Swimming with an Ostomy: Worried about leaks and embarrassment

May 28, 2013 3:16 am

Well, I have an ostomy pouch since October of 2012. The doctor told me that in order to do the reversal, I would have to lose almost 25 lbs, which is very, very hard with holidays and life. Anyway, now we are approaching summer and I still have it. I am scared to put on a bathing suit and how do I go in the water? I have a pool and I don't want it to get loose and have feces all in the pool, never mind being embarrassed. I don't know what to do. So scared.

Green Eyed Lady
May 28, 2013 7:05 pm
Hi...I too have a pool and have an ileostomy for the past 5 years. I wear my wafer/bag under my bathing suit and everything is just fine. I wear a two-piece tankini that covers the wafer and just fold my bag so that it's not so visible from the outside. Sometimes I put the bag across my belly instead of down my leg. Anyway, I swim and shower all the time and have never had a problem with leakage or even breakdown of the wafer. Just today, my wafer/bag has been on for 7 days and that's with swimming and showering. Just try to hide the bag the best you can - and jump in and enjoy yourself. You'd be surprised to find out that others really can't see what you know is there. Oh, the tankini is because the top overlays the bottom and conceals the bulge more. Hope this might be of some help!!
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May 30, 2013 12:05 am
Hi Tinker and Green Eyed one. My folks own a home on a lake and have for 40 some years. I have always loved getting in the water and rafting, etc. Since my reversal of my ileostomy, I haven't had the opportunity to go swimming with a bag. It's been weighing heavy on my mind (and stomach. HA). Glad to hear there are no special tips to give on swimming in the pool/lake.
NOW... here's a question... Is it alright to go on roller coasters? I want to take the Grandkiddies to an amusement park but also want to be able to go on the rides. Is that possible, do you think? Without hurting the stoma?
Now... here's another question... When I go to vacation spas this summer, can I go in the steam room, massage room, cold water room, etc. Is it possible while wearing a bag? HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.. I know I'll have more for you later...
Here's another... Would it be useful to take a probiotic or is that like closing the barn door after the horse got out? More to follow. Thanks much. yayaya
May 30, 2013 8:49 pm

Yaya, I just got back from a trip to Disneyland and had no issues going on any of the rides there, including roller coasters. Also, I've been in steam rooms and cold water rooms. Haven't had a massage yet. Our budget for massages is 100% allocated to my wife.

Jun 01, 2013 2:45 am

I have read that it is advisable to wait until your stoma is dormant and the bag is empty before taking a dip. I have been in pools and heavy surf and never had a problem. Oh yes, never face a big wave head on and avoid body surfing at all costs. Have fun!

Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Jun 04, 2013 2:12 pm

I have had my ileostomy for 15 years and have gone in the pool, ocean, hot tub, sauna, and steam bath regularly ever since. I also wear a two-piece tankini - both for better camouflage of the ostomy pouch and also easier access when you need to empty it. I also wear a "swim wrap," a lycra band that covers the pouch so it doesn't peek out from the top of the swimsuit bottom - makes buying a bathing suit much easier since I don't have to find a style that's super high. I also use the swim wrap when I go in the sauna or steam bath, so I don't feel self-conscious or worry about keeping my towel over the pouch. A word of warning - the high heat often reduces the length of wear time for the pouch, so that is something to keep in mind. But definitely get out and enjoy the water!
Jun 11, 2013 5:16 pm

You have a pool??? Lucky you - get in that pool, Tinker! All will be well.

I would live in the water if I could. I have also been to spas/hot baths with no problem.

I have used extra products sometimes (when it is hot) - Sure Ring Seal and then strips of brown tape (sorry, threw out the name ... ask your supplier) over the edge of the seal.

When I'm in the water (not spa) a lot, I find that 3 days and I want to change my flange ... I usually get 7 with one bag change.

Hope that helps. And don't be scared about anyone 'seeing'. A tankini is my preferred suit ... making sure the bottoms are not high cut.

By the way - I had the same thoughts initially as you ... but the fact (for me) is that now NO fecal matter gets into any water I am in. When I had UC ... bleeding, gas, stool leakage ... I wouldn't bet on it.

All the best to you and your goal of losing 25 lbs.

Jul 23, 2013 3:20 am

Thanks all for the information. I have the cutest suit and can't wait to wear it!!! I guess I won't worry about water, swimming etc. What about massages? OK to lie on tummy? Whatcha think? Love to all... Jody

Jul 23, 2013 4:36 pm

I get a full Swedish massage every 4 or so weeks. Just ask for the 'natal cushions'. They're the ones used for pregnant ladies who get a massage, and they work perfectly for ostomates on their tummy ... the ostomy is in the indentation.

All the best to you ... and so glad you found a suit you like. Because let's face it ... for us gals THAT is the important thing.