Join the Largest Ostomy Community
Next >

Airport with a Colostomy


Ok! A bit of positivity here.. I've booked a trip to Italy for a week.. but it's the first time I've been on holiday since surgery.. what happens when they do a search on me and they feel the bag?? Just don't want them thinking I have a bomb on me etc :/ Anyone had any situations like this?? How do they tend to deal with it or will it just show up on the x-ray scanners and they are trained to recognise such things..

Cheers :)

MeetAnOstoMate - 30,199 members
Join a supportive community of individuals who understand your journey and can provide valuable insights, guidance, and companionship throughout your ostomy experience.

I personally have experienced no difficulties with my urostomy with regard to airport security and I have travelled extensively wordwide.  My worst experience (if you can call it that) was when a young man on security at Heathrow Airport emptied out my hand luggage in full view of other travellers which included my spare flanges etc and he demanded to kow what they were used for.  I was mildly embarrassed and he seemed slightly perpplexed but was happy enough with my explanation and let me through.

I have been through the 'naked' scanners and have held my breath but I have never been taken aside.  I frequently get 'patted down' going through the metal detector thing.  At first I used to worry that the official would feel my bag and I would be embarrassed or flustered.  However, every pat down I have received has taken seconds and to be honest, if they have felt the bag, they have not acted on it.  Now I am totally unconcerned with airport security on a personal level, I think this is a mixture of age and experience!  And if I do ever have to explain myself, well, it's better for the security officials to be safe rather than sorry.  I remind myself they are for the good of us all.  I have heard in the past of some sort of travel card for people with an ostomy - this gives information on the subject and can be presented to security staff to help with explanations.  I have never bothered with this.  I expect in this day and age security staff are aware of ostomies and have encourtered at least one?  

I hope the above brings you a bit of reassurance and hopefully you will get responses from people who have had more challenging times at airports, just to get both sides.  Most of all I hope you enjoy your trip to Italy.


thank you so much for the info! it wasnt the embarassing part which was an issue id be happy just to whip it out and explain as im not embarassed by it to be honest haha! just wanted to no what to expect as its unknown to me :) where can i get a ostomy card from? might come in handy incase i get mardy hahahah! 


I've travelled quite a bit within the US since I've had my ostomy and there has never been a problem. It usually shows up on the xray thing, so they take me aside, ask me to touch the area where my pouch is then they do some test on my hands, only takes a couple minutes at best. Most of the security folks are pretty knowledgeable about it. I would assume it would be the same in Europe. I think the ostomy clinic gave me a card but I've never used it (don't even know where it is)

Happy Travels smile



Ostomy declaration card uk

I googled the above and saw a link to Securicare near the top of the page.  This link gives info on the declaration card for people with ostomies.  I hope this helps.  


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


i might go my doctors and ask him to write a letter :) will my output be much hire if im in a foreign country??


I was scared stiff the 1st time I flew! Buts can get.a card in 4 different languages from your stoma people to the airport. You.l be.fine.


I have only flown in the USA, but most times they don't find my bag.  I have a urostomy bag and I usually have to tell them I have it.  A couple of times I just kept my mouth shut.  They don't seem to find it when they pat you down.  I only tell them so I won't ge hurt.  Good Luck and enjoy your trip.



Snowy100 - You can ask for a private room for the pat down and search if needs be. Because it does appear to the TSA that you are perhaps hiding something, they will ask to search you more thoroughly. No need for any stress, just be ready for the request if/when it happens! With me that is 100% of the time.

P.S. we went to Rome/Florence a few years ago. It was the trip of a lifetime for us. Enjoy!


 I went to Europe in August, and in Munich I knew I would have a problem as they only had the full body scanners. I asked to be taken to a private area, where 2 young girls were completely  unfamiliar with my appliance.. Very frustrating.  There is a form you can download from the ostomy society but I do not know what good it would do if nobody understands English.  just be prepared and don't let is spoil your trip. If they have the regular scanners you will be fine, but I expect things are on high alert these days.



I had the full body scan at Baltimore airport and no one said a word about my ostomy but sent me over to be pasted down. Male about 30 and female that looked barely old enough to drink. I let them know I had ostomy and the male was just, oh ok. we've had a few come through. He turned behind him to let female know and she had the most disgusted look on her face. I told her that nothing gross was going to touch her but she might  want to look for a new line of work because I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE!


It is a bomb! Have'nt you hab a blow up yet?


this has been my experience as well - they had me touch the bag area then used some sort of scanner to detect bomb making stuff. I thought they acted more embarassed than me!


I fly frequetly and until recently i have had no issues.  During my last flight they did the normal procedure with me touching my pouch area and then scan my hand with a material and then put in machine to test.  This time they said it tested positive, which i dont beleive and i was taken into a private room by two securuty personell for a search.  I think the search was a training session for the new securty person.  Anyway for the most part i have had no issues.  Penguins7



I've not had any problems at airports with either the full body scanner I was worried I would but no one batted an eyelash!

Just prior to a pat down I've said I have an ostomy bag on my right side you will feel that. Some have made an effort to avoid it, ( maybe they were afriad of touching it) I always make sure it's emptied before clearing security.

I have travelled with a letter from my Doctor never had to produce it. Better safe than sorry.

I find with airport security people the more upfront and honest you are the better it goes. I've never been asked to step aside or go to a private room, if I was I would be nervous but keep in mind they are doing thier job they don't know me I dont' know them I may not be Angelina Joli but in that case when it comes to getting checked out at the airport I am one in a million! :)


Thank you to everyone :D i cant wait now, just one more question has anyone had any problems abroad with a stoma?? 



I've never had a problem and I've flown  several times.both long(4hr+) and short flights.  Just last week on a short  hop -New York to South Carolina and back  No problems with TSA or the stotma in flight .I would suggest, that you empty or change the bag before boarding and eat lightly prior to be on the safe side

best of luck


I always carry a photocopy of a certificate of permanent colostomy from my surgeon when I travel. Just in case.


I traveled with mine.  You can get on the Transportation site and download a certificate about your appiance that you keep in your passport.  They take you aside and check you separately and they were very respectful with me.  It was quick and painless!

I travel frequently and haven't had any issues at the airport. When they tell me that I've been randomly selected to either a search or to stand in the round X-ray machine, I notify them then that I have a bag attached to my abdomen and I've never had a problem. They've always been very respective. Hope you don't encounter any sort of problems.

In late September I will be doing long-haul flights to Kenya, my first trip since my colostomy. From home to the airport to arriving in the national park in the bush it will be about 32 hours. Thus I know I will need to empty and rinse my bag a few times along the way. Are we allowed to bring peribottles on board the flights to rinse/spray out the bags? Are small 3" sized Lysol airsprays allowed to freshen lavatory before leaving? I know scissors are not allowed so all my wafers will be pre-cut. The thing that could complicate things is that Kenya has banned plastic bags where one can be arrested or fined so going through Customs should be interesting. Thus I had my surgeon write a letter asking that my medical supplies be exempt from this law.


I travel domestically, and did experience some awkward moments going through the full body X-ray.  TSA suggests telling them before you go through that you have a medical device and get a private screening.  Takes a minute but is discrete.  Best is paying for TSA Pre Check. Just walk through the metal detector.  Soooo much easier for ostomates.  I have had an ileostomy for 25 years.   Good luck and safe travels.  

Do you ever travel to a Toronto?

Outside of the US. And what's your experience?

I travel all over the world. I advise security that I have an ostomy (if I'm pulled for additional screening) and of course they already know as they see my supplies in my carry on luggage. I wont go through the xray and elect pat down. I tell them to not pat my stoma, and they do anyway. When they do, I let them know just how intrusive that is.
Hi Happygirl, I will be in Toronto Sunday April 28 dpottage at csolve dot net
* Please, do not post contact information, personal information or advertising.
All times are GMT - 5 Hours