Ostomy Toilets And Using Public Restrooms: Practical Tips And Adjustments

Posted by MeetAnOstoMate

Living with an ostomy presents unique challenges, especially when it comes to using public restrooms. However, with some practical tips and adjustments, you can make the experience much more manageable and comfortable. Here’s a detailed look at how to navigate these situations, whether at home or in public.

Ostomy-Friendly Toilets

Ostomy-friendly toilets are designed with specific features to accommodate the needs of individuals with an ostomy. These toilets can significantly enhance comfort and hygiene. Some key features include:

  • Raised and Wider Seats: These make sitting and standing easier and provide extra space to accommodate the ostomy bag.
  • Built-in Bidet: Helps in cleaning the stoma area effectively, which is crucial for maintaining hygiene and preventing infections.
  • Shelves and Hooks: Essential for placing ostomy supplies during changes, these can make the process much more convenient.
  • Hand Showers and Trigger Extensions: These are handy for cleaning the stoma area and surrounding skin.
  • Sanitation Enhancements: Include sanitary wipes, hand sanitizers, and disposable gloves to maintain cleanliness.

Modifying Existing Toilets

You don’t need to buy a specialized toilet to meet your needs. There are several modifications you can make to a standard toilet to make it more ostomy-friendly:

  • Add Shelves and Hooks: Installing a shelf near the toilet provides a place for supplies during changes. Hooks can be used to hang bags and other items.
  • Toilet Seat Risers: These can make sitting and standing easier, reducing the risk of strain and providing extra space.
  • Handheld Bidet or Portable Bidet: These can be attached to your existing toilet and are very useful for cleaning the stoma area.
  • Comfort and Safety: Consider padded toilet seats and grab bars for additional support and safety.
  • Creating a Dedicated Space: If possible, use privacy screens to create a dedicated area within the bathroom for ostomy care.

Using Public Restrooms

Public restrooms can be daunting for those with an ostomy, but being prepared can make a big difference. Here are some tips:

  • Carry a Restroom Kit: Always have a small bag with essential supplies such as extra pouches, disposal bags, wet wipes, and a change of clothes. A small squirt bottle or spray bottle for rinsing the pouch can also be very useful.
  • Manage Odors: Use odor eliminators like specific drops or spearmint Tic-Tacs. A small can of air freshener or products designed to manage odors can be helpful.
  • Reduce Noise and Splashing: Place a few sheets of toilet paper in the bowl before emptying the pouch to prevent splashing and reduce noise.
  • Handling Leaks and Accidents: Be prepared with a backup kit containing pouches, cleaning wipes, spare underwear, and disposal bags. Products like Sure Seal rings can provide time to change the appliance in case of an accident.

Special Situations

When traveling or engaging in outdoor activities, additional preparation is necessary:

  • Traveling and Long Outings: Carry a backpack with extra supplies, a change of underwear, and toiletries. Inform security and flight attendants about the ostomy to ensure comfort and assistance during flights. Use restroom locator apps to find nearby facilities.
  • Outdoor Activities: Bring a small garden trowel to dig a hole and bury waste when hiking or camping. Use firm sealing containers for long drives without a bathroom and dispose of them in a trash can when possible.
  • Managing Anxiety and Building Confidence: Start with small outings to build confidence before longer trips. Gradually increase the distance of outings to gain confidence and experience.

Practical Tips

There are a few more practical tips to keep in mind:

  • Using Disabled Toilets: If available, use disabled toilets as they often provide more space and privacy. Stand up for your right to use these facilities based on need.
  • Handling Public Accidents: Be prepared with supplies to clean up and change the appliance after an accident. Carry a small bag containing baby wipes and a fresh appliance when going out.
  • Diet and Hydration: Eat smaller meals to reduce output and avoid foods that cause gas or loose stools. Stay hydrated but manage fluid intake to avoid excessive output.

Living with an ostomy can be challenging, but with the right tools and preparation, you can navigate public and private restrooms more comfortably and confidently. Whether modifying your home bathroom or preparing for a day out, these tips can help make the experience more manageable.

 
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