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How do I get back to water sports?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:46 pm
"This is the best website for people with an Ostomy, hands down. So much understanding. Everyone should join."

I had my colostomy surgery on 12/15/15. and I'm thinking ahead, dreaming really, of the warm sandy beaches of southern California.  I'm not at all concerned about how I look, I'm concerned about how to surf with this bag-thing!  How does it hold up in salt water?  Is there any danger to my stoma in salt water?  All year round I wear a wet suit, the water is cold in California!  I'm running and biking again as normal, but I don't know how to get back into the water?  


Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:45 am

Hi Daisy, I wish I had some sage advice for you, but I've only had my colostomy one day more than you.  But I'm dreaming of getting back into the hot tub and swimming in the lake.  I don't care how it looks either, just wanting to know how to best keep my wafer on without it falling off in the water.  :)


MeetAnOstoMate - 27,707 members
Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:55 am

youll both be fine, iwas bought up on the beach in southern england  and its been my  place,it was one of my "life is over" sayingsthose first few months. my profile pick is last summeron the beach, a comfizz waistband to give me some confiedence , the only thing i avoided was the BBQ, i have a saying  if you dont put anything in nothing will ome  out, no real loss, it was burnt anyway

good luck

southern california sounds like the place,

i grew  up with the beachboys on tape in me car

Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:03 am

Hello Daisy. What a lovely dream you have! and with a matching attitude you have all the style that you need for a brilliant surfing session. There shouldn't be any problem at all for your stoma in any kind of water. Sometimes the wafers don't hold up very well but with your positive attitude I feel sure that you will get around that one. I find that the best way to get back into the water ( or anything else) is one step at a time! Go for it.

Best wishes


Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:31 pm

I would have to say to give the manufacturer of your current supplies a call and see what they have to offer. Many companies are more than happy to send free samples of what they carry that will suit your situtation.

Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:54 pm

Just to pile on with the positivity, I go snorkeling every few months.  I find a wetsuit offers a lot of support but I usually skip a meal before heading to the beach. I change my wafer every three days (you will find everyone is different), but being in the water shaves a day off.  I had my Ileostomy for 2 years before I felt comfortable with being in the water and was quite surprised when my surgeon said there it would be fine to swim.  

All the best


Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:33 pm

You are my kind of Gal!   Hi,  I'm Marsha, and I have my ileostomy for more than 50 years, since I was 15...I'm 67 now!   Lucky you, in Calif with all that surfing.  I grew up in Brooklyn, swam in Coney Island, but we weren't allowed to have surf boards....or even boogie boards, if they exhisted back then. 

But once I healed, I was back on the beach and swimming in the ocean.  There are some differences between an ileostomy and colostomy.... Not sure if  you wear a regular wafer, or if you irrigate ( and are predictable & wear a stoma cap).   Ileostomy pouches have a plastic rim, that actually protects the stoma if you fall flat on your belly. 

  You can't imagine how lucky you are to have the supplies that are available today....as compared to the old rubber pouches and hard plastic wafers, and flammable glue I used back in the day.    Over the years, since the supplies became better and disposable, I did all kinds of things....swam in the dead sea in Israel  where my appliance popped off, because of the water pressure.  I survived   I think that's the worst thing that's ever happened.  It was a bit of a mess, but didn't stop me from snorkeling other places around the world...Carib, & Great Barrier reef in Australia.  I use to wear a belt, hooked to my wafer, but found it pulled the wafer up.  I've also worn a light weight panty under my bathing suit, for extra support, but then switched to bathing suits that have that built in.  I always tape the wafer to may skin ( use scan pore, which is like a second skin) but I understand that there's a waterproof tape on the market.   Not good for me, because of allergy, but might be something you'd try.   The wet suit should give you enough support /  protection, but there are stoma guards available,  although they seem bulky to me.  If you're not sure about the supplies you use, do what was suggested, contact other companies for free samples.    Best of luck to y ou.    Let us know how it goes....


Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:08 pm

Not sure of the differences between colostomy and illeostomy, but I had an Illeostomy 2.5 years ago. I too was resigned to never swimming again until I researched it further. I use a 2 piece system from Hollister and I also purchased a Stealth Belt http://stealthbelt.com/. We vacationed to the Florida beaches and I was cautious (overly) at 1st until I got more comfortable. Quickly I realized I had no problems at all. The wafer remained in tact. California waves are bigger than Florida but I think you could get adequate support for pouch. Good luck and let us know how the waves are smile.

Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:40 pm

I spent a lot of time in the ocean and enjoyed every moment!!  I fold my bag up, wear a  full suit that has ruching or pleats to the side I need coverage, but I have never had a problem -- empty ahead, go with confidence --- I don't trust hot tubs to keep the glue intack for a lengthy time once I am out of the tub-- the heat weakens the "glue" -- I have not had one come free in the tub. 

Don't get dehydrated and remember to reserve more strength than you would usually need --- Good luck and ENJOY

I am using the sensura meo and they have a cover for the filter for swimming  ---- There are also make  "swimming bags" but really the regular one is fine.  In oceamn and lake water the glue should be fine afterward.  I find Chlorine/chemicals not condusive to good attachment after you get out.

Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:55 pm

Hi Indianadaisy,

I currenty have a Ileostomy for 10 yrs. But, also had a Colostomy for 10yrs prior. I love water aerobics, and did them for years. Also go in hot tubs

all the time. No issues at all.Enjoy yourself and have fun. The pool I use now for the water aerobics is a salt water swimming pool. Again no issues

however I do wear a panty under my suit. It holds everything tightly and no one can tell what is under the suit. Hope this helps.   

Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:56 pm

 Hi, I am excited to respond to your topic.  I grew up in San Diego and have had an ostomy for five years.  I no longer surf, but love to boogie board.  I have no issues with lying flat on my stomach and riding all day.  I only wear a wetsuit top for the 67-72-degree water temp in July.  I travel to SD for a month each July.  I use a two piece Holister wafer and pouch.  I use "pink tape" which is waterproof for my wafer and it holds up all day in the water.  I do use a hernia belt to hold the pouch on, but it you use a one piece you are fine without the belt. 

There is a product preferred by surfers by a company known as cymed you can check them out at http://www.cymedostomy.com/ I have tried their product and it's completely waterproof, but I havev had issues with it, but it's probably me lol.  i hope this helps.  you can contact me @

Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:51 pm

Hi there

GO FOR IT!!!!  

This is your time.  No more staying close to the bathroom and fearing every bite you put in your mouth.  

I've had my bag since  2004 after more than 10 years of active UC.  Once the healing is complete turn your back on your old life and go live your new one!!!

I don't know your story but this disease nearly took me out.  By the time I had the surgery they weren't sure if I'd survive it.  I refused for years because I convinced myself having a bag was the worse thing ever.  Its not - Living with this disease and going to the bathroom 30 times a day and watching  yourself waste away is the worse.  After surgery I feel so much better.  I've been whitewater rafting, I'm in my hot tub daily. I water ski no issues.  You will get to know by the feel when it's time to change bags or whatever without even looking.  

You have a new lease on life ENJOY!!

Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:42 pm

Hi again,  if you have a colostomy  (stoma) on your left  side I would suggest  irrigation each day.  I started it a year ago and wish I had 4 years  ago.  Do it once  a day  and go to the beach.   There is so much more  freedom  in life this way.  Also, I change my ostomy supplies  about every three days so i try  to plan  my swimming and boogie boarding  so that I go on days when I will change everything out as the saltwater and the waves  deteriorate the  wafer and pouch.   Hope this helps,  bye!

Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:03 pm

Iam glad know abut irrigation. 8 year.s  I had frange  and  pouch. I do not need now. Any more . My case  I do  irrigation. Ones  a 2  days . I did. Not know I could  do. Every  day .that. Sound. Good .  Because  I love  swimming.thank you for tip..

Sat Mar 19, 2016 1:11 pm

I'd say, go for a little ocean swim as an icebreaker. For the last 2 years or so I've been averaging about 3 to 4 bodysurfing sessions a week in my home town Encinitas where I am lucky enough to live. Took me a few years after my surgery to figure out how possible it was to get back in the water but for me anyway it's been no problem at all! I just wear a wetsuit year round with whatever two piece pouch wafer combo my insurance happens to want to cover me for at the time and it all works fine, nothing extra like tape or anything. I don't even have to change the bag any more frequently than normal. I'd push the boundaries for whatever you want to do. Every time I reintroduce an activity back into my life I wish I'd done it sooner. (I suppose dating is the next big hurdle for me! :D)

Wed May 04, 2016 9:38 am

I am surprised and delighted to hear you say you are bike riding so soon after surgery. Mine was almost 3 months ago and I thought it would be a year before I could ride a bike again. Well, I am still a bit sore down there so don't think I will try it just yet but the idea that I could ride in a month or two is quite exciting. Sorry I don't have any advise to your question, but would love to hear how it goes. I have always wanted to learn to surf, but Galveston beach isn't really the ideal place for it.

Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:53 am

Dear Marsha,

you seem to be so up beat about your Ostomy.I have had mine for three years and have hated every minute of it. I have tried to like it and accept it but it just is not happening! My cole rectal surgeons will not put me back together due to the fact that I was so sick prior to the Ostomy. I have found a surgeon who will help me get rid of this disgusting thing. My family is so against it and when I told my oldest daughter she started to cry and said we will lose you again to the hospital and you will be sick all over again! What do I do? That is a very good possibility. My entire family is against it but they are not on the other side of this bag! I hope you don’t mind me writing to you. You seem to be very positive in your post and I need some advice. Surgery for the reversal is set for January 16th of next year. 

Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:12 pm

Yay for surfing! I have had my ileostomy since 1983, ulcerative colitis. I wear a two-piece bag system. I took up surfing a few years ago and I wear a wetsuit when I go. A full wetsuit in winter and a shorty in summer.  I would feel comfortable in a swim suit and rash guard but I can stay out longer with the wetsuit. I have had no major problems with the ostomy. If I am in the water often it will reduce the wear time of the appliance a bit. I live in southern California a couple of blocks from the beach and am in the water very often surfing, swimming, paddle boarding, boogie boarding, etc. (and by often, I mean once or twice a day in the summer and I surf throughout the winter maybe once every week or so). Sometimes I find the fabric part of my wafer will start to peel off after a few days in the water so I cut that often an put on tape. Overall, my ostomy has not prevented me from doing much, I have just learned to anticipate issues and prepare.  As for water sports I also used to scuba dive  and white water kayak and had no problems with those activities either.  

Thu Sep 30, 2021 7:21 am

I am much longer in the tooth with my surfing experiance.  I surfed as a teenager and into my 20's with an ileostomy in the 80's.  I still love surfing.  I too had a hard time keeping the appliance on.  The possible benefit of the colostomy over the ileostomy is you may be able to regulate the out put to when you are not planing to surf.  Do you irrigate to regulate it?  If so you could wear something smaller like a stoma cover.  I have been wearing the AMPatch stoma cover for years, but that is mainly because I had a conversion of my ileostomy to a continent intestinal reservior.  So that is what we wear to cover our inactive stomas.  If your colostomy is inactive for long periods you could try the same.  It would at least allow you to have less to keep on.  I too was not worried about the ileostomy bag showing when I went back to surfing after my surgory at 16.  I have also always been told my my doctors that the salt water cannot really harm the stoma if it comes in contact with it.  There may be more of a danger if you are in water that has very high levels of bad bacteria.  A good question to ask you dr. or nurse about just to be sure.

Thu Sep 30, 2021 7:25 am

sunasea wrote:

Hi again,  if you have a colostomy  (stoma) on your left  side I would suggest  irrigation each day.  I started it a year ago and wish I had 4 years  ago.  Do it once  a day  and go to the...

If you are irrigating you could possibly use a stoma cover instead of the full appliance.  Many people do this.  As I said in another post I use the AMPatch one-piece stoma cover to cover my stoma that is mostly inactive until I irrigate/intubate it.

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