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Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:41 pm
Hi Everyone,< > Has anybody had any trouble with customs? I went on holiday last month & when I came home the customs lady requested to see my colostomy, she made me remove the bag so she could see, it was very embarrasing & knocked my confidence, it was my first holiday with my stoma.< > has anybody else had any trouble with customs.< >
Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:05 pm
i recently travelled with my colostomy for the first time as well. and i was just upfront about it. about what i was carrying, like my scissors and what not. i just told the TSA before they checked me. i didn't want to go through the x ray machine thingy cuz I've had so much radiation don't need more. just let them know and they shouldn't have made you take you're bag off.
Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:17 am

That is just sad. My trip to Mexico was incident free going there and back. I did have a Doctors note just in case. It seems some people in authorty (customs) believe they are above everything and do what ever they want. I hope if I was in your situation I would have asked to see a supervisor.

Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:41 pm

I have a few clear bags that I prefer not using, but I will use them when traveling by air for that reason.

Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:29 pm

I have been to various states and countries without any problems. Contact TSA and Customs and file a complaint! NO ONE is supposed to be subjected to such a search when they inform the agents of the ostomy.

You might also contact UOAA Advoacy about your problem.

Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:51 pm

Hi Tricia, the action of the customs officer is an absolute disgrace. You should both lodge a formal complaint and publicise their actions. If queried at customs I tell them what the item is and if they go any further I say "if you do not know what I am telling you please request an airport medical practitioner to attend". Once again, that officer's actions are intolerable and deplorable.

Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:07 pm

I have had an oleo stormy for 15 yrs, traveled extensively, and have never had a problem with customs or TSA. You can get a copy of a card from the UOAA site which you should carry with you. If you go through the scanner the appliance can be visualized, but if you emptied the pouch just before you are scanned you probably won't have a problem. Most often an agent will be called for a pat down (no big deal) and you will then be asked me o touch your abdominal area after which your hands will be swabbed and tested for chemical reaction for explosive substance (again, no big deal). I have never been detained more than a very few minutes.  TWA agents receive special sensitivity training (read travel info on UOAA); if you were asked to show your Ostomy you really should repot it- this should NEVER happen.  Ostomate and RN.


Thu Jun 25, 2015 11:46 pm

Hi Tricia,

I've had my ostomy for over 50 years, and have traveled all over the country ,and all over the world during the last 25...US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Japan, China, South Africa, Australia...and more Caribean countries than I can count.   NEVER, has anyone ever asked to see my pouch, much less remove it. As far as  I'm concerned,  That's grounds for "suing" unless they suspected you of having a bomb in your pouch.  Whatever airline that was....I would get on the phone, and get something out of least an apology and a free flight.   I've gotten more for less intrusive behaviour.   Last year, on my way to Australia, they made me go through the x ray machine again....I guess they weren't sure of what they were seeing.   Then they asked me if I could pull my pants up higher.   Just to be perverse....I looked the woman in the eye, and said no I couldn't.  She didn't do anything about it...perhaps because I was using a wheel chair assistance, as I had injured my leg earlier in the year  and didn't want to stress it out with a long trek to the boarding gate.  

What you went through is definitely NOT the usual treatment, and the person(s) who did that to you should be reprimanded at the least.

Don't let it stop you from traveling.

Best regaards, Marsha



Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:31 am

OMG!! I can't imagine what you were put through. What country were you in? Since it was TSA, then I guess here in US?

I agree with some of the other comments that you should contact TSA and file a complaint. I would have also asked for the name and badge # of the TSA agent. In addition, contacting the UOAA is also a very good idea.

I have travelled so much and still plan on doing a lot more travelling. Since they have put in the xray machines, they can usually detect that I have something in that area. When I tell them that I have an ostomy, they just make me wipe my hand on my outer clothing and then they swipe my hand with something that I guess determines if it's anything explosive. I have shown the card a couple of times but it didn't seem to matter.

This news is very concerning to me because now I will always worry when I go through TSA if they will do the same to me.

I wonder if it would help to have a doctors note that says we have an ostomy and keep a picture and explanation of what one is? Just a thought. I think I will do this for myself.

Safe Travels

Past Member
Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:30 pm

Hey Tricia, that is absolutely horrific how you were treated at customs!  I contacted the Ostomy Association and asked for a travel card.  This was recommended to me by my Ostomy Nurse before I left the hospital.  They issued me a card that explains the situation and that I will have supplies necessary for the care of my Ostomy.  I just got the info off of Google.  I hope that you are okay now after being treated so badly.  Take care!

Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:59 pm

Hello Tricia  I'm sorry to hear about your travelling experiences.  I travel regularly by air and I often tell the customs officer (female is favourite) on the xray machine that I have a stoma and have to carry my adhesive remover spray etc in my cabin luggage. Then it goes through ok.  I keep my Disability Rights UK and Amcare cards ready just in case as they state I have a medical condition and may need urgent access to facilities.  I haven't needed them though. I hope you don't have trouble again. Happy holidays!

Sun Jun 28, 2015 7:32 am
tricia63 wrote:
Hi Everyone, Has anybody had any trouble with customs? I went on holiday last month & when I came home the customs lady requested to see my colostomy, she made me remove the bag so she could see, it was very embarrasing & knocked my confidence, it was my first holiday with my stoma. has anybody else had any trouble with customs.

Hi Tricia, Rosiesmom here. How sad that you had to be subjected to such ignorance. I just returned from Europe and I am happy to report that I had no issues,the most I was required to do was pass my own hand over my pouch then they swabbed my hand and tested the swab. In London one checker wantd to touch me and the other one told her not to. You see we do have rights and you should have been given a leaflet  by your ostomies nurse explaining them I also have a card that I can show that says I am an ostomies patient I keep it with my passport, again sorry for your experience I hope it will not deter. You. Not all customs agents are so mean and stupid

Sun Jun 28, 2015 12:49 pm


like Marsha I am a long term Baggie and have travelled extensively including to 3rd world countries & have NEVER even been subjected to any such checks

you must object as strongly as possible to your airline or travel company for the sake of all of us

Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:26 am

This is the one I use. It is in 5 languages. I have only used it once in Mexico.

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