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How should one bathe and exercise while have a colostomy.

Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:42 pm
"This is the best website for people with an Ostomy, hands down. So much understanding. Everyone should join."

I am a college student and I would like to know more information about this subject in order to complete my assignment. I have been tasked to ask the community any ostomy related question in order to record my answers and pass down to my professor.

Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:33 am


  The answers may vary among ostomates.  I have an ileostomy and I shower and exercise every day.  Exercise for a colostomate can be a little more risky.  But all ostomates have to be careful to not get a hernia.  The older posts in the links below may be helpful.




MeetAnOstoMate - 27,384 members
Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:02 am

Hello ckaige.

I agree with Bain that the answers are likely to be different for each of us. They are also likely to be different depending upon timing and circumstances as exercise soon after the operation is going to be different to that which might be attemptedat a later date when things have had a chance to heal. There are no right or wrong answers to your question. I bath everyday, but then I irrigate and am not likely to have output to deal with in the bath. Other people have different circumstances so they will cater to them as they see fit.

I hope this helps

Best wisxhes


Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:00 pm

I've had an colostomy since 1976 (age 18).  I never made any changes in how bathed other I didn't scrub my stoma, just regular bath soap.  I do shave around my stomach as my appliance stays on better -,4/5 days between changing.

I never lifted heavy weight on a regular basis, that's just begging for trouble, - as ostomates we have a built in hernia.  But water skiing, swimming, volleyball, rowing, horse back riding are all sports I have done competitively.

Hope this is helpful, if you have more questions, send me a note.


Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:24 pm

I am 71 yrs old and had surgery for an illistomey in Feb 2017. I exercise dailey ( almost) on the tread mill usually. Take a shower  (all the guys accept my bag ) and I have not had any issues with it. I shower at night also and usually end up changing my bag (while in shower soI can scrub the adhesive off while showering)...makes things easier.I change the bag about every 3 days) If there is some poop leakage, it just washes down the drain.

If flying, I eat VERY light so as not to use athe airplane facilties. I do carry a card stating I have a medical issue that may require me using airplane facility at any time (unless they want to clean up the mess)

Ask me any thing else you may want to know


Feel free to e mail me at :  ****

Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:39 pm

to take a bath you can leave the bag on or leave the whole thing off. I've never tried it off. you never know when your stoma is gonna start dong its thing. I normaly leave it everythng on. no problems. to exercise I'd tie that belt around me. they didn't just give it to me from the beginning. I had to ask about after reading about it. theres also other more protective belts that go over the bag. it depends on what your going to be doing.

Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:04 pm

I had my ostomy in 1986 aged 40, there is nothing I couldn't do up until recently, but  I think it's now down to old age and the fact I have Parkinson's.

I used to work as a chef lifting very heavy pans and large joints of meats worked long hours too, I went swimming and to the gym, noi problems there either

My food never changed, I ate almost everything. I believe it's down to attitude think Oh poor me and that is how you will be, but think this is something that saved my life so I am going to live it and you will be fine 

Hope this helps

from Marcella  

Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:11 pm

Depending on the type of bag, some people like to shower with it covered (like with a plastic bag) because many of the bags now have a soft, cloth-like cover for comfort, but it gets wet and needs to be changed then. If you tie a plastic grocery bag over the pouch, it stays pretty dry. If you have the kind that doesn't have the cover, it's all waterproof and a shower doesn't cause any problems - same with swimming.

The food part is mainly an experiment to see if anything causes problems. I eat anything I want when I want - except for popcorn. For some reason, that causes me grief, so I just avoid it. You also figure out a diet that will adjust the texture of the output. If I overindulge in pasta and everything becomes too firm for comfort, then it's back to salads and more vegetable (read, more fiber) for a few days to thin it out so it passes easily through the stoma. Other than that, I have had very few problems since about 2 months after getting my ostomy when I figured things out.

Good luck on your project. I hope we have given you enough for your paper.

Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:58 am

The same as usual......i.e. the same as before you had a colostomy.  Cheers.

Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:27 am

Two answers to this question.... when I shower, I place an inexpensive sandwich baggie over my pouch and tape it around the top and sides to protect the pouch from getting wet.  I do not like a damp pouch against my skin.  It also helps protect the seal of the wafer.  When I bathe in the bathtub, I fill the tub to where it just touches the wafers edge.  I will quickly rinse off and wet the wafer but I will not submerge for long periods of time and wet the pouch.  I believe (but I am told this is not true by the manufacturers) wetting the wafer reduces wear time.  I try not to wet the wafer or if I do, it is a quick rinse and I dry it off. Sincerely,  LH

Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:25 pm

Hi ckaige. What's a bath?

Just joking. The adhesives work well for me so I have no need to cover my bag when washing. After showering and toweling dry, I make use of my hair dryer to remove all/most of the moisture - especially, as others have noted, on the back side where the covering is a felt-like material. Diet hasn't changed all that much. Just can't eat like a "New Yorker" anymore (meaning now I chew my food before swallowing). And I drink a lot more plain and carbonated water. I'm cautious with exercise due to the possibility of a hernia. However, I doubt the weight of our remote will cause much damage...  

Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:00 pm

Hi ckaige

 i have a colostomy this is my 3rd one in my life time lots of problems in past hoping most are all gone been good for past year, with the new one. i go to the gym 2 hours 6 days a week,i lift weight on the machines,i walk on the stair stepper and i use the tread mill. i am also into archery we have 4 course to walk up and down hills to shoot targets. plus i hunt when weather permits. some the biggest problems i have is heat i sweat it off then have to change, when it rains and i am soaken wet i have to change cause of the humdity i come apart or when taking a bath in hot water it does not stick very long after, i pat dry the waffer still doesnt stick to long afterwards so i just change. i also have to shave my belly mine is located up past my used to located belly button. i have not tried any of the sport tapes do to when the wax ring starts to swell it starts to leak, so i have to change anyways. if i dont use a wax ring i will leak in an hour of moving around and doing things.

Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:49 pm

I read where you said you eat salads.  Do you eat lettuce and tomato as well??  I had my surgery on July 12th and I used to eat salad all the time.  Is there some salad items that you do not eat??  I am struggling with putting together meals that I can eat.  What happens if you get a blocked stoma?  

Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:28 am

Hello Freedancer.

What we eat is a very personal thing and different foods affect our systems in different ways. It's all about experimenting to see what you can and cannot eat comfortably. Personally, I like salads and eat them regularly although I gave up on lettuce because it gave me severe wind. I now eat watercress as a substitute, which I am led to believe has more iron content which is good from my point of view because I need to supplement this. 

I believe that problems do not just arise because of the food but the way it's prepared, served and the way it's eaten. Small portions,spread over the day rather than in one go, well chewed (or reduced into small pieces) and plenty of liquid. Anything that causes a problem - stop eating, at least temporarily until the stoma settles into a routine, then you might try again, with caution.

There are a few past posts on this subject so you might like to browse through the 'collections' section.   

As for blockages, I used to get them regularly but then I started irrigating and no longer have this problem. 

Best wishes


Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:23 am

Hi, Freedancer! Welcome to the club (although it is a club none of us was thrilled to join)! I noticed you just had your surgery in July, so everything is still very new to you. First, I want to reassure you that dietary issues you may be having right now will not necessarily be issues 6 months or a year from now. Your system is literally still in shock from the surgery and everything it is having to adjust to. Hold that thought firmly!

For the first couple of months, the ostomy nurses, doctor, and the dietician at the hospital all told me the same thing - stay on a low-reidue diet until your system gets readjusted. It will be very boring, and not the very best thing for your overall health LONG TERM, but is what you need RIGHT NOW. Then start adding back other foods a little at a time until you are back on a healthier diet. As you go along, you may still find a few foods that cause you problems - for me, popcorn is an issue and I just don't eat popcorn any more. I do miss it sometimes, especially when I go to the movies and the smell surrounds me, but I am much happier when I just don't eat it.

Second, you did not say whether you had a colonostomy or ileostomy, and that really does make a difference, from everything I have read here on this site. Apparently, with a colonostomy, you can eat more variety of foods without distress, due to there being more of the intestine remaining. PLEASE have a discussion with a registered dietician who has experience with ostomy patients. They can help set you on a path to healthy eating without long-term effects.

And please remember to have patience - it all will eventually settle down to the point where you will look back and think, "What was I so worried about?" I know it doesn't seem so right now, but I promise you, it WILL happen!

Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:32 am

The same way as I did before my surgery, except no heavy weight lifting.

Sun May 27, 2018 10:27 am

Hi, I have had a colostomy for5 weeks.  It started with a lump in my groin which was diagnosed by 2 doctors as an abscess.  After for months and two intense courses of antibiotics,  I went to a third Doctor Who referred me to a gynaecologist as she did not believe it was an abscess. The gynaecologist did a skin biopsy and advised immediate  surgery.  Not one ultrasound or cat scan done first to determine the size or exact location.  Upon waking I was advised it was not on the side it had protruded from but on the other side of the cervix and much larger than expected.  They advised they had perforated my bowel.  One week off work  ended up being 2 and a half months off.  I advised I had an infection  but they said they couldn't see it.  The following week I went back in excruciating pain and was readmitted for surgery to clear the infection I had had all along.  Still in pain the following day so an mri was performed.  By this time I had been handballed to a different surgeon.  He advised I had a rectovaginal fistula.  He operated the following day to put Seton drains in.  The next week I went back and advised the pain was intense and I was bleeding.  He said it looked fine.  Three days later after screaming at him in pain he handballed me to surgeon number 3 who operated that evening.  He had to remove the Seton and replace it with a finer one as it was too big and cutting me.  It was also infected.  I didn't  know you could get different  sizes.  Still not sure you can but I'm not a colorectal  specialist.  One month later he remove the Seton and did flap advancement fistula repair.  One month later he advised  it had failed  and referred me to surgeon number 4. He , along with a gynaecological surgeon, did a further repair as well as repairing the hole left where the growth had protruded through the skin one year earlier, as well as repairing the large hole left in my labia,  to which nobody had owned up to.  I lost part of the other labia in the first op so now have lopsided smaller labias.  Not that I care so I thought the were too big anyway and had knicknamed them Dumbo....😳 Anyway 8 days later that surgery went  pear shaped and I got another infection.  Back in hospital on antibiotics for 3 days.  More investigative surgery revealed another failure. I was advised my only option now was a colostomy or illeostomy.  Not sure why I ended up with the colostomy.  Question for the surgeon this week.    I didn't have a lot of time to think about it but realising I didn't have much choice went back to theatre the following day.  After 3 and a half weeks in hospital and rehab I finally came home.  I've now lost a total of 5 months off work.  I'm still in a lot of pain and started bleeding which sent me back to the ER after chatting  to the nurse on call.  That was a pointless and disgusting exercise that I hope I never have to repeat. I couldn't  sit due to pain and asked if there was somewhere I could lay down.  I was told no and to just lean against the wall.  There was a minimum 6 hour wait,  yet only half a dozen people waiting.  Anyway I won't go into detail as to what transpired,  safe to say I will have to be on my death bed to ever go to the ER again.  

I'm wondering if anyone out there has had a bag due to fistula repair  and what their experience has been.  Mine may be reversed but it's not guaranteed.  My stoma is inverted and still bleeding a little on the edges.  I've tried a gazillion different bags but think I've got it sorted now.  I've had mucus like discharge from day one but have had a couple of days where the mucus was more like faecal matter. I can feel it oozing sometimes.  I'm not sure if mine is an end or loop ostomy either.  Another question for the surgeon.  Think most of my pain in the perineum is the stitches pulling.  Yes,  they ate still there and I've been told they are dissolvable so I'm guessing super heavy duty due to my history of failure.  I'm sure if he cuts the one rogue stitch it will ease the pain significantly.  Also would  like to know how long before the pain in the stoma region settles.  I have also  had a distended stomach that won't settle despite weight loss. Any similar experiences or advice that anyone would  like to share would be greatly appreciated.  

Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:25 pm

Just had a salad today, romaine lettuce and tomatoes, chicken, cheese. French dressing. About half the size I used to eat. I just try out the foods one by one in small amounts.... I was told just to try things out in small amounts and see how you handle them. I've been fortunate so far, anything and everything, in small amounts, small multiple meals, and chew! I also drink Ultima electrolytes, powder in water. Raw Meal protein powder, all plant based, with rice milk and frozen fruit... Strawberries, Mellon and pineapple... If you want to gain weight add flax seed oil... I started this all sparingly, and slowly over two years.

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