Swimming with an Ostomy: Tips and Diet Advice

Aug 31, 2012 10:00 pm

Hello there, everyone.
Once again I'm compelled to ask a question about how some of you handle a particular situation, i.e. swimming.
My mother had irreversible ileostomy surgery almost 2 years ago. Before she had the surgery, she enjoyed going to the local YMCA to swim.
During the first year, she had some accidents, in the form of the bag leaking or falling off. She now thinks she can no longer swim, and she actually started to cry about this, recently.
Do any of you swim? I'm sure that many ostomates do! So what can she do? I think she's afraid of an accident in the pool.
She's almost 80 and will never come to terms with the bag. She's given up many of the foods she enjoyed before the surgery, too. It breaks my heart to see her giving up so much.
Any input you can give me, especially regarding swimming, would be appreciated, as well as diet info.
Thank you.

Aug 31, 2012 10:42 pm

Hi, I am 51 and have had an irreversible ileostomy for over 3 years. I don't care to swim, but I think your mom may have a better chance of resuming her love of swimming if she is using a one-piece drainable pouch, then going over the "cloth" outer part with waterproof tape. I get my tape through Byram when I get my other supplies. It is also known as "Hi-Tape".
Also, if she wears a looser fitting suit that might help. Hope this may help...

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Sep 01, 2012 1:10 am

I don't know what an ileostomy is. I have a colostomy and wear a two-piece appliance. I sometimes stay in the pool for two hours at a time. A few weeks ago, I did that and wore the same wafer for five more days before I changed it.

Sep 03, 2012 9:40 am

Having an ileostomy does not affect getting in the pool!!!!
Please tell your mom not to give up swimming. She may like to talk to her Ostomy Nurse about this and she would tell her not to worry.
I have had my ileostomy for the last 12 weeks and I started getting in the pool as soon as my stitches closed. I keep the ostomy belt on at all times, including when I swim. Additionally, as an extra measure, I wrap my waist with press-on seal plastic. I also wear a protective undergarment that prevents my bag from moving. This keeps it in place and adds confidence. Then, I am ready to put on my bathing suit.
I enjoy very much getting in the water and it is great exercise. Please tell your mom not to give up.

Sep 10, 2012 1:50 pm

I have had my ileostomy for years, (colostomy prior to the ile.). I did water exercise at the local YWCA for years. I wear a one-piece drainable pouch, which I picture framed with pink tape, then I put on a spandex-type undergarment. I also wear an ostomy belt. I even would sit and visit friends in the hot tub prior to class. No problems. Tell mom to get back in the water, it is great exercise.

Staying Hydrated with an Ostomy with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Sep 10, 2012 3:28 pm

I am a man and facing the same situation now. I wear a 2-piece appliance and would like to start swimming again. I have the same concerns your mom has. I plan on eating a low residue meal before swimming, fish or chicken. I also plan to have several marshmallows which work for me in reducing output. I will also tape the edges of the wafer.
I would suggest that she not swim on the same day she changes her appliance. I wear a suit that is a little baggy but plan to wear a pair of boxer briefs to keep my bag in place. You could also fashion an elastic type band to put around her waist to keep the bag in place and closer to her body.
Good luck. Hope it works. And your mom should feel lucky that she had her surgery and is able to enjoy her family daily. I had my surgery in 2001 and if they had not found the cancer then, I would not be here giving some advice.
Good luck.

A stoma named Oscar
Sep 10, 2012 3:32 pm
Hey Bikergrammy,

I would first like to say hello! I'm new here but would like to give and get support. I was reading your topic and you made me think back to when I first went swimming with my illy. I used to love swimming and I sort of gave it up too. I had a really bad experience and it came off in my pool (I wasn't paying attention! LOL I was lucky that I have a pool at my house). Gah, I don't mean to discourage if I did, you should definitely get back to what you enjoy, and swimming is great. I went searching and I did find a belt that the guy goes swimming in. I talked to him some and ordered one, I can let you know how it works when I receive it. The video shows him swimming just like normal if you want to check it out. The product is PouchWear or OstomyBagHolder.com. Hope it helps!
Sep 10, 2012 3:32 pm

I have had an ileostomy since 1961. I never gave up swimming as a teenager and still go swimming, snorkeling, etc. on a regular basis. I have a continent ostomy now, but when I had the conventional bag, I just bought a very light support "girdle" - called support garment now. Made sure my pouch was on securely, wore the "girdle," and went to the ocean or the pool. She should be able to do this too. Best of luck to her and remind her that without this lifesaving surgery, she wouldn't even be here to think about swimming!

C Cogan
Sep 10, 2012 6:42 pm

Hi Biker Granny: I am in my late seventies like your mother and have never resumed swimming since my colostomy three years ago. All these positive responses have given me new hope. One of my problems is that my Convatec wafer comes loose so thanks for the tape idea. I would like to meet your mother. Thanks for your post. Cynthia

Sep 10, 2012 7:18 pm

Would you please post the exact site address for the belt you mentioned. I tried combinations of what you posted but don't seem to be getting any place.
Thanks for your help.

Sep 11, 2012 2:37 am

I am coming up on my second anniversary of my surgery, and like many of you, I was somewhat unsure of swimming, and last year had some issues keeping my appliance on, even when I wasn't swimming. I found that my problem with my wafer was my skin underneath became irritated, and it took some time and patience to get it cleared up. Now I keep my wafer on for a week at a time, using Securi-T hydrocolloid skin barrier strips, and also taped the outside. I use a two-piece system from Convatec - Sure Fit Natura, which clicks in place, so I feel very secure. For swimming, I change my bag to a closed-end bag so I don't have to worry about a clip coming undone. I've been swimming for close to 2 years now with no issues or leaks. I also have a Spanx swimsuit that keeps my bag tight for extra insurance, but have recently started wearing a normal suit with no issues.

Monsieur Le President
Sep 20, 2012 6:17 pm
As long as you are otherwise fit, you can undertake any sporting (or non-sporting) activity you like.
You are in control of your life, and your bag, don't let it control you.
Jan 29, 2013 3:09 am

If you use a bag with a vent, you don't have to worry about gas build-up. Much more comfortable and less worry of bag becoming loose from pressure.

Jan 29, 2013 9:35 pm

rubdoctor, Hi, I don't know if this is the exact place the original person got the belt spoken of but this is what I found when I tried to search for ostomy bag holder.com, check it out.
Well, I keep trying to use the hyperlink to add the information but when I go to preview I don't see it so I am going to type it out. OstomyBagHolder.com hope it helps.