Wearing Pants/Skirts with an Ostomy: Need Advice!



Hi everyone, I still can't figure out how to wear pants. If I wear them too low, it pushes up on the adhesive when I sit and loosens the base. If I wear them just above my ostomy bag, they pull down on the stoma and I get blisters at the base of my stoma. Can anyone explain to me how they deal with wearing pants? If the pants are too tight, then how does the stool make it to the bottom of the bag? I feel as if I need to bring back the MC Hammer parachute pants. LOL Even sweats that are too bulky weigh on it and aggravate my stoma.

Winter will be here before we know it, and I would like to be prepared for it. I have heard of maternity pants that work pretty good, but I can't seem to wrap my head around this yet. I am still in a phase of acceptance and adjustment. I come from the beach area, and when I was young, hardly ever wore pants. Midi skirts were my thing. Maybe I will have to go back to this style, but then there is the issue of the weight of the skirt above the stoma. Do most of us wear the bag on the outside of our pants/skirts? In the pictures, I can't tell unless the shirt is tucked in. Even this makes me think how lucky that person is being able to conceal their bag. Ah! the little things in life.

P.S. I am 11 weeks post-op and have a right-sided ileostomy just below the belly button level. Do people have their stoma moved to a different area for comfort? It seems like a hell of a thing to go through just to wear clothes that fit. Anyway, any insight would be great.

Thanks to everyone, this site has truly helped. I am so grateful to everyone here.


This might not help, but I wear trousers which are bigger than I need and wear braces (suspenders, if American). My trousers hang loose with plenty of room for my bag. Then wear a loose top over the braces if you want to cover them up. Hope it helps


Hi Nagual, I've had my ileo for about 30 years and pretty much always wore elastic waist exercise pants from Nike or Adidas. But I think the problem might be that your surgery was recent and the skin under your wafer is getting irritated. I wear the waistband right across the top of the wafer and it squeezes in, not down. Good luck, hope you find something that works for you.

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Since my colostomy 4 years ago, I tend to wear a lot of yoga pants, skirts, and dresses and then change into loose PJ pants when I get home. Dress pants have to be a size larger than normal. Anything with pockets or needing a belt can interfere with my appliance. I've heard of wearing maternity pants but haven't tried that yet. Maybe try a pair on the next time you go shopping and see how it feels. I do wear longer tops, jackets, and cardigans to cover any bulges/lines. Unfortunately, it is a lot of trial and error with what you will feel comfortable wearing and what won't aggravate your appliance. Perhaps it is the pouch and wafer itself that is causing the problem?


Hi Nagual, yes, pants were a little bit of a challenge, especially in the beginning for me. What I found is I needed a support underwear... and something, in my opinion, that did not look frumpy. I found a gem in Walmart. If there is one near you, they sell boyshorts that are high-waisted which smooth out the appliance and support the entire appliance. I really like them and they come in a variety of colors. The price point is great too... under $5 per pair. There are specially made ostomy underwear out there but were too bulky for my liking, but a friend of mine swears by them. My stoma is also pretty much in the same area as yours...

For pants, I wear most anything but am cautious of my stoma. Stanley, as I named it, sticks out about 1 inch so I don't want to rub it too much because it will bleed. The pants that I wear are mostly higher-waisted, but for me, I am long-waisted so most things come to my hip area. The underwear helps with the weird feeling on my stomach with the appliance and stoma. I bought lovely high-waisted leggings from a local department store, I have a few high-waisted stretchy capris for casual and I wear a lot of summer dresses and skirts. My cotton capris rest just above my stoma, not the appliance. If they are drawstring, I tie them loose not to restrict. I sometimes have pancaking but keep aware of it when I am sitting down. If I find something I like in the store, I will keep the size and relocate the button to accommodate the stoma.

With bathing suits, I wear a two-piece tankini. Again, the bottoms are high-waisted which come just below my belly button. I also wear darker colors that help conceal the pouch. Hope this helps. Take care and keep posting. Have a nice day. LH

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister

I wear my ileostomy bag through my thong... There is a spot between my thighs that my bag rests... But I empty my bag every hour if needed.


Hi Nagual

My name is Marsha, and I just read your post about pants, and then I read your profile. I try to have a positive outlook on life, but somehow, drama (in the way of family illness, my ex-husband, me, my two sons) seemed to find us. But I've thrived and endured, and still stop to smell those roses.

Although I'm about 10 years older than you are, I've had my ileostomy for more than 50 years, since I was 15. But my problems with clothes (shirtwaist dresses of the 1950s) started long before I had my ostomy. That just added to the "issue". :)

I came to understand why women (in particular) have difficulty with body image. I think I spent my childhood hearing my mother say, "pull your dress down." Sigh. Seems my waist was about 2 inches lower than any size clothes I wore. So the waistline on dresses never came down to "my" waist, and the waistline on pants/jeans (in the 60s) were always too high. I was grateful for "hip huggers," which seemed to fit perfectly at the dent that is/was my waist. I was also in a back brace for a time, which made my waistline really disappear! The years passed, I had children, gained weight, and nothing ever seemed to fit "right." I was way into my 20s before I discovered the genius of dressmakers/tailoring, and eventually I learned to sew (to save money really). But I digress...

Here are some of the things I learned...

Do as Ladyhope suggested, and find a good pair/brand of (not frumpy) stretch panty. I discovered boy shorts recently, but they didn't really fit my "body type" around the leg, and don't hold the pouch in at the bottom. "Jockey" has some really nice ones....and although they don't have enough support (for my belly), they do hold the pouch close to the skin. Walmart and low-end, discount department stores are all good places to try. Even places like Target. Seek and you shall find...is my motto. Once you've found the right support panty, you'll be better able to get a good fit on clothes, especially pants.

Zippered dress pants have always been a problem for me because of the waistline. I've resorted to having the zipper removed, cut down the top, and make a "pull on" pair of pants. A soft fabric shouldn't hurt the stoma, even if it's at the top of the wafer. Use extra tape, so the wafer can't be pulled off. Jeans have been more of an issue. I wouldn't want the heavy fabric binding the wafer. Hip huggers for you might come too low, so again, it's trial and error. Frustrating....if it's not what you're used to....but it's what I've had to face all my life.

I've also resorted to "pull on" elastic waistline pants because I could alter them myself. Pull-ons used to be polyester "old people" clothes, or so I thought, until they began to make jeans, denim, twill with elastic waistbands. I was thrilled. To this day, when I find something that fits, I buy it in every color.

If you've been one of the lucky people who was able to put on a pair of pants in the store...and they fit, then this must seem like a real challenge now. It will take some doing, but you'll figure it out.

I have a friend (who also has an ostomy for more than 50 years) and although she has a beautiful, tall, long-legged, slim body....she "hates" her body because she could never wear a "neat little bikini." But she can wear short shorts and a bikini top. I don't get it....and I've vowed never to be like her.

Stay in touch...and "post" when you have news to share or to vent....

Best regards,



Hi...I understand your discomfort and concern. I have gone to wearing wide/elastic band pants and shorts...as much as I hate to...but found them to be very comfortable and accommodating. I buy them online, Jag Jeans...pull on...they are great. Hope this helps.


Nagua: Check out the items made by Comfizz. I live in the USA but order them from Great Britain and I never go without. I slip them on over my stoma/pouch and can wear most of my regular jeans, slacks etc. I only wear elastic waist "jogging pants" or pajama pants at home at night. In public, I always wear one of the Comfizz products. I attribute to them my ability (psychologically/emotionally) to continue to work, speak in front of groups, socialize.... They have been life-saving for me. AND, no, I do not work for them! I learned about them on this website after colostomy in 2009 and am a very satisfied customer.



My ostomy was done at the beginning of Feb this year, so I am learning as well. I have found that for underwear, Jockey full briefs work well because they are high-waisted so they don't interfere with my ileostomy. For pants, I have discovered Kim & Co relaxed fit pants. You should get them in your normal size - they are very accommodating for an ostomy and are nice and high-waisted with a very comfortable waistband. I am in love with these pants. I am too nervous to wear anything that isn't loose because I am afraid the stool won't drop down in the bag. Kim & Co can be bought either from their own website or from the Shopping Channel (Canadian). They are based in Montreal, so they are a Canadian company.


Hi, your surgery was pretty recent, at just three months out you are still healing, things are still tender. For now, I would wear any pants that stretch, might help to buy up one size for now until things are not so tender for you. I live in jeans, I work at home so do not have to dress up to go to the office, I just roll out of bed, down the stairs into my office chair!! Unfortunately, I have had to switch from my favorite type of jeans with a zipper, to what I used to call "old lady pants", elastic waist stretch denim or in winter time sweatpants (never ever wore sweatpants before). I had three surgeries within two weeks' time so I have much scarring on my abdomen and now have two incisional hernias so my bikini days are long gone. I have had my ostomy (colostomy) for 3.5 years now. If you use a system that you can empty without a filter on it, it might be a good thing for you to leave a little bit of air in the bag so that it provides a space around the stoma, this will allow the stool to drop down and keep pressure from your clothing off the stoma. Having a stoma is definitely something that takes time to adjust to. I found it very helpful to go onto YouTube and watch videos that people with stomas share, how they deal with different situations, such as bathing suits, bikinis. You might find them useful. This site has also been a tremendous help. Just throw out a question and you can usually count on getting some really good advice.


I fought this problem for months until the nurse told me about the stretchy pocket bands. They are about 7 inches high. You slip it on like underpants, put the base of the bag inside the pocket (There are 2 pockets so you can use the one you need). The remainder of the band comes up over and hides everything - also makes you look flatter but lets the bag do its job. I bought one and went back and got 2 more -- love them - Ostomysecrets. They wear forever and in different colors/sizes.


Hi Nagual, I've had my stoma for over 5 years now, and wear tight jeans, normal pretty small knickers,

I do help the stools down a bit now and then, and my stoma is flat, but haven't changed what I wear at all.

All the best, Wendyx


I have an ostomy bag and always have pant issues. I try to find jeans with a little stretch in them. The jeans make me feel a little more confident that everything stays where it should. At 68 years old, I really don't want to look my age either. The best thing is to experiment with different styles and you will find what you're confident with. Good luck... snowy100


Hi Nagual

My stoma (Snooki) is just over 4 years old. I have found that the absolute best jeans are Earl Jeans because they are stretchy and have a bigger than usual waist, so they fit nicely over my bag. I also wear Jockey bikinis, which rest just under the stoma, and are very comfortable. If you can't find Earl Jeans, you could try Gloria Vanderbilt - not quite so roomy in the waist, but not bad at all. As for the bathing suit - I got a maternity tankini, which works brilliantly.

Good luck!



Hi Nagual,

Don't get discouraged. As you heal and see how other ostomates manage, you will feel better. When I was in the hospital from having the ileostomy, a young college girl with an ileostomy came to visit me. She was wearing very form-fitting white jeans! I was amazed how terrific she looked in them. She boosted my self-confidence 100%. Since that time, I have worn most any kind of "regular" pants, jeans, sweats, and swimsuit bottoms with no problems at all. It just takes time to learn all the ways to wear attractive clothes. Hang in there! Rhonda C.


Hi Nagual, I was having exactly the same problem until I found this... really great, hope you like it. http://www.easttown.co.jp/ostomybeltguard.html


I also have a high output ileostomy, on my right side, just below my belly button. I've had my ileostomy for just over a year now and I've had Crohn's all my life. I have found that jeans are just a no-no anymore. Tights, leggings, capris, and baggier shirts. In the winter, leggings with an oversized sweater and knee-high boots are awesome. I also have a couple wraps (made of lyreco) that wrap tightly around my waist and basically conceal the bag, although you may want to wait a couple more weeks before you try that!! Good luck!


I can relate to your situation because I had the same problem. I threw out my jeans and wore loose joggers. Thank God there were low risers, lol. I now take the waistband of my jeans and lower the whole waist if needed, and cut a lower scoop out just where the ostomy is, so when I sit the waist doesn't ride up. I take some stretchy cotton, like jogger material, and sew the waistband back on, then put the belt loops back on the jeans. I also take the zipper out and sew it back so it still looks like there's a zipper. I use elastic in the waistband and make it loose enough to sit, and just tight enough to stay up. I found when you take the waistband off of jeans, they get a little wider and it really adds comfort to the jeans. Just be sure to get the low rider ones with thinner, stretchy material. You can also lower and scoop out the ostomy part on joggers too.


Hi, Nagual! Okay, here it goes. I've had a right-sided ileostomy for almost 20 years. I love to wear slacks. My little secret is to get the tall sizes. I'm 5'8" and I had the same problem with pants; "too low it pushes up on the adhesive when I sit and loosens the base. If I wear them just above my ostomy bag they pull down on the stoma and I get blisters at the base of my stoma." I know that I have to hem the legs and not as fashionable (I grew up in the 60's 70's when hippie huggers were the rage) as low-waisted jeans, but it's more comfortable. I also like wearing leggings with longer tops. I also do a quick little something with my undies: I take two and put one inside out, match up the legs and stitch them with a zig-zag (stretch while sewing) that way you just tuck the bag between the two pairs. I'm nearby, so if you need help, let me know!


I have only been able to wear hospital scrubs in a size or two larger than what I would normally wear. They have drawstrings so you can tie them tight enough so they stay put (mostly) and you can adjust them throughout the day. I have a stoma that sticks out 1-2 inches depending on if it is swollen, and it bleeds when touched so jeans are out for me. Good luck to you, I had mine 5 years ago. It does get easier, it takes time for your body to heal. Sorchia


Hello Nagual88!

I too struggled with pants/bottoms after my ileostomy surgery. Everything that I had owned previously wouldn't work for me as it went right across my stoma and caused pain/blockage/leakage ......you get the point. I went online and searched for advice, hints, and products that might allow me to wear clothing that didn't look as if it were 2 sizes too big. I missed my jeans the most and didn't want to live the rest of my life in sweatpants. After some recovery time, I went to a maternity shop where I tried on .......yup......maternity pants. I was desperate to look my normal self. I shared my dilemma with the saleslady, and she sized me up (with her eyes only) and brought back several pairs of pants for a petite (short) woman. I was almost in tears as I looked down and saw a normal me in jeans. All it needed was a longer top to cover the band. It was comfy and gave my ostomy bag support while allowing my stoma to keep putting out. I bought 2 pairs of jeans right away and never looked back. This worked very well while I was in the healing mode. I had also by then discovered Ostomysecrets.com. I ordered a regular wrap and a swim wrap. These wraps give you support when you need it, help to disguise the ostomy, and give you great peace of mind. Unfortunately for me, I can't get any more as they are no longer shipping to Canada, only to the U.S. But for you, they could be an important part of your wardrobe. Please check them out and give it a try. I am hoping in time that they will resume shipping to Canada, and I can purchase more items. Another helpful hint is thigh-high stockings instead of pantyhose. I have purchased a couple of pairs from Secret Pantyhose. I don't know if these are available in the U.S., but they definitely make wearing a dress/skirt in the winter doable as it is too cold to go without. These stockings, by the way, are comfy, they stay up, and are really sexy-looking, so they also give your self-image a boost and it's your little secret (or not). After several years of having my ostomy, I was determined to find other pants that would work for me. It's a matter of trial and error. You should dedicate some time for shopping and go into stores that have sales help that look like they really want to HELP you. Explain that you need a pant that is higher-waisted and a little looser in the front. You would be amazed at what is out there. I was delighted to find several pants and capris with the help of a wonderful woman who took care of me from start to finish. I put on a lot of pants that day ;(at least 20 pairs), but I'm very glad I did. I came home with pants to wear that are comfortable and allow everything to flow as it should. I also got a great dress and a couple of tops and felt like a new person with a wardrobe that anyone would wear. I hope this helps a little. Don't give up. Keep searching. Previous comments have given me a couple of leads (Kim Co./Comfizz), and I will be checking these out as well. I go to the U.S. shopping once a year (girls' weekend), and maybe I'll be able to find more bottoms myself. Good luck!!!


Don't make it so complicated; I used to, but then quit thinking about it and now I wear whatever I want, suits, shorts, bathing suits etc.


Hi, Rosiesmom here. I just discovered this conversation today. I have been wearing Hanes cotton briefs for years. They are long enough in the torso to come well up to the waist, so I didn't have to change. However, I recently discovered Vanity Fair briefs. They are not all cotton, but they are once and long with a wide waistband. They also help allow my pull-on to slide up easier as I have gained some weight but didn't change all my capris. LOL. I wear snug-fitting pull-ons. I get most of mine at Macy's. They are stretchy but stylish and have nice wide waistbands. I don't know if anybody else does this, but I use the little white stickers that come with my pouches to cover the vent. I also pull the bottom open a bit before closing it. This prevents too much vacuum in the pouch, which can cause pancaking. I may have to go to the ladies' room and burp by lifting the edge of the pouch from the flange to let extra air escape, but it makes it more comfortable for Rosie and allows everything to slide down easier. Hope this helps.


Hi Wendeehart; Thank you so much for your tips. I have been trying to sew my own support while still wearing the hospital underwear over my regular underwear. The two underwear idea is fantastic. I am on the prowl for the underwear that will serve my purpose. I guess they are briefs. I tried the hi-cut ones and the bag hangs below the leg line and irritates my thigh. So, briefs or boy shorts here I come. I too grew up in the 60's/70's and you're right, hip huggers were in then and again now. So were midriff shirts. I was sewing my pants and skirts too. I am not that great of a seamstress, so at times it has been frustrating. You have some fantastic advice. Thanks. P.S. I can't wait for these blisters to heal up on my stoma. I just spent nearly 3 hours cutting out each little divot for them on my flange. Oh my goodness. Thank the stars I have the time to do this. I am adamant in healing these up, so if it took me all day to get it right then so be it. Stay positive, right?  


Hi, Nagual88. So sorry about not getting back. Been dealing with a few medical issues that are leaving me a bit frustrated. I'm glad that the undies solution works. I just wanted to add another hint: if the bottom of the bag and clip are too low, simply sew across the front of the undies from one leg opening to the other in a spot that is comfortable for you. Doing that also helps support the bag when it starts to fill up.

Hope all is well with you and you're enjoying the cooler weather we finally have! Talk to you later.


Yes! These wraps let you wear your regular clothes! But I wouldn't wear "tight" pants or jeans.


I have decided to forgo wearing jeans. For one, they press on my scar, and the other has to do with interference from my seat belt. I have just applied for a seat belt waiver. I tend to wear pajama bottoms. I don't care who says what. I am not out to win a fashion show. I prefer comfort over looking good!!!


I have a little tug from
my clothes if they are tight. I wear all my old clothes! My waist high (granny panties) are of a spandex type material and fit nicely over the pouch and hold it in place and smooth it so it does not show. I just tuck it in the panties and dress as usual. Even if my shirt comes up, it is just the top of the panties that show! I have had some thick jeans press down on the top of the pouch but never push it off. I know your post has been from a while ago and hope you have it all figured out by now! If all else fails, buy surgical scrubs and if you have a leak, people will think you had a bad day at the hospital! Lol


I'm pretty new to dressing nicely with a stoma. I have a colostomy with my stoma in a horrid place, just below and to the left side of belly button level and so close to my belly button the baseplate goes into it. At first, I wore my JJill stretch pants, wide band top that I roll down to be below my stoma. Those are nice looking with a long tunic top. I recently ventured into the jean world and found that the LLBeN high waist jeans and slacks are perfect for me. I get one size larger than usual and am happy with where the waistband lies.. no zippers, just pull-ins with a flat front and elastic back. Plenty of room for everything but not frumpy. Dressing well feels good to me. I hope you find the clothes that work. It's exhausting to go to a store and try on clothes, so I order and return often. Another piece of clothing I love is a stylish flouncy mini skirt kinda thing that is worn under your top, over your slacks. It extends a few inches below your blouse and is a fun little something that really hides any gear.

Hope you find what's right for you.

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