Swimming with a Stoma: Changing Bags Afterward?


This is my first stoma summer and I just bought a new one-piece swimsuit yesterday. I am wondering for those of you that do swim, when you do, do you have to change to a new bag that same day or not too far after? I know the wafer is meant to absorb moisture so if you have moisture on the inside from the stoma and also on the outside from the pool water, it would lessen the stickiness to the skin, right? Please let me know, thanks.

Well, hi there! Actually, my personal experience is not so good with this. I've had an ostomy since the age of ten and I love to swim, but I always end up changing my "demon cover" after every swim... even after my bubble baths... same thing, they just never stick. But hopefully one of our other friends will jump in here with some good news on the subject. Doesn't stop me from swimming though, but it is annoying. I don't like public pools so I head out for the lake, usually at night when it's peaceful. Then there is no swimming suit even needed. Much love to ya honey from your Wounded Doe.

Hi there, I love my swimming and was an open water swimmer before my op. My stoma has never stopped me from swimming; however, I do always change my bag after the swim or any time it gets wet (shower, bath). I try not to eat about an hour before I swim; otherwise, 'grumble' - my stoma always seems to work around then. Plus, I find that exercise speeds up the digestion process. Hope this helps, and you enjoy your swimming x

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I would never apply a new appliance before a swim. I always wait 24 hours after a new application before immersing, otherwise it seems to weaken the "glue" faster. I have been swimming before without any problems. Hope you have a great time this summer!

Hi, I am an older lady of 63, had my stoma in '86.
I do aquafit twice a week, swim twice a week too. I only change my bag when it needs to be done. I feel pulling the bag off every day or too often would harm the skin.
Enjoy your swimming... forget about your stoma. You have got so now is the time to live with it. There is nothing I can't do, so there is nothing you can't do either. Just try to be positive.

Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister

Hi first summer stoma, I've gone swimming in the pool and ocean (Pacific) and have worn my bag for my normal 7-8 days with no problems. I do understand that all people are different. I hope you get the answers you need, kiddo. Alligator (Randy)

I've never had a problem in regards to having to change my bag after my swim. Just be sure to dry it off as best you can afterwards.
I personally have found that in the summer when I'm constantly in the pool or lake, I use a skin barrier wipe over top of my flange (on the band-aid part) and it seems to give it a bit of a better seal and will last longer. Give it a try. Can't hurt, might help!!

Good luck

I swim, bike, and run. I never had a problem, of course it doesn't last 7 days but usually 5 days maybe 6 days, I use a belt every time.
Try using a belt .....

Hi. I'm another 63-year-old like boatlady! I have had Ileo for 5 years. I don't swim, but I do bathe as I don't have a shower. Apart from making the bag soggy, water doesn't seem to affect adhesion at all. Sometimes I change after a bath, but only if it's time to anyway.

Wow, that's a great idea!! Never thought about doing that, but it makes sense. Thanks.

Thanks to everyone else for their help as well. I think I might end up having to change it afterwards, but I shall just jump in and see how it is after the swim.

So, are all of you saying you just use your regular bag? Or a special one for swimming? Also, what do you mean by using the barrier wipe on the flange? Do you just wipe it on the flange or your skin?

Last year was my virgin ostomy summer, so not knowing anything, I missed all of the swimming days. After reading all of your comments, I can't wait to get to the water. Thanks for sharing.

Hi! I'm just jumping into the mix here... I had forgotten about the idea of using barrier wipe. I had that as a child. I'm so glad it was mentioned by one of our friends here.  You wipe it on the skin and it does help the tape of the bag to stick better.    I should have the pharmacy order some.

Take care!


I ain't got a credit card so I can't sign up as a full member...

Anyhow, I wanted to thank you all for the wonderful help.... This is my 7th month with a colostomy, my world didn't end, it just got so much more interesting...
All you people are great, helping each other out. How awesome is that?...
So I continue reading and hoping, and all seems to turn out okay.......
Wish I could find some people in real life to hang out with who had a colostomy like me... oh well.

Thanks again, all you great people. Peace out......

God bless...........

I wipe on the "band-aid" part of the flange and along the edge seems to work like a seal for me. You can use your regular bag, just pat dry with a towel afterward.

Since you bought a one-piece swimsuit, you can buy a device called Dry Pro. Go to their website; it will keep you dry and watertight. I hope I didn't spell it wrong. I can look it up again. It isn't that costly.

I'm with Belinda on this one. Supplies aren't cheap, even with coverage, so why change your bag if you don't need to. If I had to change my bag after every shower, whew!! $$.

I take a leisurely bath the days when everything needs to be changed and once in a while I sneak one in the interim with no harm. If you have a secure flange there should be no problems. I have heard that some who wear Coloplast get an even better adherence after being in a hot tub -- not my schtick but might be yours.

Barrier wipes go on the skin and help the wafer stick.

I have an ostomy for the last three years. Last year in Las Vegas, I decided it was time to go in the water. I first tested myself in a bathtub successfully. Then I went into the pools at the Caesar Hotel. No problem at all! I wear an ostomy belt in the water under my suit. The belt guarantees that the wafer/bag will not come off. I also use a filter bag. So I just put the adhesive circle over the filter and voila. The wafer remains on once dry. I do admit that Vegas was very dry and everything just evaporated instantly after coming out of the water.

Good luck in the pool or ocean. You shouldn't have any problems.

Have had my ileostomy for almost a month now... one of my major concerns was being able to get into the ocean and snorkel.

I even considered one of these devices (http://www.allegromedical.com/ostomy-supplies-c529/dry-pro-ostomy-cover-p555611.html) - is that the one you mean.

Would give it a try, but the reviews are awful.

I know I'd feel more secure with something over my appliance -- something belt-like and waterproof that goes around me and the appliance. Sometimes we're in the water for 1.5 hours at a time.

If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them.
Is the belt you use the narrow ones that snap to the pouch?

Hi Laura,

It was good to find you on this site. Someone from Somerset. I just had my operation and have a permanent stoma due to Chron's. It will be nice to catch up with someone. I am feeling much better, hoping to go back to work in late January. It will be nice to catch up with you. Take care.

Hey. I got my stoma in July '09 so this year was the first summer I had it really!
I went to Gran Canaria in April and did so much swimming and sunbathing in the one-piece swimsuits I bought! I have a loop ileostomy and j-pouch so hopefully by July this year I will be stoma-free, but at the moment with the bag I haven't found swimming a problem.
I always bathe with my bag on anyway cause I don't like how unpredictable my stoma can be and I don't want to risk pooping in the bath! I usually change my bag after I've been in the bath or swimming and I change my bag every day. To those of you who use hot water to take your bag off: Appeel No Sting Medical Adhesive Remover in the aerosol is really good- you just pull the top of your bag back and spray it on and the bag just falls right off! This is helpful because I change my bag so often so the skin doesn't end up getting sore! Anyway, other tips include changing your bag at least a couple of hours before you go swimming if you don't have time to change it after, warming the bag up before you stick it on, (this helps the flange bit stick on and flex around your body contours!) you can do this by putting it under your armpit, sitting on it or giving it a blast with the hairdryer! Also folding the bag so it doesn't poke out the sides! And after you've been swimming if you can't be bothered to change your bag or don't have time I dry mine using the hairdryer so it doesn't leave all wet patches on my clothes!
If you want to be on the extra safe side you can get secure tape which sticks over the edge of the flange bit of the bag and gives it extra sticking power, the tape is really good but tough to get off your skin! I hope this helps... sorry it's such a long post!!

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