Sauna with ileostomy: Is it safe?


I had an ileostomy on Feb. 2nd due to colonic inertia and pelvic floor issues. Before the surgery, I was probably a little over-the-edge with saunas because I couldn't stand the thought of what was happening with all the toxins since I was only able to go to the bathroom every couple of weeks or so. Now, I'm noticing a bit of a muffin-top starting and want to nip it in the bud. I would like to do my workout and finish with a sauna. One of the ostomy/wound nurses told me to be careful with hot water or the heating pad because I could scald the stoma. I like to take 30 minutes at around 150°F. I took one last week without the appliance on because I'm having a little trouble with the skin around the stoma. I thought it would feel good to be without it, and it DID. I kept a wet washcloth and paper towel to keep it cleaned up. I know I won't get extended wear with the appliance, which is fine because I'm changing every other day (2 at the very most) until I can get the skin cleared up.

Thanks for your thoughts, Vicki


Hello Vicky. 

I do not sauna myself because it tends to bring me out in a rash - as does the hot weather! However, I'm a firm believer in trying stuff out to see what suits us best. If you enjoy a sauna and it makes you feel good, then surely its worth persevering to ascertain if it is harmful or not. If it were me I would experiment with the length of time spent in the sauna and the temperatures that gave maximum benefit with minimum discomfort.

just a thought

Best wishes


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Hi Vicki,

Bill gave you good advice. What works well for one person doesn't always work for another. I had my surgery when I was very young (15), and there were no stoma therapists back then (50+). So it was all trial and error for me. I found that steam rooms were fine... but it lessened the time my (then plastic/rubber pouch) would stick. In my 20's, I used a sauna quite a few times, but never without my pouch on. (It was a public place) But going in a sauna with a wet towel or washcloth shouldn't cause any major issues. Through the years, I've been in hot tubs a lot, but always with the pouch on since I was with other people, and because hot tubs generally have chemicals in them, as do pools. (Don't want to be in brown water either) As I've gotten older, saunas and hot tubs have become an issue due to high blood pressure. Can't stay in too long. Enjoy trying new things... Best regards, Marsha


Thank you Bill and Marsha for your great advice. I just got a little concerned when the ostomy nurse mentioned "scalding" the stoma with a heating pad. I'm pretty sure my coffee is hotter than the sauna, right? She probably just wanted me to be careful.

I totally get how the wear time of pouch is affected. Right now, since I'm trying to get the skin around the stoma to heal, I'm changing often anyway. I have a bit of a mental hangup about the cleanliness, but I'm sure I'm making a mountain out of a molehill... a few months from now I'll wonder why I was so goofy!!

I do have to say HATS OFF to those of you who got through this major learning curve without the benefit of ostomy/wound care nurses, online forums, support groups and so many options! I'm incredibly grateful for all help and kindness. I'm humbled by some of the stories I've read and heard, leaving me nothing less than inspired.

I hope I can pay it forward as well :)

Thanks again, Vicki


Hello Vdahl,

I'm a very new ostomate (almost ten weeks post-surgery) and I've never really used a sauna, but I would like to add that through my limited experience I have found that changing my bag frequently gives me a rash. For the first month after surgery, I was changing daily, but I was getting a bit of a rash, so I tried changing every second or third day. I now change every three days and I haven't had any skin problems since. I also use the Coloplast adhesive remover spray, which makes it far easier to remove the bag. Obviously, everyone has different skin, and I don't know if being a teenager has any impact on how it affects my skin compared to someone that's older. Just thought I'd give you my experience. Hope you get it sorted out soon, good luck, and enjoy your sauna.



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Hello Hamish!

I really enjoyed your response. You're absolutely right, changing too often can be as bad as too seldom. I have heard a lot of people talk about going 5-7 days. I was changing the wafer/flange every other day and the skin was doing pretty well. Stepped up to 4 days and started losing ground. I am making progress and hoping to settle at changing the wafer every 3 to 4 days and the pouch more often.

I noticed your surgery was done as an emergency; wishing you a quick recovery. Hope you're able to get your J-pouch and move forward with tons of success.

Thanks again Hamish... you made my day!



Hi Vicki,

Thank you for the kind wishes, I have recovered quite a bit faster than I had expected given how quickly my condition deteriorated prior to surgery. I struggle with it some days, but that's a story for another day. Glad to see that you are finding a solution to your problem. I assume you are using a two-piece bag because of your mention of wafers and bags, and so my ability to give advice or experience ends here as I use a one-piece bag. I seem to be quite lucky in that the bag that I was taught to change in hospital by my stoma nurses hasn't caused any trouble. I have come close to a leak once, and that was only because of the shape of my abdomen due to the combination of swelling and malnutrition.

I'm rambling now, so I'll finish by once again saying that I'm very glad to read about your progress and I hope you don't have too much trouble with saunas. As others have said, I'm sure if you enjoy them then you'll make it work.




For me, the best curative for the skin is to simply give it a little air time. When changing, give your skin 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or whatever of exposure to air before you put another punch on. More is probably better, but it does not need to be a long time. It has worked wonders for me.


Thanks for your thoughts. I like to be able to let the air get to the skin around the stoma too. The last couple of times, I have had a heck of a time with the watery output. It sometimes comes so fast, it gets through the paper towel or cloth I use trying to keep the stoma clean... it actually stings. It was worse today, so I went back to using the barrier sheet.


Hi, I have had an ileostomy for a number of years and attend my local gym with a sauna about 4 times a week, usually finishing off with one, and have not found saunas to be a problem for the bag. I use a Sensura Mio with a Dermacol collar.

It does tend to tire me though, and drinking just water usually still feel dehydrated after. Mixing a little cordial in my water bottle (glass, not plastic) seems to be better for me.

The only time I have had any real problems with perspiration lifting the bag was when I went trekking in Northern Thailand a few years ago. Being over twice the age of the next oldest trekker (a young army officer on his first leave) I did have to work hard to keep up, so it was a bit extreme in very hot and humid conditions.

A sauna in comparison is no problem whatsoever.

As always, if you want to do something, give it a try. What do we have to lose?


GT59... Thank you for your response. Your comment about hiking in Thailand hooked me, so I had to read your profile... AMAZING!!!

I really enjoy being able to sauna without an appliance... it's like a half hour of freedom! You're right though, it does shorten the wear time a bit. I also use the Sensura, but what is a Dermacol collar and do you use it every time you change the appliance? If it's possible, I think I became a little addicted to the "sweat" of a workout and sauna before my surgery. It's taking me longer to get back on track with it since, but one day I'll exceed my own expectations. I drink lots of water and electrolytes.

I'm sure you've been to Australia, New Zealand and likely a dozen other places by now. "Give it a try" is my new mantra thanks to you! I'm fortunate to live in an area with a nicely active ostomy support group. A couple ladies I've met have traveled the world which inspires me. But, for the most part, I don't think we travel nearly as extensively as people from other countries. Of course there's a lot to explore in our good ol' USA but it fascinates me.

Way to go!



Thank you for the info.... I always heard that wear time could be/may be reduced when in a hot tub or sauna. Thank you again for the information. Very much appreciated. LH

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