Can Ileostomy Patients Scuba Dive or Snorkel?

Feb 06, 2019 8:16 pm

Can a person with an ileostomy still scuba dive or snorkel? I know swimming is okay.

Feb 06, 2019 10:14 pm

I've never done either, but why wouldn't they be able to? Maybe they would have to adjust their suit so they can have a good flow, but I believe we can do most things, just have to watch what we lift.

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Feb 06, 2019 10:38 pm

I would not see why you couldn't! If your pouch is secure, you are probably safe!


Feb 07, 2019 5:03 am

I was thinking more along the lines of how would the pressure affect a person with an ileostomy or colostomy. There are pressure changes that happen when you dive.

Feb 15, 2019 6:25 pm

Freedancer, I've been diving for years at an advanced level and have never had any issues related to pressure or anything else for that matter. Some dive associations may request that you get a medical clearance signed by your physician. However, that should not be an issue. It's more to cover their potential liability than anything. Scuba and freediving are incredibly enjoyable sports and I hope you take the plunge! Best wishes,


Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Feb 15, 2019 6:49 pm

Hello, I have been snorkeling for 35 years with an ileostomy. Never had a problem. I have never gone scuba diving, not because of my ileostomy, but simply because it doesn't interest me.

Feb 15, 2019 7:21 pm

I had a similar question to freedancer's question. Specifically, what happens when your body expels gas into a sealed stoma pouch at depth (for the sake of this question, let's say 90 ft.) and you ascend to the surface? Wouldn't the gas in the bag expand causing the bag to rupture?

Feb 15, 2019 9:24 pm

I'm a diver and I have been told it's okay. I don't think I would start with a 90-meter dive though. Start with a shallower dive and see how that goes. I would discuss this with your physician and make sure he/she understands the effects of nitrogen and diving. I am looking to do some diving myself, but I currently have a power port installed in my chest that I use daily, so I have to wait before I can swim with the fish.

Feb 16, 2019 4:47 am

I would love to go snorkeling this summer. I have a question and would appreciate if anyone could let me know about bacteria in the water and if it can enter through the stoma and make us ill?

Feb 16, 2019 7:20 pm

I have had no problems snorkeling. You would want to use the little patch over your vent to not let water in or out!

Would not think with salt water, you would have to worry anyway!


Mar 04, 2019 4:12 pm

Hi Freedancer, all ostomate friends, I'm Marsha, and I've had my ileostomy for over 50 years. I've gone swimming in all kinds of water, oceans, lakes, streams, all over the world....and have never had a problem. If foreign bacteria is an issue, it can get into the body from with easier access than the stoma (skin, mouth, nose, eyes, etc).. Unless advised otherwise, water is relatively safe. Snorkeling is fine, as you're basically on top of the water. I've snorkeled many times and never had an issue. I know other people with ostomies who also dive, and there can be some issue with the pouch/seal at greater depths. I've never dived, so I don't know. However, I did have an "issue" when I went into the Dead Israel. The salinity is 5x greater than regular saltwater. All seemed to go well, other than the water pressure pushing me off my feet/to floating, by the time I got to my knees. But it was great fun. Until I went to the locker room to change and found that the pressure had made my two-piece system separate. Despite the tape, the pressure from the water forced the rim of the pouch to separate from the wafer. It was a bit of a mess to clean up.....but soap and water did it. Make sure you have a change of wafer/pouch and other supplies in case you have a problem. Other than tape, I didn't. But I was young and foolish, and had to tape the old/used dirty wafer back onto my skin. Glad I had the tape.

Mar 09, 2019 3:50 am

I purchased a Stealth Belt Pro and it works great when snorkeling.