularly. My bags started to come off in the water. So I started to secure them with waterproof tape around the entire perimeter of the bag. I eventually switched from the tape to Coloplast elastic barrier strips because removing the tape would take off skin when removing it from time to time. Both options were successful in keeping the bag on. Again, I only had problems once I had the hernia, but if looking for extra peace of mind, tape or barrier strips will do the job.

One other note: I switched from swimming to deep water running because the Aqua Jogger belt covers the bag area. I find most of the issues I have doing stuff are more mental than physical, and the Aqua belt helps my mind. I now get in the pool 4-5 times a week, and it is by far my favorite post-ostomy exercise.

Lastly, if you want to know anything else or talk about it more, feel free to send me a private message. This is something I really struggled with and am happy to share any and all of my experiences.

Good luck

Mar 05, 2024 1:01 pm

Not to worry - won't fall off or even leak if applied properly.

Mar 05, 2024 2:17 pm

G'day David, I don't know if you have them in the US, but you can buy a thing called a boob tube. It's a soft material which is elasticated, and ladies wear them over their boobs. They work great to hold it all together. Enjoy a good swim. Regards, IGGIE

How to Manage Emotions with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Mar 05, 2024 2:19 pm

Simple answer: a big yes. On a family holiday in Kos last year

Login to see image

Mar 05, 2024 2:55 pm

I swim and have never had a problem with my bag. I wear a wrap when I am in the pool and things feel secure and I don't give it a second thought.


Mar 05, 2024 5:01 pm

Good topic, David. As others have given great advice as always, you will regain confidence hearing from them and then do your own road test... err, umm, swim test, I mean.


As for me? I would die of embarrassment if mine fell off.

Thoughts of wearing a wetsuit swimming in 90-degree weather give me pause. Ha ha.

Flange extenders really hold on and keep that mounting area secure. In due time, you won't even give thought to it.

Just have patience and confidence.


Mar 05, 2024 9:06 pm
Reply to Heppy8

Great pic! Looks like you had lots of fun.

Mar 05, 2024 9:33 pm

Here is a person's blog with a video about swimming with a stoma: http://www.sobadass.me/2023/08/16/swimming-with-a-stoma-2/

Mar 06, 2024 4:14 am

Thank you everyone for the amazing response to my post! You all have really helped me with some ideas to try and with some confidence to try it out! Thank you everyone!

Mar 07, 2024 9:07 pm

My boyfriend got in my pool yesterday! I was just not comfortable doing so just yet, so I just dipped my feet in. If I have to go beyond May, I am going to have to look into these tips!

it bag
Mar 09, 2024 5:36 pm
Reply to davidjfriedrichs

It has been 3 months since I had a colostomy. I went swimming last week with no problems, but I was a bit tired afterward. I did a lot of walking in the water to get my legs moving.

Mar 10, 2024 2:20 am

I do water aerobics 2-4x/week and have never had a problem. As a female, I wear a one-piece stretchy suit, and it holds my bag against me just fine. Some people use Sure Seals as added protection. The one place I had an issue was staying in a hot tub too long because the hot water loosened the adhesive. I think five minutes would be my limit if I got in again.

Swim and enjoy!

Monsieur Le President
Mar 10, 2024 3:22 pm

Swimming, diving, running, contact sports (rugby), you can participate as much as you want.

I always made sure that my bag was well secured inside my bathing trunks. I have dived from a 10m board. I played rugby for 17 seasons. You can do it.

Mar 10, 2024 5:54 pm

I swim for 90 minutes, 5 days a week, and have had an ileostomy since 2019. Actually, my surgeon recommended swimming as gentle exercise.

Mar 14, 2024 4:35 pm

I had my surgery on 4/21 and swim all the time.

I just have a half-moon band around the bag and a circle dot on the filter hole.

Enjoy, it's great to swim again.