Pants with a bag: How to manage?

Jul 13, 2013 6:54 pm

So I've never had it explained to me, and it makes me feel a little foolish for having to ask, but how do you manage wearing pants with a bag? I always wind up leaving my bag to hang outside my pants because I keep worrying that it'll fill up too fast and burst if I tuck it into my pants--since it wouldn't be able to drain into the lower part of the bag. Recently I've been wearing longer shirts and can tuck the end up into the top of my pants, but it still hangs down and can be seen from time to time. I mostly have jeans, and when I work, sweats won't exactly be an option with my uniform. So... Help please? Haha.

Past Member
Jul 13, 2013 7:46 pm

One main function of the site is to ask such questions without fear or shame.

With your uniform, can you do suspenders?

My placement is at a good point below my belt line, so I can keep it in my pants as it were.

You also find the following helpful regarding tips and tricks:

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Slow momma
Jul 14, 2013 6:54 pm

I have wondered the same thing... I asked the ones from the local ostomy group I have talked to and they just say they wear their pants and belt loose and don't have a problem. But my problem is my ostomy had to be moved and it's at my waistline now and I have no idea how I will ever wear pants or shorts or anything around my waist... I don't want to have to dress like Steve Uriel lol!!


Snookis Mum
Jul 16, 2013 12:41 am

I wear pants all the time - I just make sure that the waistband and the area around the hips are fairly loose. I've had my ostomy for two years, and have only had a couple of times when I sprung a leak. I just make sure that I keep it emptied as much as possible. I have a vent at the top so if it fills up with gas, I just open the vent and let it out. (Yes, I use a lot of Osto-Fresh)

Jul 16, 2013 1:22 am

I've now had my stoma for over 17 years and pants have always been a problem for me too. I've always worked jobs where I was able to wear pretty much anything I want, so that would usually be a nice pair of sweatpants or some really loose-fitting slacks with an elastic waistband. My stoma is a bit high, so wearing jeans is pretty much not possible because I can't get the waistband higher than my appliance and there just isn't much room at all for the bag to expand when wearing jeans. So I'm left with the only options of wearing really loose-fitting pants that I can easily get above my stoma and still have plenty of room for everything down below the waist, LOL, or wearing some suspenders like an old man (which I'm not quite ready for yet, haha).

Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Jul 16, 2013 1:56 am

I have had an ostomy for 14 years and from the beginning I have found that if you wear 2 pairs of underwear the second one will cover it and it is very comfortable. This way I do not need a bag cover. I use the opaque beige bags and have not had any problems.

Jul 16, 2013 2:33 am

First off - never feel foolish about asking questions. There are no wrong questions! I have had my ileostomy for 42+ years and then just this spring had it repositioned on the other side of my abdomen. What I have done all these years was to wear bikini briefs and then my pants or even a pair of boxers over the bag before pulling my pants or shorts on - so bikini briefs and boxers both. Seems to work fine for me.
Frankly, I'm more a nudist and finally got into commando - no undies - once I was used to the feeling of a full bag and when I needed to empty it. Hope this helps. Take care!!! Tom

Jul 16, 2013 2:55 am

Buy a stealth belt or similar that holds your bag sideways above your pants. Worth every penny.

Jul 16, 2013 2:58 am

I wear tight clothes all the time. The tighter the better, keeps the bag close to my body, it doesn't flop around or pull as it fills. I just wear high waisted jeans/pants so the waistband doesn't sit right on my stoma, thankfully those are back in style. Tight sweater dresses or skirts I wear Spanx an extra size smaller. You can feel as it starts to fill, I just empty often (every time I pee). I've never had it burst or leak. Good luck.

Jul 16, 2013 2:59 am

I am 47 years old and have had an ostomy since fourth grade. In my youth, I would wear jeans or anything else. Today, I prefer sweatpants.

Jul 16, 2013 3:36 am

I find yoga pants with the turn down top the best...I leave the top up instead of folding it down. Hope this helps... I buy larger sizes too for extra comfort.

Jul 16, 2013 4:03 am

I've had my ostomy for over 30 years and you need to wear what is comfortable for you. When I first got my ostomy, I thought I'd never wear normal pants again. All the people at the ostomy group were old and they all wore old people polyester pants. I thought I was doomed. Then, I got a visit from a younger woman who was wearing jeans and she showed me that she was wearing a bag. That gave me hope. Yoga pants are the best, if you can wear them to the workplace. Also, pants with a stretchy waist are good, but I also wear jeans, but when I do, I am more careful about checking my bag, since jeans are tight-fitting. I always wear long tops that cover my abdomen so, just in case there is a problem, it is not obvious to anyone else. I've had some real mishaps at times, but have never ended up with an embarrassing situation (although I've come close). I tend to be more comfortable wearing dark colored pants. When I wear white jeans or shorts, I check my bag more often. I'm thinking about trying some maternity pants, since I now have severe acid reflux and have a lot of bloating in the evening which is uncomfortable. Hope this helps!

Past Member
Jul 16, 2013 4:08 am

Boxer shorts and loose-fitting pants with pockets.

Jul 16, 2013 4:10 am

I have an ileostomy and am celebrating my anniversary this month (July 2012). I have always worn mine inside my pants. I don't wear dresses because of my legs. I wear mine inside my undergarments. I wear gauze pads under my bag so it doesn't make me sweat. I wear a belt attached to my appliance. I have never had a blowout while dressed and in public. I think a lot of this depends on what you eat. I don't know if all of this would work for a man. My stoma is in line with my belly button. I have thought about trying a "bella" band as an alternative to the belt. Sometimes you have to try several different appliances to find what works for you. Good luck with all of it.

Past Member
Jul 16, 2013 9:54 am
Hi Sven,
I know the problem. I had a colostomy 3 years ago and have pretty much given up wearing normal trousers (pants?) with a belt. I wear high-waisted trousers with braces, with a shirt on top or bib and brace dungarees for work...... totally comfortable and with the bag tucked away out of sight, it's out of mind. It works for me.

These are what I wear:
They're pricey, but you can get similar things from vintage shops/eBay etc.

Good luck,
Jul 16, 2013 11:02 am

How do you keep the top of the pouch from ballooning out when part of it is tucked in your pants?

Past Member
Jul 16, 2013 11:31 am

Hi Sven, I've had a colostomy since 2007. I was miserable with the filling up, the leakage, the odor, what to wear, close end or open end pouch, the output occurring day and night, and the mental toll it does to you. The solution you may want to look into is irrigation. This has given my life back, and I can wear whatever I want. Loose shirts, t-shirts, fitted shirts, low-rise jeans or pants, etc. For me, irrigation takes about 30-40 minutes before work or going to the gym, and I don't worry about the bag filling up during the day. When I go to the beach, I wear a patch (4"x4"), it looks like a large bandaid. Google irrigation/colostomy and learn about it. Good luck, take care!

Jul 16, 2013 12:12 pm

Do a search for CUI Wear, they do some high-waisted underpants with a built-in pocket to accommodate your pouch. They come in either right or left hand or both sides pouches and are comfortable to wear too. I have been using their boxer shorts for a number of years now.

Jul 16, 2013 1:03 pm

Have you ever tried irrigating your ostomy? I irrigate daily now, and it has been a life saver! Output rarely ever comes out during the day until the next time I irrigate. It is wonderful, it is almost like life before the colostomy, almost... But it provides a freedom where you can wear mostly normal clothes, you don't have to worry about leaks, you can wear smaller appliances, and you don't have to empty the bag throughout the day. Talk to your doc and try it out, highly recommend it.

TB Cat
Jul 16, 2013 2:00 pm

I am a male and wear pants all the time. To solve the ostomy bag problem, I also wear a homemade pouch on the outside of my pants made from a handkerchief with an elastic band (from an old pair of briefs) to hold and support the bag as it fills up. This is very comfortable to wear. Doctors and nurses I visit tell me this is something they have never seen and I need to start making and selling these to other ostomates.
As for shirts, I wear long ones with straight tails and don't tuck them in. Normally the pouch/bag is covered but sometimes the pouch becomes visible. Not a big deal.

Spike Rainbow
Jul 16, 2013 7:45 pm

1. Try men's boxer shorts, the trunk style which are closer fitting and deeper from waist to crotch (even for ladies), as they hold the bag securely with enough room to fill.
2. You can get (depending on your location, I'm in the UK) underwear on prescription which has a pouch inside to support the bag.

Hope this helps.

Never feel daft asking questions, unless you ask how will you get the answer! We are all in the same boat and will all ask questions or try to give answers at some point.

Jul 16, 2013 9:42 pm

When I wear jeans, I wear them below the bag. But when I wear sweatpants or shorts with an elastic waist, I pull them up over the bag and wear them old man style! In the summer, it is really hard to disguise the bag under a t-shirt, especially the two-piece bags. I am always afraid I am going to get stopped when leaving a store and accused of trying to smuggle out a can of tuna. Cool weather is better since you can layer your clothes.

Jul 16, 2013 10:01 pm

Hi, I've had mine for 10 years. I wear a one-piece bag, with a glue wafer and paste, then I wear 2 underwear. I wear everything, bathing suits, yoga pants, tight jeans, dresses etc. I feel more uncomfortable when it's not tight to me because it feels like it's pulling off when it gets full if my pants are loose. I use a belt only for an hour after I change my bag, just to get all the pieces stuck on good. This is my first post. I've never spoken to anyone who had an ileostomy before. This is great, I didn't realize how every person is different, especially what they can eat. I eat everything, which is awesome after 20 years of pain and food restrictions.

Jul 16, 2013 11:32 pm

Try going to the site of Ostomysecrets. They have great underwear for ostomates. I've been using this for 2 years and it's a lifesaver. They also have one for guys and my guy friend swears by it. If you like it loose, you can buy one size bigger, but mine really fits. When I use it, I feel almost normal and can do exercises and swimming with it. No one in my family knows except my husband. Try it, and for me, it's a lifesaver. Take care!

Jul 17, 2013 2:28 am

Ileostomy since 2010. I have found the best for me is a pair of bib overalls. Here in the rural area of Minnesota, they are quite common so I never felt out of place. Very comfortable to wear and when I empty the pouch, the side buttons give me plenty of room. Also, I never have to drop my pants if the stall is winter sloppy. My wife also sewed some pockets into my boxers that keep the plastic on the pouch away from my skin, much cooler that way.

Best of luck to ya,

Jul 17, 2013 6:51 pm


You lucky boy! So, you get to wear a uniform (so did I, before I retired) but my uniform was surgical scrubs and the tops of those may be worn tucked or untucked. Does your uniform require that you wear your shirt tucked in? Here's an idea (I do this with my shirts that I tuck in - mostly T-shirts or undershirts). Cut a slit in the shirt and pull the bag through the slit so it hangs on the outside. If it has to be covered, wear a jacket or sweater over it. But why in the world would it have to be covered? It is not as if you were walking around with your penis hanging out. Why in the world would you (or anyone, for that matter) be embarrassed by a visible ostomy bag? You do know, don't you, that bags are available with nice tan covers (which are not transparent) so that the public does not need to see what is in that bag.

That other suggestion I saw here about using irrigation is another great idea, though I've never felt the need to try it. But I do know of ostomates who do irrigate and they seem really pleased with the results.

Jul 17, 2013 7:53 pm

You can also purchase special undergarments to help with holding your bag in place. I buy from Ostomysecrets ( and they sell undergarments for males and females. I have never worn my bag outside of my pants as there is no support and it would be too revealing. I wear a lot of exercise pants, yoga pants, etc. around the house and for PJs. I buy a size bigger for comfort. Hopefully some of these ideas will be helpful...

Jul 17, 2013 11:25 pm

Hello, sorry to hear about your health issues. I want to recommend a young lady's story to you. Go to YouTube, her name is OstomyStory. I believe her story and videos will inspire you as they have inspired myself. Good luck.

Jul 18, 2013 12:16 pm

I wear wraps - there are a lot of companies online that sell them - Ostomysecrets and to name a couple. They work great! Also, they can be used for intimacy purposes, which I prefer a wrap to a pouch cover for (that way you can't see any of my gnarly scars, either LOL). I prefer the Awestomy wraps because they aren't as expensive as Ostomysecrets and also they seem to fit me better - they are wider and my stoma is situated like parallel to my belly button so it's kind of high. I wear all kinds of usually tight clothes and no one can ever tell I have an ileostomy. I did order the bikini bottom from Ostomysecrets and I can tell every woman reading this right now - it was kind of expensive, but SO FREAKIN WORTH IT!!!! It fits great and NO ONE could tell you had an ostomy. I wear a bikini at the beach all the time and no one would be the wiser. Definitely one of the best investments in ostomy wear I've made so far.

Jul 20, 2013 12:15 pm

It seems I am the minority here. My stoma is pretty high, read: belly button level, if not, a tiny bit higher. I always wear my pants under and below the bag. I have started wearing camisole shirts all the time and really long shirts. I have found, for ladies, maternity shirts are great because they are longer.