Changing Ostomy Bag on a Plane?


Hi, my husband and I want to take a much-needed vacation next year. But I am having anxiety concerning having to change my bag while on the plane. It's hard enough pooping the original way in an airplane restroom. So I imagine it's going to be really difficult changing a bag while in flight. Maybe I will just not eat anything for several hours before the flight. Has anyone had this dilemma? - Donna


Hey Donna, I had a 7-hour flight from Melbourne to Malaysia. I have a drainable pouch, though. Maybe if you got a box of the drainable ones, it may help you feel a little less worried. If it's not a long trip, you could do a runner for the food counter when you step off the plane. I really had no problems, Donna. Hey, enjoy your holiday! xx Cheers, Mooza xx

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How long is your flight? Do you have an ileostomy, colostomy, or urostomy? If it is a short flight (or even a long one), there shouldn't be a need to change your actual base/bag but just empty as per usual.

I have flown several long-distance flights (the longest up to 20 hours) and never had to actually "change" the whole deal on board. I have an ileostomy, use a 2-piece, so just empty as per usual on flights (easier than it seems, just be careful during turbulence!).

Definitely eat and drink as per usual, particularly with an ileostomy. If you fast or starve yourself, you just end up with a bag of air or "froth".

I have never had any problems on long or short-distance flights, always make sure I carry my supplies in carry-on luggage, and I'm good to go.

Happy travels!

Great point, Jo. What is that froth? I get that a lot!


Thank you Mooza and Jo, but I tend to pass more solid stool than loose stools because I have a colostomy. And it's hard to empty solids, much easier to just change the pouch. However, I do sometimes get diarrhea as well. So in that case, I could use a drainable. I'll just bring both and see what happens.


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Donna, many of us have flown long distances and survived. Last year I had a 13-hour non-stop flight and did just fine. Every 2 hours, I would get up, stretch, and make sure the bag stayed empty. You're a Jersey girl. If you are thinking of letting the bag "fence you in", take this advice from Tony Soprano: "Fuhgedaboudit!"

HAHAH PB, I loved "The Sopranos". Also, Donna, maybe it would be easier to just take your pouches with you and whip it off in the toilet. Use a little plastic bag to toss it out. It shouldn't be a problem. Please just try to enjoy. I think once you're up in the sky and things are settled, you might be thinking, "Okay, where are we off to next?" Cheers, Donna. I'm sure you will be fine. What about Imodium to slow down the poop or better yet, irrigate? I most definitely would be irrigating if it was a possibility. Awwww, you just got the jitters. I really wasn't bothered. I had a crazy amount of supplies with me. xxx
Would a zip-loc help for disposing your bag?
Cheers, Bob.

You have some very good help here, but this one from Jo is the most important. Make sure you have plenty of supplies in your carry-on, as if you rely on your other luggage, it will be lost for several days at least.

I was lucky, my luggage arrived, my wife's did not, but I did have my supplies in my carry-on anyway.    

While I only spent 12 hours flying, I spent a further 12 hours in three different airports and in one, two hours trying to get through customs with no restroom unless I wanted to get out of the line and start again.

Enjoy your trip and give us a blog about it later.


I wouldn't even think about putting my supplies in the hold as if the luggage went astray I really would be in the s***!

I have flown quite a lot since getting the bag, only 2 - 3 hour flights though and have had no problem at all.

Happy travels.


In my purse, I always carry a supply of pint-size Ziploc bags - the freezer bags are fairly thick, but I usually carry the sandwich bags which work fine for me. I always use the handicap toilet, which usually has a sink for washing and cleaning up. I always carry hand sanitizer and an extra bag or two. Just returned from Europe, the plane had a 'handicap toilet', the size was maybe six inches more in depth, but the sink counter was six inches narrower which made it difficult to rest your purse on (there are no hooks to hang the purse!!! Had to have been designed by a man...). The plane toilets are great because they do not contain any water (so no splash as you dump). I also got a handicap letter from my physician and submitted it to the airline who made arrangements for golf cart transport in Germany (on our arrival in Florida, I was informed that they do not have golf carts, just wheelchairs which I decided not to use - what a mistake, the wheelchair folks went straight through customs along with diplomats and crew...wheels, baby, wheels from now on...). It also might pay to get the new global security passport, I have not yet.


Hello, I had the same anxiety about the plane, so I took Imodium before flying and I was okay. I hope this information helps, and take the vacation and try not to worry about the bag, as if you do have to change it or empty it, you can do it. Regards and enjoy your vacation. Hometown

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I've always said that those of us with ostomies no longer have to worry about sitting down on filthy public toilets -- so that's ONE advantage!!!! I have a problem with having harder stool - so I've been using not Imodium, but another one (can't think of the name - has a green label) -- it works rather nicely. And now I've been seeing advertisements on TV that it is good for our bones. I'm all for that -- my mom has severe osteoporosis.


Some years ago, I flew British Airways from Heathrow, London to Kai Tak, Hong Kong, stopping at New Delhi to refuel. I have a colostomy and irrigate from time to time. On this occasion, I was in an 'Irrigating cycle' of about two weeks and didn't want to break it, so enlisted the aid of a very pleasant and helpful British Airways steward. I explained that I wanted to irrigate, and surprisingly, his knowledge of colostomies and irrigating was very good. With his connivance in keeping a toilet for me, which I occupied for about 20 minutes initially and then for a further period of 10 minutes an hour later, I did irrigate at about 32,000 feet. No problem. My visit to Hong Kong for about 6 weeks was no trouble. I continued irrigating but made certain that I used a solution of Milton in the irrigating water. I did not want nasty bugs going straight into what is left of my large intestine.
Good for British Airways. Incidentally, the drinks were free. The only way to fly is part sozzled!!
All the best.


Thank you all for your helpful advice, Donna.


Have taken 2 flights since my ileo (Dec 09). No problems. Before my op - I'd usually get up once or twice to pee. So this was no different except that I emptied my pouch too.

I sit way back on the seat and dump between my legs.

Hand sanitizer, squirt bottle, a few napkins, extra pouch, extra flange (is what I have in my purse). And ALL the supplies I am taking with me are my carry-on.

I had no problems flying with my ostomy. Hope you will do well also.


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