Ostomy, Body Image Issues, Depression, And Anxiety

Posted by MeetAnOstoMate

For many, an ostomy is a lifesaving surgery. However, along with the physical recovery and changes, it's not uncommon for ostomates (individuals with an ostomy) to confront psychological challenges. Body image issues, depression, and anxiety can weigh heavily on their minds, creating a spectrum of emotions ranging from acceptance to utter despair. Finding community and support is crucial. Websites like MeetAnOstoMate can provide a haven for those navigating this journey, as they offer a community of people who understand firsthand the challenges faced by ostomates.

Body Image Issues

An ostomy surgery, be it colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy, can change how an individual perceives their body. The presence of a stoma (an opening on the abdomen) can sometimes lead to feelings of being "different" or "less attractive." Ostomates might feel self-conscious about wearing certain clothes or participating in activities they used to love.

Coping Mechanisms:

  1. Education: Understanding the necessity and functions of the stoma can help in acceptance.
  2. Support Groups: Sharing feelings with others can make one feel less isolated.
  3. Fashion Tips: Many ostomates share clothing ideas that are comfortable and conceal the ostomy appliance well.
  4. Professional Help: Consulting with therapists or counselors can be beneficial in coping with body image issues.


Depression can be a direct outcome of grappling with the new reality post-surgery. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or a lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities can signal depression.

Coping Mechanisms:

  1. Stay Connected: Keeping in touch with loved ones and sharing feelings can provide much-needed comfort.
  2. Engage in Activities: Slowly reintroducing hobbies and finding new ones can uplift spirits.
  3. Professional Help: If feelings of depression persist, seeking professional counseling or therapy is vital.


Worries about the ostomy appliance's visibility, fear of leaks, or anxiety about public reactions can make social situations a source of stress.

Coping Mechanisms:

  1. Preparedness: Carrying an emergency kit with extra supplies can ease worries about potential leaks.
  2. Practice: Engaging in "dry runs" at home, like practicing changing the appliance, can build confidence.
  3. Support: Joining online communities like MeetAnOstoMate.org can provide strategies and firsthand experiences on dealing with anxiety.
  4. Meditation & Relaxation Techniques: These can help in managing and reducing anxiety levels.

The Power of Community

A sense of community can be a beacon of hope for ostomates. Talking with others who have faced similar experiences can alleviate feelings of isolation. Websites like MeetAnOstoMate.org provide not just practical advice but emotional support. Knowing that one is not alone in their journey, that there are others who have faced and overcome similar challenges, can be immensely comforting.

MeetAnOstoMate is the Largest Independent Ostomy Community. Our goal is to make you feel good. 31,910 members have embraced their new lives and moved on.
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