Swimming in Dead Sea with an Ostomy?

Jul 02, 2014 1:53 pm

Hi all,

Just wondering if there are any ostomates who have traveled to Israel and swam in the Dead Sea. I know they warn people not to open their eyes under the water there because it is so concentrated with salt.

I wanted to know if anyone has swum in the water and felt any pain/severe stinging around their stoma due to the strong salt? I'm planning to swim/float there on my trip to Israel soon and wanted to know if I should prepare myself somehow?

Any advice/tips would be appreciated :)

Past Member
Jul 03, 2014 2:38 am

Hi! I was there a few years ago. It was amazing!! Don't splash in the water as you don't want to get any in your eyes or mouth. I accidentally splashed some on my face and it stung a little bit. Had no issues with my bag. They have showers there to wash the mud and salt off. One thing I did notice in Israel was that I became dehydrated rather quickly so drink lots of water. Have a fabulous time!!

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Jul 04, 2014 2:44 am

Hi OZ. We went to Israel and visited the Dead Sea three years ago this summer. I had absolutely no problems with my bag or stoma when swimming in the warm Mediterranean or wading in the Dead Sea. I don't think anyone can actually swim in the Dead Sea, however, because of the high salt content. You do not want to put your face into the water because your eyes will burn from the salt. The public beach we were at had fresh water showers right alongside the waterline and people came out of the water routinely to wash the stinging salt out of their eyes. Floating can be another problem because the sea's buoyancy makes it difficult to stand up from a floating position if you are in more than just a few feet of water. (Just imagine that your body was made entirely of cork.) There are signs at the beaches alerting you to this situation. Finally, Picket's advice about drinking lots of water is absolutely essential. You will need to stay well hydrated anywhere in the Middle East during the summer months.

With these cautions in mind, I am sure you will have a fabulous experience at the Dead Sea and leave feeling physically invigorated. (You can even buy a tub of mud and give yourself a therapeutic mud bath.) Let us know how it goes. Shalom.


Jul 05, 2014 4:05 am

Hi Oz,

I'm Marsha.....and I had a way different experience....but that was more than 25 years ago, before I started using the disposable wafer bags. I had a plastic wafer that needed the bonding cement, and it adhered to the body quite well. I swam and showered and still was able to keep it on for nearly a week.

Was in Israel for a tour (1990?) was excited about the Dead Sea experience....knew not to swallow the water or get it in my eyes. Got up to my knees, and just like PB said....I floated like a cork,

it's impossible to walk in it....but floating was fabulous. All was well, got out, did the mud rub...went to the showers to get rid of the mud, and then went into a dressing room with my change of clothes, and pulled down my bathing suit...and everything...and I do mean everything, fell off! WHAT A MESS! There I was, in the changing room, without access to the shower, covered with muddy "poop".@#^ ^

But I didn't fall apart or start to cry. I called for a friend (who knew about my surgery). She brought me wads of wet paper towels and plastic bags. I cleaned myself off in the changing room, bagged the SH-T, wrapped myself in a towel, sans appliance....got to the shower....cleaned the reusable pouch....cleaned off the plastic wafer...all while covering the stoma, catching the "flow". I finally made it to a toilet stall (with a cup of water and supplies) and managed to change.

The experience is probably what turned me grey early....but I have to say it prepared me for any possibility. Ironically, I've had "leaks", but have only had my appliance fall off twice in 50+ years. Since then, I've swum in oceans all over the world and snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef. I'm told that there "might" be a problem if I went scuba diving and went too deep.. Things can "pop" off? I haven't had the opportunity (as yet) to find out the answer to that question.

Have a wonderful trip.....enjoy the Dead Sea....bring "Tape", and drink plenty of water...


Jul 08, 2014 9:24 am

Hey - just to add a little... I was there a few years ago and was absolutely fine bobbing around, no real problems with my colostomy - that said, I was watertight... you'll certainly feel the sting in your armpits (and other sensitive bits too), but it's worth it for the experience.

Couple of other nuggets... the 'beach' was impossible to walk on, it was so incredibly hot when I was there (July) so make sure you have footwear right up to the water's edge. Also, be careful about the showers - if it's not been used for a while, the water can be scalding hot until it's run for a bit. A friend found this out to her cost... also, if you want a good holiday tan, I would go at the beginning of your holiday. The reason I say that is that I went at the end of a couple of weeks of good suntanning and it actually stripped away a number of layers of the beautiful brown skin! While I was smoother than a baby's bottom, I did come out significantly whiter than when I went in! (I think the mud helped with that too). It's advised that you only go in for 8 minutes at a time (from memory) - it's pretty corrosive stuff! Oh, and finally, if you can, I would climb (or take the cable car) up Mont Masada very early and watch the sunrise. It was magical - something I will not forget in a hurry...

Have a cracker!

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Jul 12, 2014 5:50 am

Hi PK,

Thanks for all your helpful advice. I'll be sure to take heed of all of it. And yes, I am also planning to visit Masada and watch the sunrise.

I just pray it will still be safe to travel next month :)

Jul 12, 2014 5:52 am

Thank you all for all of your advice. I hope it is safe to travel next month.

Deena :)

Jul 13, 2014 5:52 am

Oz. Of course we hope you will be safe traveling in Israel next month, but I suspect most of us are aware that you are going into a war zone where hundreds of rockets are fired back and forth daily between Gaza and Israeli cities. Now some are coming down from Lebanon. Before you go, please realize that chances of injury are much higher now than 6 months ago, and things are ratcheting up on a daily basis. You might be well advised to wait and see if attempts at securing some sort of a cease fire could be productive in a matter of a few more months.


Past Member
Jul 13, 2014 8:30 am

Agree with PB, safety first and check the Smart Traveller website that has daily updates (which you no doubt are already doing).

"There's no place like home" for holidays after all, seeing as you are already in Oz!


Oct 17, 2014 11:33 am

Soooooo.....!!! How was it? Hope you had a cracking and safe time!

Oct 11, 2018 6:43 am

Hi... I am Chirag from India... I am also having permanent ileostomy since 2016... Finding a vegetarian soulmate...

Dec 22, 2022 4:19 pm

Hi all. Just for those who might be going- I have just been and my bag stayed stuck fast, no problems. I used, as I do always anyway, these semicircular sticky bits that essentially extend the sticky base and felt more secure with that. So get stuck in if you're going, just wash the bag off well in the shower as the salt is pretty harsh and I'd not want to leave it to eat into it.