Swimming with an Ostomy: Bag concerns and limitations?

Jul 02, 2016 2:24 pm

Hello everyone,

So it's Fourth of July weekend and I want to go swimming! But I don't know how that's going to work now. I've had my ileostomy for around 6 months now and am still learning what I can and cannot do with it.

So my biggest fear is that my bag will just come off in the water. Is that a possibility?

Is there a limit on the time I can be in or activities I do in the water?

Thanks to everyone that helps me out here.

Jul 02, 2016 4:21 pm

I have a colostomy and use a two-piece system. I use a belt (an elastic one) and wear a bandeau (tube top) and a life jacket. I just check to be sure my flange is tight (not lifting) and bag is not full. I go in the ocean, play in the waves, float around, and swim a bit. I find that heat and sweat are what cause more of a problem than the water does. I assume you have a one-piece with a drain. Just be sure it is on tight and have some fun. You could try some waterproof tape for extra security.

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Jul 02, 2016 11:35 pm

Hi Dan,

Welcome to MAO! It's a bit too late to order even a sample for the 4th of July, but when you can, check out Sure Seal Rings. Here is a link: http://alpglobal.com/Sure-Seal-TM-Rings.html

This is one product I really rely on, even for daily wear. It goes on over your flange and keeps everything snug and secure.

Jul 03, 2016 3:38 am

Thanks for the advice.

I did go ahead and order the free sample. I'll try it out when it gets here.

I do have an ostomy belt I use due to a tendency for parastomal hernias.

Jul 03, 2016 4:35 am

Hi Dan, going into the water should not be a problem if you have a secure fit with your wafer. I was told/instructed not to go in the water the day of a wafer change, to allow the wafer to stick better to your body. I also use the Hytape (pink tape) that is waterproof around the wafer. If you still feel unsure about diving in, I would look into purchasing a Stealth Belt or a wrap to add some additional security. Ostomy Secrets sells wraps as does other online companies. Try Googling the product for additional options. In addition, you may be able to find something comparable at Walmart, KMart or Target. Lastly, maybe try swimming for a short period of time like 10 - 15 minutes. See how the wafer looks and go from there. Take care and good luck! ;LH

Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Jul 03, 2016 6:01 pm

Good question, Dan. I apologize for stealing your post, but I am wondering if anyone has information about health and safety factors if I were to swim in either a chlorine-treated or saltwater pool without any wafer or pouch at all. I have a urostomy and am concerned about my exposed stoma. I don't care about the occasional release of urine into the pool water.

Thanks, HW

Jul 03, 2016 7:10 pm

To answer the questions - use tape to "picture frame" the disc to the skin. Hy-tape is good but any medical adhesive tape, except paper tape, should work. I always try to empty my pouch just before getting into the water. I wouldn't recommend diving in until you are more comfortable with the appliance.

I have gone in chlorinated pools, saltwater pools, lakes, ocean, rivers, and streams without any problems. We had a house with a pool and we were in the pool all summer, sometimes for hours at a time. Jump in and enjoy!

Jul 03, 2016 8:16 pm

Hi, I have an ileostomy. I just make sure the bag is empty and don't change it for a few hours before you go in. If it's been on for a while, it's well sealed. x

Jul 04, 2016 1:58 pm

I go swimming all the time.

I just make sure the bag is empty, everything is on snugly, and I wear a wrap or band around the bag/ostomy just for my own mental well-being. Never had a problem with it.

After getting out of the pool, I check to be sure the wafer is still attached tightly, dry it off a bit with my towel, and I'm good to go!

I know it's scary getting in the water for the first time, but soon after you get in, I bet you will be so distracted by the feel of the water, you will almost forget the ostomy. And the more often you swim, the better it gets.

Go get in that water!!!

Jul 04, 2016 5:23 pm

Hi, I have found a wonderful product. It's called Aqua Seal. I use a 2-piece system. It goes around the flange and it keeps the water from getting into your flange. It also helps with leaks. I have been swimming in Crete and never had the water enter the flange or flange come away. If you google Aqua Seal, you can send for samples. It takes about 2 weeks for me to receive my order, but I live in Scotland, so you should get your order quicker as the company is in New Jersey. Hope this helps. Let me know how you get on.

Past Member
Jul 04, 2016 7:45 pm

I go to the YMCA every week and swim. I have never had a problem, and I know we are not all the same, but if it happens, it happens. I was just out of the hospital, [a month] after my surgery, and I was in a restaurant with my regional manager when my bag broke. I told him what had happened and walked out of the meeting. You just have to be strong and not worry about the people around you. You won't see most of them ever again, and you have to take care of number one.

May 03, 2018 12:14 am

I just wanted to come back to this and say thanks to everyone that replied. I have been a few times and so far have not had any major issues. I'm going to the beach for the first time since my surgery and will be getting in the ocean.

My only fear now is the normal ones. Like sharks eating me lol.

May 17, 2018 1:56 am


Did you ever get and try the samples? I still stand by them and use them with every change. BTW they might just repel sharks too!!! LOL