Getting back into life

 

It might help to remember...

...other than the way you go to the bathroom, you are still the exact same person you were before surgery.

As you move through the first few months following stoma surgery, some things may worry you as you adjust to life with a stoma. This is very common and very normal. Some common concerns are listed below.

WILL I BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN MY FAVORITE SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES?

You can, and should, stay active. With your stoma care nurse's permission, you can go back to the same sports and activities you engaged in before your surgery. However, you may want to avoid contact sports such as boxing, wrestling and football because of possible injury to the stoma. Speak with your stoma care nurse about your individual situation.

WILL MY POUCH LEAK?

The durable film used to make stoma pouches is designed to minimise leaks. That said, routinely changing your pouch and ensuring it is properly and securely attached to your body (in the case of a one piece system) or the skin barrier (in the case of a two piece system), will reduce your chance of experiencing a leak.

WILL MY POUCH HAVE AN EMBARRASSING ODOUR?

The materials used to manufacture a stoma pouch are designed to block odour from escaping. However, there are additional precautions you can take to reduce odour further. Selecting a pouch with a charcoal filter will help release gas from the pouch while deodorising. You can also manage your diet to minimise the intake of foods that cause odour or gas. Lastly, you may consider using a deodorising agent, in your pouch. It is also important to remember that everyone's body makes noises and produces odours from time to time. While it can be embarrassing, do not let a fear of what could go wrong keep you from going about your day.

WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS?

Having a stoma does not mean that intimacy has to come to an end. Meaningful and fulfilling intimate encounters are possible. Communication and trust are at the heart of the healing process. It is normal to feel sensitive about the change in your body. Share your feelings with your spouse or loved one, and respond to his or her concerns as well. Let your partner know that sexual relations will not hurt your stoma. With time, understanding, and a positive attitude, you can enjoy a mutually satisfying sexual relationship.

WILL MY FRIENDS STAY AWAY FROM ME?

Friendships are very important. It is always reassuring to have around you people you can rely on at a time when you may need their support most. Many people with stomas find it awkward telling friends, family, and colleagues about their condition. Obviously, it is up to you who you tell. You do not have to tell anyone you do not want to tell because no one will know. But keeping an open trust between you and your loved ones will not only help you, it will also help them.

WILL I HAVE TO BUY A NEW WARDROBE?

Since your stoma pouch is designed to lie flat against your body and will not be noticeable under most clothing, there is no need for a whole new wardrobe. You do not even need special underwear-pouches can be worn either inside or outside of your underwear.


Some things to consider:

  • If your stoma is at or near your waistline, try to avoid pressure from tight-wasted pants or belts
  • If you want to wear tights, make sure they are soft and stretchy
  • Many men who wear athletic supporters find it helpful to wear them one size larger

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