Dancing with an Ostomy: Tips for a Confident Night Out

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The forum discussion is about a 20-year-old college student with an ostomy seeking advice on going dancing and how to handle potential discomfort or embarrassment.


I'm a 20-year-old college student. Several times my friends have invited me to go dancing either at parties or country dance halls on college night. I've never gone with them, mostly because of my ostomy. My bag is not always flat, especially when it has output (which is nearly always). I'd like to be able to dance with a guy, which usually involves touching, at least around the waist. What if they feel the pouch? There's obviously something there. I hate the fact that I fear being touched, but that's how it is these days. Anyone here have experience going dancing in a crowded place? What do you say? Or is this whole dancing experience just something that I have to accept that I can't do?

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Hi Sunny,

I've had my ostomy for a little over a year. At first, I was very concerned about others, but now I feel much more comfortable. I can swim, dance, workout, referee high school sports, and lead a very active life, traveling extensively for both work and fun.

I don't go out of my way to tell people about my ostomy, but have found most people find it interesting and are comfortable asking questions and talking about it.

Be confident in yourself and that confidence will result in a very positive effect on those around you. Let me know how you are doing :)

Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister


I completely agree with Rob....mostly be confident. Dancing close with someone or in a crowded dance floor, the last thing on anyone's mind is an ostomy. With an ileostomy, the only tip I have is don't eat 5 hours previous to dancing. Eat something an hour before dancing. Empty your pouch before and you shouldn't have to worry about it filling up. Took me a while to time my output. About 5 hours or so after eating did I notice output.

Don't fear being touched. You can always do the corset thing to keep the pouch close to you or what works best for you. I'm sure you've nothing to worry about though. Hang in there and stay confident.



Hi, my name is Bobby. Do you feel like chatting with a new guy?


Hey Bobby, what's up?



You just gotta dance. There is a movie from the 70s during the disco craze starring Donna Summer called Thank God It's Friday. It has one of my favorite lines - "Dancing, everything else is bullshit". Watch it and you'll have no choice - your body will start dancing.

Do yourself a favor and just do it. You'll have a blast. Here are a couple of hints:

1. There are tons of wonderful people who won't care about your bag. There are also some who might be put off. Don't worry about them - just be yourself and you'll find the right friends.

2. Don't let it define you. You don't need to have it be the first thing someone knows about you, it can certainly be more of a "by the way" thing after you know someone better. People on the dance floor aren't going to notice or care. People are mostly worried about whether they look stupid dancing.

3. There are many wraps that can keep it discreet - try ostomysecrets.com. With a wrap you can be hugged, squeezed, dipped and promenade the hall. There is no move where someone will ever know.

4. It's usually air that causes it to balloon quickly, and if you have a new bag with an unclogged filter, the air will dispense on its own. Put a new one on when you go.

5. I find that physical activity slows down or even stops the output, so if you are dancing, it might not be an issue.

6. If you do have output, proactively empty. This is actually easy for a female, since you are already in a stall. If you are worried about odor, drop some mints (Tic Tac or Altoids or Mentos) in the pouch.

7. Since most people have no idea what it is, I think Rob's comments are right on - people can be curious. The biggest thing is your own attitude. It is certainly nothing to be shameful about. In fact, everyone has something that makes them different - some people are bald, some wear braces. I think the thing that throws us is the poop aspect, which can seem kind of nasty. So if you just think of it as a medical appliance, and no one else ever really needs to be exposed to the unsavory aspect of poop, it's really not such a big deal.

So please, please, please go dancing as soon as you can and report back to us. I think you will absolutely love it.


Sunny, you are so incredibly cute! I wish I was 20 again. I think clothing makes a big difference in how we feel and function sometimes. You might try wearing looser clothing so it doesn't show so much. I doubt a guy would feel anything unless he was getting a little fresh with you and that's not for the dance floor anyway. Just try to go out and live your life and be comfortable with yourself. I know that's hard. I got my urostomy when I was 10 and grew up very insecure. What I know now is I have a right to live a great life just as much as anyone else. So do you! Find friends who accept you and enjoy who you are. Feel free to message me if you need encouragement. I am in Fort Worth.


Get over it!! Go have fun. I know you deserve it, been there and done that. I know it is a challenge--- believe me. Maybe at first, just tell your partner you have a scar from surgery there. He or she will be careful and you are not lying... Right? Also, never hide it from people you are around a lot. It will take the "edge" off of awkward moments......... Go young woman and live! Never compromise fun. Hell, who knows, you might hate dancing anyway lol.



If it should become obvious that I am different than most others, I laughingly comment "That part of me is bionic" and later I explain briefly, that it's no big deal, and I get along fine. I find it's more how I handle it, is what a man cares about. Everyone has something that is 'different' than someone else. This way, I have cleared the air, and given them permission to mention it if they are curious.


Sunny, it is easy for many to say "get over it." But having two daughters and the youngest starting college this year, I understand what you're feeling. The best advice I have is to ease into things. Try going out dancing on nights where it isn't so crowded to start with and ease into the crowded clubs. Also, make yourself try new things, leave your comfort zone, just little things to start.


Hi Sunny, adjusting to life with an ostomy when you're young takes time and patience and a lot of courage. I know....been there. I am 68 now, but have had my ileostomy since I was 15, so you might say I grew up with it....or it grew up with me. I got through the dating years, the going to the beach for the first time with friends years, and of course dancing at parties and clubs....Later came marriage, pregnancy, motherhood. The one thing I knew even at 15 was that my ostomy was my badge of survival and was the ticket to living a full and active life, instead of being ill with ulcerative colitis (4 years of that!). So, at 15, I wasn't going to let my ostomy stand in the way of living my life to the fullest. I read all the comments posted, and members gave you a lot of good advice. Find ways that work for you to do what you want to do... Best of luck,



Yes, I know the feeling. I'm the same way as far as being touched. But I've learned that if I don't eat before I go out, my bag won't put out. Lol. I also wear parts so it's easy access to purge. I've learned how to get away from people to do so. But if the people you're with know you have it, it's much easier for you. I've had mine almost 5 years now. Good luck on your dancing. I love to dance. Just wish I could find a husband now. Lol.


It takes time.


Hiya Sunny13,

I know I am an oldie compared to you but I had exactly the same fears when I started Salsa and Bachata classes last week. If you wear a little lightweight ostomy band. (TRY COMFIZZ) it will support the weight of your bag contents without feeling like a bulky sports belt. Try choosing a heavier fabric for your bottom half. How about a pair of distressed, high waisted denim shorts with a little crop top?

Honestly no one is going to feel it see anything through denim shorts. I have had my ileostomy for 3 years now and I love in them. Try ASOS or SHEIN. I got a pair of 'rib cage' Levis ones and they are amazing for keeping everything in place.

They don't have to look frumpy, cut the leg higher and wear fishnets and a rock chic belt with them. That's what I do for dancing for contemporary pieces that are assessed and headed (I have been dancing since I was seven). If you don't want to wear a crop top, wear a vest top or go girlie and wear a camisole?

In terms of dresses, the "babydoll" look is all over the fashion websites or "smock" look for a more casual look.

I really hope this helps

Kind regards


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