Gym Locker Room: Privacy Concerns

Dec 14, 2011 4:32 am

Has anyone gone to the gym and showered or changed there? How does that work without a private room?

I'm too embarrassed to go to the gym.

Thanks for the thoughts.
Past Member
Dec 14, 2011 10:46 am

I use a home gym so I can't give you any insight on that, but is it the bag bothering you? For me, I'm completely unashamed about my bag. I've had it for 2 months and everyone knows I have it or have seen it when my shirt lifts up, even complete strangers. All I can say is that if you act like it's nothing and you're comfortable with it, then it would take a really nosy and insensitive person to ask what it is or why you have it. Hope that helps. Just remember, it's really just a plastic bag.

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Dec 14, 2011 5:22 pm

I'm not a huge fan of exercise. But I do love to swim. Our local gym has a great indoor pool. I've changed and showered many times. I felt very self-conscious at first. I was constantly looking to see who was watching me. Feeling like a pervert made me a little less worried about my bag. The only weird looks I got were from people who thought I was trying to check them out. I can laugh about it now! Everybody is a little uncomfortable changing in front of others. But most people keep their eyes to themselves. Haven't had anybody notice my bag yet! And it's been 5 years! Go have fun at the gym. They all have better things to do than worry about what you look like naked. That sounded harsh, but you know what I mean?

Dec 14, 2011 6:13 pm

Don't be embarrassed! I, too, am completely unashamed. I walk around like a badass because I can poop standing up. Not a whole lot of people can do that, you know.

Past Member
Dec 15, 2011 10:32 pm

I wrote a poem on here. It's called "Alfie and Me". Alfie is a stoma. If you haven't seen it, take a read on my blog. Most people found it funny and it makes light of having a stoma. Hope you like it if you haven't already read it... TC, Ambies.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
Dec 20, 2011 2:06 am

You could take the comical route and ask any onlookers why they're staring at your bag! I imagine they'd be the embarrassed one after that.

Seriously though, I just wrap my towel around a little higher than I used to (hiding the bag), then change what's on top. Then the shirt hides the bag while I change the bottoms. I surf a bit and most surfers (bag or not) cleverly change right in the middle of carparks using the clever towel wrap trick. If someone does catch a glimpse they might wonder for a second or two but then they'll slip back into their normal thoughts and forget about it.

Have fun at the gym.

Dec 20, 2011 3:45 am

This is Zack in Michigan. I have had my ileo since 1977. I have been to the gym many times and never had anyone ask, "What is that?" Like another poster, mostly I felt like a weirdo looking around to be sure no one was looking at me. Also, like the surfer wrote, there are innovative ways to cover yourself up even in open locker rooms.

If the only shower available is wide open, just do it. I would say most other guys in such a shower wouldn't be caught dead staring at anyone, especially anywhere below your chest or above your knee. Don't let "being different" get you down or keep you out of the gym or pool.

Back in high school, we would have just said to anyone staring, "... what are you looking down there for?" I have always thought my answer now to stares or rude questions aimed at either my appliance or the pencil-wide vertical scar from my belly to way below my groin would be, "bar fight; and I won!" Too bad I have never been able to use it.

Besides, there are way more of us than you may think. Just look at the very big business in ostomy appliances!

Dec 20, 2011 11:47 am
Hi, Ambies. I would love to read your poem, but I can't find it.
Past Member
Dec 20, 2011 8:55 pm

Hi Surterry, if you look under the blogs list, look right down the bottom. It will say "See all blogs". Click on that and you should come across "Alfie and Me" poem on the list. TC, Ambies.

Past Member
Dec 20, 2011 9:25 pm

Look on my profile and you will see it under my blogs. Hope you enjoy it, ambies.

row boat
Jan 08, 2012 8:27 pm

I am in my 10th year with this ostomy. This is my first post. I used to be a 100 lap swimmer and have not been in the pool since 2000. What type of swim gear is required?

I was once in a public event and had the bag falter. I was not that bothered but it did result in some rather harsh remarks about my not having any right to spoil other people's night out. ???

That kind of stopped me from going to public pools.

What advice is out there...

Monsieur Le President
Aug 15, 2012 11:57 am

I've had an ileostomy due to UC since I was 28 (38 years ago).
I have swum, dived, hiked, sledged, played cricket, rugby, cycled, used the gym, etc.
I have never, through choice, exposed my bag to anyone (apart from wife and medical staff).
It's easy to get dressed and undressed with a towel wrapped around you and to wear your costume or a pair of shorts in the shower. If people remark that you are "shy", either tell them the situation or tell them to P*** off.
I have been lucky not to have any problems since the op, although it goes without saying that I would rather not have a bag, it has given me a normal life after suffering eight years of debilitating illness.
However, I realize how really lucky that I am after reading some of the anguish and suffering of people on this site, it just makes me want to weep for them and I feel that I have nothing to say which will help.

Aug 15, 2012 12:11 pm

Thanks, Ambies - your posts and blog are great. Thanks for helping everyone.

Aug 15, 2012 12:19 pm

Hello Monsieur,
I understand...guess I'm making excuses. I refused to see a doctor for 15 years, then one day I collapsed when my colon completely obstructed. I'm not too happy about having the bag, but everyone has inspired me to not be afraid. I love my boys and this summer I decided to not hold back and have fun with them. I don't want to miss or not be a part of their childhood. Today we are swimming and tomorrow off to an action park, next day another action park. Thanks for the pep talk!

Monsieur Le President
Aug 15, 2012 12:39 pm


Enjoy your life. Enjoy our kids.
I took my kids to the local rugby club to join the Mini Rugby.
Having played through school until illness stopped me, I got involved in coaching, then fed up of standing on the touchline bellowing, I thought I would give it a go.
I was 30 and played until I was 47, I have played in the same team with each of my boys.
I even played a Vets game with the older two in Montreal (I was 57 then, played for 15 minutes).
So, Jazx, if you are otherwise fit- Don't let your bag stop you from doing anything.

Past Member
Aug 16, 2012 6:59 pm

YW Jazx, I'm only too pleased to give any advice I can.. and will continue to do Ambies

Aug 18, 2012 5:40 pm

Just with regards to getting changed in a communal area, I thought I might share what I do after swimming - it might not be so easy if you're showering after going to the gym.

Shower after coming out of the pool - keep your shorts on.

Dry your top half and wrap the towel around your waist (shorts still on). Put on a t-shirt (the longer the better). Take your swim gear off under the towel.

Once that's done, you need to dry your bottom half, rub down, etc...

But when you're ready to put your undies on, tuck and hold the towel with your chin, covering the area that you want to conceal - hey, some people just like being modest!

Put your pants (in America it's underwear) on. Use your t-shirt to cover the top of the bag and your pants to hold the rest in. That way (hopefully) you will have kept it all hidden.

This is what I do... I hope it's of some use.