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Clothing for men - How do I dress?

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Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:58 pm
I just had my emergency surgery just over a month ago, and came off the wound vac less than a week ago. The incision is still closing and the scar forming. I now have a colostomy that may be able to be reversed in a few months. I was also laid off my job becaus of the legnth of stay in the hospital.  

The doctors and nurses really did not pepare me for life with an ostomy. I basically learned how to change the appliance (seems from reading here that is the correct term). I have kind of had to learn to empty it and keep it clean on my own. I am not sure about taking a shower or what to eat or what activities I can no longer participate in.

The point of my posting is this: I work in professional environments where, at a minimum, dress slacks; buttoned up, collared, tucked-in shirts are expected and sometimes ties and coats are required. My pants and belt fit just under the wafer(?? the circle that attaches to my stomach) and the bag hangs much lower. I presume that I should not put the belt over the bag nor tuck it into my pants with my tucked-in shirt.

Can anyone give me tips on how to dress with an ostomy? are there special clothes I can find? I have looked and can only find undergarments and they just don't seem to take care of what I am looking for. I am hopefully going to find some employer to at least interview, if not hire me, and I need to look the part.

Also, for now, I have been wearing t-shirts & untucked shirts. They sometimes flip up and expose the bag and that is very embarrasing and, frankly, gross. Any suggestions on how to keep the stuff covered would be appreciated.

Thank you all for being here. I really need the support.
Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:42 pm
Hows it going? just looked over your post, and I have some answers hopefully you can use.  first  things first, life with an ostomy does take a little adjusting... but once you figure out what works for you, it becomes second nature.  taking a shower for example.. I work in the medical field myself, so I take showers often,  in the afternoon after work, before I go into the shower, I put a shower cap over my bag,  this keeps it dry, the flange will get wet, but you can dry that with a hair dryer no problem.  the morning when I change my bag, I will take a shower with no bag or flange on,  I take a shower like I always do, and the water keeps the stoma nice and clean, I do this in the morning because my stoma is not very active, meaning there is little output,  it maybe different for you,  you have to keep tabs on when your output level is low so you can take a shower without your bag and flange on.. don't worry you will not hurt any thing..

as far as eating goes, if your doctor didn't give you a diet to follow, then you can probably eat as normal like you use to before your surgery.  watch out for peanuts  or hard to chew things like them, you may block yourself up..  very important!!  stay hydrated!!  I drink gator aide by the truck load!!  it helps to keep your fluid level up and your electrolytes as well, very important in the hot summer months!  also increase your protein intake with something like pro-stat or ensure,  that will help maintain your energy level.  
for business attire I wear a stealth belt under my scrubs,  there pricey but there worth it..  it is a belt that conceals your ostomy bag,  your bag goes inside the belt sideways so it sits above your waist line, it has a zipper on the pouch where your bag goes  so you can access it to drain it,   you  may be able to find some info on the stealth belt on this site there custom made  to your waist size as well, plus you can go swimming with this belt with no issues!!  I hope I helped!!  hang in there boss!!  your at the right place to find support and help with ANY issues you have!!  
Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:43 pm
Bear Guy-

I feel your pain! When they let us out of the hospital we have no idea how to deal with ourselves - most of what we learn is through trial & error or with help & guidance from other people in our situation.

My bag (emergency, unexpected) drove me crazy flopping against my leg when I walked & when it begins to fill the weight of it sometimes makes the adhesive turn loose from your skin which is a disaster if you are out!

I also couldn't stand for it to touch my skin so 1st I started wearing my regular panties, then would pull on a pair of "boy briefs" over the bag to hold it close to me. This helped ALOT with the swinging & to support the bag.

When I got ready to try & go back to work,(realtor, long days, lots of walking & in & out of the car all day), the double panties deal just wouldn't cut it.  I also was extremely self conscious thinking all day that everyone could see the bulge of the bag. One night desperately searching the internet for a fix I found a godsend of a web site. has a "classic wrap" that is for either men or women that is like a tube that you step into. It has no buttons, zippers, or clasps & inside are two deep pockets you can slide the bag into. It smooths & flattens out the bag so you honestly cannot see it unless it reallllly needs to be emptied.  They are like $25-30 each & come in white, tan, & black.  They wash great & also give the tiniest bit of compression which made my aching abdomen feel more supported. A friend of mine at the ostomy support group I attend also uses them & he said his surgeon told him they are an excellent way to avoid getting a hernia started.

Also, on days I felt it was ok to wer kakki's - I found that the waste band just drove me insane!!!! I went to the scrubbs outlet & bought the most expensive heavy type material I could find - kakki scrubs - the drawstring waste helps alot - I could tuck in a shirt & wear a sleeveless sweater or a vest & I was home free - nobody even noticed I was wearing scrubbs because once the waistband was covered you honestly couldn't tell!!

I hope this helps - try the wraps - they are a lifesaver!!!
Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:28 am
Than you both for your responses. They have helped answer even more of my questions. I have been very scared to take a shower because I thought it would affect the bag and that I should not permt water on/in the stoma.

I will definitely check into the suggested products.

One more question: is it normal for the stoma to bleed? Not just when I take the appiance (I have one piece units) but also any time it is on. I often notice blood in the bag (and it is not just something I ate - it is blood.)
Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:55 pm
I use a one piece system too & the water does sometimes want to make the adhesive turn loose. I replaced my shower head with a handheld so I don't spray water directly at the bag.  On the days you are going to change your bag - about every third day for me, take a free shower day!

Take all that crap off I get in the shower - it feels divine! On the days you are not going to take the bag off for a change Saran Wrap press & seal style wrap will do the trick. Pull off a piece & press it to your skin to cover the bag - the shower water will sheet off this way & not screw up the seal.

Your stoma SHOULD NOT BLEED.  Call the wound & ostomy clinic at the hospital closest to you. You need an appointment.  Could be they have you in the wrong bag & you need a change! The WOC (wound, ostomy cont.) nurses are seriously the BEST go to for me here. What I thought was my stoma bleeding in the beginning was actually irritation from using the wrong type of bag.

Good luck to you!
Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:28 pm
You are probably cutting your wafer too narrow.  There should be about 1/8 inch of clearance between your wafer and stoma.  Use stoma paste and it will fill that 1/8 inch gap.
Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:05 pm
Clothing for me changed drastically. I used to wear tight fitting pants. The girls loved my tight, you know what. I now use elastic banded pants that are not too baggy, but are loose. It is important the waist band be above the stoma.o/o
A waist band below the stoma or across the pouch is necessary to prevent restriction of the bag contents. A belt will cause the contents to be smashed in a concentrated area which can cause:o/o
1. Filters to clogo/o
2. Seal failureso/o
3. More difficult to clean out your bag.o/o
4. Shorten the wear time of the appliance.o/o
I’ve seen other pack their bags in underwear to minimize the bulge that the pouch can cause, especially when it become full. I’m not one to do that, you may find that to be necessary.o/o
o /o
I wear sport pants that are similar to the Nike Air (black) without strips or with less visible strips. I've found some that are like slacks and have worn them to weddings and funerals. They are loose so the bag is not seen. Loose to allow ease of bag drainage. o/o
On very few situation I do wear jean or work pants when I work on my car or crawl under my house to do repairs. But this is done for a brief time.

Lastly, the other choice is to irrigate everyday and wear a stoma plug. This eliminates any output all day. This might be great for special events where output needs to halted to accomodate the situation.
Hope this helps,

Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:42 pm
I, too, take everything off when I am going to take a shower.  It's so wonderful to have time with it off and the water feels wonderful.  I have had this stoma long enough that I know when it is going to be active...and that's not when I want to be in the shower.  I do, however, have paper towels sitting outside of the shower stall so if I suddenly start pooping, I can grab a paper towel instead of it ending up on the shower stall floor.

And, although you are asking about men's clothing, I have the same concerns.  My stoma is sitting at my waist and sticks out.  Other than sweats, I have not found any type of pants I can wear for any extended amount of time.  

Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:18 pm
Have had my permanent colostomy for 15 years now.  Can give you much advice.
Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:09 am
I think you need to ask here
Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:32 am

I always put on a strictly and avoid any blunders! Good luck!

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