Travelling with an Ileostomy: Tips & Experiences?


Hi all, I am due to going travelling for the first time since my ileostomy in a few weeks. I was just wondering if anyone has had any difficulties whilst traveling like airport security, etc., or is it pretty straightforward. Any hints and tips would be most welcome. Thanks


I use this travel certificate. Travel is mostly straightforward. Pack twice the supplies as you need. Not that easy to find them if you run out. Look at Premium Content, lots of posts on travel.

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I travel a couple times a year. I just tell the person running the scanner that "I have an ostomy, on my left side, just above the beltline". They will pass you through and sometimes have you touch the area ...then swab your hand for the explosives test. This just takes a few minutes. No problems so far for me.

Morning glory

Hi Cheeky, I have never had a problem with air travel or security. I was randomly picked for a pat down once. You can request to go in a private room. There is a card you can get from your ostomy nurse. This is just to show discreetly, just in case you need to go to the restroom when the seatbelt sign is on. I think you might be able to download this from this site. Just be sure you travel with plenty of supplies. I had to do a change in the airport once. Lol

Happy travels,


Past Member

Lots of good advice and traveling tips here... I fly monthly for work so I signed up for TSA PreCheck to avoid the X-ray scanning. You can simply tell the agent before or after you go through the scanner that you have an ostomy pouch. They usually swab your hands or they do a light pat down. Never embarrassing. Best tip for flying... keep extra pouch clips in your pocket. Emptying your pouch in those tiny airplane restrooms can be a challenge. Safe travels.

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I have the TSA Precheck and it is a breeze to get through security. Make sure you carry some of your supplies on board with you in case your suitcase gets misplaced. Stay well. Penguins7


I would say since you have an ileostomy to stay hydrated, because air travel and travel in general can make you dehydrated. Also, you may want to carry some kind of medical alert card that states you have an ostomy as well as any medicines you take and allergies you may have. This can be very helpful in a medical emergency.


Thanks for all the tips and info guys.

Makes me feel a lot less worried about my upcoming travels.

Thank you


Good luck, Monkey!

Have not flown since my surgery but have cruised with no issues. No body scanners to go through though. Just metal and of course that is not an issue!


NJ Bain

I also have TSA Precheck like LetsGoGolfing and Penguins7. I fly all the time for work. All good advice. I only have to tell TSA I have an ileostomy if the scanner is being used. As said, they make you rub your clothes over your pouch and then swab your hands for the explosives test.

Also, I try to avoid eating before I get on the plane depending on how long the flight is. My output happens about 4-5 hours after I eat, so I try to time it so it doesn't fill up when I fly. Also, chewing gum will cause a little bit of gas, and you might notice some extra air in your pouch. I chew gum anyway, and I usually stand to empty my pouch on the plane if I have to use the plane restroom.



Make sure to bring extra supplies. If carrying on your luggage, pre-cut your wafers, they don't allow the scissors. The new heat sensors they have instead of metal detectors will sense the bag but it's no big deal. Tell security what it is. They will take you aside for a quick test where they run a paper over your clothes looking for chemicals. It takes a few minutes so give yourself extra time. They never asked me to show my bag and this was all done over clothes, it's not invasive.


I pack all my ileostomy supplies (including extras) in a fishing tackle box and always carry it on the plane with me. They can lose my luggage but they can't lose my supplies. My doctor wrote me a letter stating I need these supplies for my medical condition. I've never been denied any liquids, scissors, etc. that I have in my box.

Oh, and I always have people in the airplane ask me, "How was the fishing?" LOL!


I travel quite a bit domestically in the U.S. and internationally. I also have TSA PreCheck and unless I am being scanned, I do not say a word. The scanner will pick up your bag, the walkthrough detector will not, so I just say something if I am being scanned. And as others have said, just tell them you have an ostomy and it is a matter of having your hands swiped after you pass your hand over your clothes where your bag is located. I also pack extra supplies in my carry-on; the majority of the supplies are in my checked luggage. I do not have to change my appliance very often at all (strange for an ileostomate, but I am extremely fortunate)... so what I take in my carry-on will usually suffice should my luggage get lost. So adapt to your particular circumstances but definitely plan in case your checked luggage does get lost. Happy traveling!

You can get the blue card that indicates you are an ostomate on the UOAA website at



I travel often but my replacement knee sends alarms off. I am TSA but ran into a very new TSA person who insisted I remove my belt. I mentioned to him I had a bag but he wanted belt off. I agreed to remove belt if he would clean up the poop off the floor. His next step... "We need a supervisor at ck out 3." Issue resolved by supervisor. Now the same TSA person is very pleasant to me.


Thank you for posting the blue card link, paulaAZ!


You are more than welcome, GraphX12. I have used it a few times when going through security and like I said when I am going through the scanner and not the metal detector.


Just a quick update following my short trip away. All went well, no real issues. I did get stopped on my way back and was asked what my pouch was. The airport security were happy to do a quick swab, then I was on my way.

So relieved with it being my first travelling experience since my op. Hopefully the beginning of many more adventures.

Again, thanks to everyone for their great advice.


That is great news, Cheekymonkey ... glad it went so well. You are on your way to many more exciting and fun-filled trips!



Congratulations Cheekymonkey, glad things went well! Getting that first one under your belt is the hard one. I've only had one bad experience flying and that was when I was stuck in the customs line for 2 1/2 hours with a full bag. Only two customs agents handling everyone, and they were not in a hurry to get us through.


Awesome Monkey!

I would suspect that the agents at the airport are happy to move us along rather than dealing with a bag of poop! I bet if they had one leak in their area, that would be the last time they ever stop you! LOL



Hi, since having my ileostomy several years ago, I have traveled many times, in Europe, and between Europe, USA, and Mexico.
I have never experienced a problem being scanned at any airport or any other problems during my trips. I always request an aisle seat for easy access bathroom breaks and to stretch my legs. I always keep a spare pouch/wipes etc. in my pocket for an emergency change, which, to date, I have never used. I always use the bathroom before landing, in case of queues on arrival. Before and during traveling, I eat lightly and avoid fizzy drinks.
I have a mini booklet, written in worldwide languages, explaining about stoma factors, which you can present at the host destination, at the appropriate page. I have never needed to use my booklet.
I am much more relaxed about traveling now than I was in the beginning.
Happy travels!




Your post has some great tips for travelers! I really like the book with ostomy info in different languages. I plan to travel to Europe next year, so I may have to look into getting something like that!




I love the Disney and Donald Duck. Cute!


Thanks home xx

Past Member

Hey cheeky monkey, how are you? I bet you're feeling a million times better now though after your operation! I've had mine for over a year. I travel to Spain a lot and have had no issues at all. At first, I worried that my bag would inflate due to pressure on the airplane, but it did not! You'll be fine, lovely! Oh yes, you'll never be naked again! Is that a good thing or bad? God bless...


Thanks for the kind words, Happy. I am feeling much better now since the op, almost 6 months post-op, and I'm used to it all, and it feels like I had it forever. Been lucky, I have had minimal issues with it so far. You were right about travelling, I didn't have any issues at the airport, all went smoothly.

As for not being naked again, I am on a regular basis, no issues with that either, lol.


Hello, Steve

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