Swimming and Hiking with an Ostomy: Need Advice!

Apr 14, 2013 8:38 pm

I have so many questions. I hear about people swimming and wearing normal clothes. I usually have bulk in my ostomy bag that sticks out and I empty it a dozen times a day. I am wearing very large tops and elasticized pants. I would love to swim but cannot imagine. I know after a meal it is worse but.... And I am a hiker but how do I empty it on the trail? Take my own container?? Thanks for any help.

Past Member
Apr 15, 2013 11:25 am

Dig a small hole?

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Apr 15, 2013 3:38 pm

I have always thought that the adjustment takes time for everyone but happens. I wear regular jeans, but I will grant that they are not skin tight. I wouldn't have worn skin tight jeans before anyway. Maybe I, more often than not, wear the shirt or sweatshirt or whatever outside and not tucked in, but it doesn't matter and I doubt anyone has ever really noticed. Basically, I wear what I want and go where I want and do what I want. I may make some adjustments to manage it, but that's okay. I have never gone on any hikes long enough to have to worry about it myself, so I can't be of any help except to say I imagine I would improvise and figure something out just like with everything else. Best wishes.

Apr 15, 2013 11:53 pm
I have many of the same concerns....I have had my ostomy for a month now, and am still wearing sweatpants that can lie under my waistline and big bulky shirts. My stoma is right on my waistline and I cannot imagine putting jeans right over it would be very comfortable! Also, I have an ileostomy with a lot of output, so I am wearing a high output pouch that is much longer than other pouches and hangs down even out of the big bulky t-shirts. I also have to empty several times a day! I have had trouble making myself go out in public due to all of this....I feel like I look like a bum and I am so afraid I am going to spring a leak! However, I will say that I am comfortable, and to me, that is more important. As far as swimming goes....I don't see myself putting on a bathing suit and going swimming with this ever...it seems like it would be impossible to cover it up!
Apr 16, 2013 2:17 am

Jamie and Redrock, I am very sorry that this is still new, and I think you feel what we all feel when it is new. My memories of it are vague now that I have had my ileostomy for well over twenty years now, but I can remember being unsure of what to expect. But please rest assured, the adjustment happens, and hopefully the day will come when you know what you can and can't eat without issues. Make sure you have your spare supplies for unexpected events and feel safe, etc. I do honestly wear what I want and do what I want. If need be, which has been rare, especially once you learn the signs a change is needed before a full-fledged leak happens, a quiet discreet change can be made in the nearest restroom in a few minutes with no one being the wiser unless you tell them. And even better news is that if a leak happens and you must make your excuses to also change clothes, you control how the people around you act as well. If you are relaxed and calm about it, they will be also. Most of the time, they won't even know if you don't tell them yourself.
So it is my hope for you both that you will give yourselves time to adjust and learn your own systems so you can start having positive experiences around whoever you choose, wherever and whenever you choose. I have had that time and can honestly say that I forget the ostomy is even there most of the time unless I need to check it or change it. I hope you can find that kind of acceptance in your own time.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
Monsieur Le President
Apr 18, 2013 10:24 am

Carry on hiking.
What did you do before your ileo when you needed the toilet?
Just empty in a place where you can't be seen and cover it over.
Animals do it all over in the wild.
As long as you are comfy, wear what you want.
Life gets better, particularly if you had a long period of illness.

Past Member
Apr 23, 2013 3:56 am
I agree with Bremen313. It takes time to adjust. I wear what I want and I wear skin-tight jeans too! I bought a great bathing suit, paid a little extra for it, but am very happy with it. There are some great retro-style bathing suits available now with high waists, built-in skirts, etc. You will learn tricks with clothes and what works for you. I think leggings are the best things ever made! You can wear them under skirts, large shirts, and they hold everything in. I have traveled with people, stayed in the same room, and they never knew I had an ostomy. You are so aware of things right now, but you will get used to it.
Apr 23, 2013 9:21 pm

Jamie - It just feels good to know someone else is in the same situation. I hiked 2 hours yesterday and today did one hour of an abbreviated Pilates private class. Both worked well. I am dealing with an ostomy on the front and a fistula with a bag on my back. It is hard to believe I will ever swim laps again or canoe or go on all-day hikes but I keep hoping.

Apr 24, 2013 2:07 am

I can't wear the skin-tight jeans, or goo will squirt out the side, even if I use tape. My jeans are comfy and have room for the bag-when I find a brand that fits particularly well-that's all I buy. I only wear a one-piece swimsuit with the little skirt thing that covers up any bulge. I try to be sure I just don't eat before so very little in the bag if any. If I am at the gym and someone SEES my stoma, I just tell them it's a stoma, and they're usually too embarrassed to ask what that really means, but if someone asks, I give them the quick version. Children are particularly interested and curious in summer settings, and I just tell them that I was very sick, and now I go poo-poo in a bag, instead of like they go, and kids don't think anything about it-at least that's been my experience. Although I have an ileostomy, if people do ask, I just say it's just like a colostomy, as so many people seem to understand the colostomy concept. Hang in there. I've had mine since 1990, and I travel and do more than I did when I had UC and I'm in my early 60's.