Diving with a Colostomy: Tips and Advice?


I am 2 months into having a colostomy. I am a scuba diver and I researched the issue of having a colostomy and diving and found that DAN ok's diving with a bag. My question is how physically to do it? As in, do I remove the bag while diving? Is there special bags for this? I asked my surgeon and he recommended diving naked...lol. If anyone has anything to add, it would be greatly appreciated.

Hello crusader. Scuba diving is great fun but there are many hazards which need to be carefully considered if you are not to end up as crab bait.  My own feeling is that wearing a bag is a minor problem compared with the other risks involved in these types of sports. I would suggest that first of all you look into irrigation - and if it works for you the problem of bags would be irrelevant as you could either wear nothing or wear a plug.  If this is not the route you wish to take then you could have a range of bags that you try one by one until you find one that suits you.
Talking of suits -- if you wear a wet-suit you might like to try a stomaguard so that the contents are less likely to pancake. Best wishes in your diving Bill

Thanks Bill, I will investigate these 2 options with my Dr/ET's as I'm just a couple months into my colostomy and not sure what that means? Yes, diving is great fun and something I'm not willing to give up after enjoying for so many years. Best wishes, Mike

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Thanks Johnny, that is a lot of good info. I will check out that website when I get time.


Just go for it!!! I have worn an appliance ("bag") for over thirty years, having an ileostomy due to colon cancer. I am PADI certified and enjoy the deep blue frequently. My appliance gives me no problems....mainly because the bag actually "shrinks" due to the different water pressure. If you pay attention to your dive tables...you will find that if you empty the appliance prior to entering the water you will be good for the entire dive. Enjoy diving!!!

Staying Hydrated with an Ostomy with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Crusader, you might want to check out Cymed's Microskin system. They are made for people with very active lifestyles, waterproof. Definitely do not give up anything because of your colostomy. Enjoy the freedom you have from having to interrupt your activities running to use the toilet. I love it, can work outside, garden, split wood, clean house, have a conversation with someone, do grocery shopping, etc. while doing my business at the same time!! Good luck and have fun!!


Boy, Buck, you seem to have a very active life and no problems with the bag. I only wish I could say the same, but after 3 years and pain most of the time, I have given up the thought of finding help for this horrible mess. I only wish from the beginning I had someone that just knew what they were doing so I could have had a better understanding of how to stop the pain. My colostomy is so low that I can't see it without using a hand mirror to look, and then I have the use of only one hand to apply the wafer, so that may be one problem. Well, kudos to you. Thanks for answering my blog, Joyce.


Scuba diving, no problemo. Been doing it for years. Just make sure that you're not in a heavily active "producing cycle" you know... pooping, and make sure your bag is empty and "Have at It Man." I've been in the water for hours without problems.


Thanks Tim, I plan to start diving again real soon.


Mr. Scuba,

The reason why your surgeon suggested diving naked is because of all the scuba gear that may tear your bag off. He may be thinking that your stoma may fare better "naked" or exposed rather than having your bag twist, turn, and be pulled by everything that you wear to dive. My father was a scuba diver for 27 years and I was not, but I have had my bag for over 50 years and I do take it off when I am at the beach because in the ocean, even my swimsuit can tug or tear at the bag because I have had my bag for so long. The surgeons (of my day) suggested no clothing below the waist - and that is how I grew up. If your dive mates are okay with you having no bag or nudity, AND you are completely healed from your surgery, your stoma should be tough enough to stand up to the abuse of diving equipment. My rule of thumb is: the less clothes, the better. PS say "HI" to Nemo for me if you choose to take my advice. Respectfully submitted, ostomate.


I've had my ostomy since 1985 and didn't begin scuba diving until the 1990s. I have never had a problem. I used to pierce my bag with a small gauge needle prior to diving. Now I use a bag with a filter, so I would not even have to do that. I don't eat a lot prior to diving, just enough to sustain me, and have another bag to change into.

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