Exercising post-surgery: Tips for sensitivity?


I'm not sure what to do about losing weight. I'm 2 months post-surgery (colostomy) and would like to start exercising. Besides walking, I can't seem to do a lot of twisting and turning. My skin is very sensitive to the adhesive, and if I do too much, it seems to pull at my skin and I get sore. Suggestions??


Walking is an excellent exercise - I am now 2 1/2 months post-emergent sigmoid colostomy. I walk when I can...I also try to do the stairs in the house as frequently as possible. I am not doing any twisting or turning. The walking is good enough - my goal is to get my stamina back - I will hopefully be having a reversal in the next month or so. Whenever I do walk, I am extremely tired afterwards and need to take a nap...preoperatively I could walk 2 miles easily...I'm not there yet. I have unintentionally lost 25 pounds...I think that is because of the healing and I am eating better...I find that eating 6 small meals a day helps.

Regarding the skin irritation - are you using a good skin prep? Post-op I developed an incisional infection. The surgeon had to open it up and drain out the junk inside. For healing, I have to take a hot shower twice a day....and the dressing is changed 3 times a day...all the tape on and off made my skin a mess....UNTIL my homecare nurse started me using the skin preparation and the powder. I was skeptical but it worked within 2 days...my skin cleared.

Hope this helps.

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Walking is good....I have started skin prep on advice from my ET nurse. It seems my skin is sensitive to the adhesive, not close to my stoma. I've considered yoga. But I suppose that might be too much twisting.


I too had irritation problems with the adhesive... Did the nurse give you an adhesive remover? Also, I found different tapes to use until I found one that does not irritate my skin. I use the skin prep for the tape reactions too.... It works wonders for me. We are using ultra-sensitive paper tape now and it is doing the trick.

Has your surgeon given you any ideas on what type of exercise activity you can do? Before trying anything new, it might be a good idea to run it by the surgeon first.


Yes, she gave me wipes and tape. I'm liking the tape. I just brought up a bit with my surgeon about exercise... I'll make sure to be more detailed with him though and ask him what he recommends.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

Great about the wipes and tape. My skin was a mess from the constant dressing changes and I was having problems with the flange leaking - the leakage did a number on my skin. We (my husband is in this with me thank goodness) put down a layer of powder and then the wipes...it works. I was stunned at how quickly it repaired the broken areas. Many a time I have said a prayer of thanks to whoever invented that skin prep - it is a godsend.

Good luck....and keep looking forward - there are good days and bad....but it will get better. It just takes time.


Thanks....it's definitely a hard road. I had a lot of leaking, so a lot of skin prep for that, which is thankfully under control. It gets soooo sore. This skin irritation really sucks. There's a new bag I'm going to be trying....just coming into Canada, so I have to wait....that seems to have a better adhesive. It's also got deep convexity, which I need. It's from Marlen.

gracie in texas

I have concerns about this too. I have been using some of the exercises at stomaatje.com. Perhaps some of them might work for you as well. Walking is really good exercise, though.


I will check that out... thank you!!!


After a few weeks, my new stoma became an "innie." The flange was not working and was leaking all over...my skin was breaking down and the stoma was bleeding. My ostomy nurse ordered a convex flange....initially it worked fairly well...but it started to leak. So we started using the paste (I call it caulk). The nurse put a ring of caulk around the stoma and flattened it out....it worked for 2 days and then began to leak. So...we decided to try something different. We now put a circle of caulk around the stoma - we leave it as is - so it looks like a squish of toothpaste. We put an identical circle of caulk on the flange - let the caulk set up for a minute and then press the two together. I put my hands over the flange and the adhesive "wings" for about a minute and then I put the pouch on. It's been over a month and I have not had one leak. I change the flange twice a week...on a 3 and 4 day schedule. For me, during the 4 day schedule, I change the pouch at two days.

Keep trying new things and come here with your questions - granted I am a newbie like you - but we have come up with a few solutions thus far. The folks here are terrific - they responded to my first post when I was so sad, depressed and worried...their responses let me know that I was not alone, that things would get better and that the beginning of this journey is tough for everyone.


Good to know this information.... Thank you all so much for your support


At two months, you are still recovering, so hang in there. You'll get all your strength back. Walking is the best exercise. Go somewhere that has some hills. Destination walking is great, like pick a Starbucks and have someone pick you up there (good incentive to get you to keep pushing to get there for the ride). Also, walking with friends and setting a regular schedule are great. If you get tired, stop and rest on the way. You'll quickly be able to add more distance.

The skin issues are often worse in the summer. I used to have skin issues, but over time your body adjusts. I'm 7 1/2 years in, and I have no skin problems anymore. There are lots of different pouch products, so you should be able to find one that works best. Most or all companies will send free samples.

The very best skin cure is to leave the pouch off when you change and let your skin breathe for a little while. Even 5 minutes helps, but if you can do it longer, like 20-30 minutes (I know that can be hard if the stoma is active), I think you'll find a huge improvement.


I live about 1 hour from the closest Starbucks and I'm not walking there lol. I know what you mean for sure. I never thought about the summer heat. I'm getting to know when my stoma is active and not, so letting it breathe is doable. Thanks!!


Actually, if it's a one-hour walk and not a one-hour drive, that could be perfect. The walk to Starbucks could be your goal. Plot a course that has park benches somewhere along the way. Or if you have a light folding chair (there are ones you can carry like a backpack), bring it with you. Go a distance and rest. Have your ride pick you up after a set amount of time, and try to get farther from home (or closer to Starbucks) each time. It doesn't matter how short the distance when you start, just keep trying to add on each time. I think that not only will you make it to Starbucks, when you do, you'll be googling to find out where there is one a little farther away.

For me, there is something psychologically beneficial about a destination rather than just walking near home, where it is too easy to say I feel tired and can head home. I hope it works for you. And a tall latte is a nice incentive. And, of course, a scone as a reward for the first time you make it.


Sadly it's a one-hour drive. Where I live is extremely rural...lots of places to go see scenery...the falls here are beautiful....


Weight control and weight loss is primarily a diet issue. A good walking regimen and some light weight lifting (with doctor approval) helps. I would attempt to remove all processed foods from your diet. You want to get your calories from equal amounts of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Good lean meats combined with fruits and vegetables will make this easy. I only eat fruits in the morning so that the sugars aren't stored. I usually workout right after breakfast. Lunch is my biggest meal and then dinner is eaten late afternoon or early evening. I don't really count calories either, it's more about what kind of calories versus how many. Also watch out for the hidden calories. Soft drinks are really bad and diet drinks are also as they confuse the body and can cause issues of their own. Get a Fitbit or other movement tracking device and slowly increase your activity level. Never increase more than 20 per week. Good luck, stay positive, and strong. I am 2.5 years post colostomy and still work as a firefighter doing the same job I did before my surgery.

U K Mutt

Hi, so I use Pure Organic Aloe Vera Gel. Once the area around my stoma has been washed and dried with a hair dryer, I apply a super thin layer the circumference of my bag's wafer. Then I hair dryer dry the area. Then I apply the barrier spray and powder.

At my community center, we have a gym and a trainer who caters to rehab and seniors for $36/hr. Which is very reasonable and worth every penny. I do wear a support belt around my waist to

U K Mutt

Part Two:

...to support my stoma as I don't want to herniate it.

Good luck and keep up the walking!



pete b

Get yourself a cross trainer... great for most of your muscles without shocking your joints...


There is a YWCA in the next town I'm looking into. Unfortunately, my town is only 600 people, lol, so I have to go elsewhere, lol.

Past Member

In many cases, your surgeon may want you to start doing gentle stretching exercises, such as shoulder rolls or arm circles 2 or 3 days after surgery. Until you have your surgeon's OK, don't do any strenuous exercise such as high-impact aerobics, jogging, swimming, or lifting weights.

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