Three Things to Know About Life After an Ostomy

three things to know about life after ostomy surgery
At 180 Medical, we understand that you might have some apprehension about what your life will be like after you have an ostomy procedure. You may find you have to make some adjustments, based on your doctor’s recommendations, and getting used to having an ostomy may take some time. But will your day-to-day life be completely different? Let’s take a moment to break down the three main things you’ll want to know if you’re concerned about an upcoming ostomy surgery.

What Is an Ostomy?

An ostomy is a surgically-created opening in the abdomen that allows waste to leave your body. There are several types of ostomies depending on the affected area. We specialize in these three main types:

  • Colostomy: An artificial opening from the colon to divert the flow of formed stool
  • Ileostomy: An artificial opening from the small intestine to divert the flow of loose stool
  • Urostomy: An artificial opening from the urinary system to divert the flow of urine

You may be getting an ostomy procedure due to any number of issues, such as cancer of the colon or bladder, IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), severe diverticulitis, a physical trauma or accident, and many other issues. Your situation with having an ostomy can be temporary or permanent, depending on the condition, but that will be for your healthcare practitioner to determine.

Having an ostomy is not at all uncommon, and although it may seem like you’re going through this alone, you are among thousands who live as ostomates all over the world. In fact, in the United States alone, it’s estimated that as many as 750,000 people have an ostomy.

number of ostomates living in the usa

Will Others Be Able to Tell That I Have an Ostomy?

Although having an ostomy is nothing to be ashamed of, we understand that it may feel embarrassing or uncomfortable at first as you adjust to your new life as an ostomate. But with the proper supplies that fit you well, no one will be able to see that you have an ostomy.

It’s completely up to you how, when, and if you tell others about your surgery, but there are plenty of supplies and accessories, including clothing options, that can help you feel clean and secure, no matter whether you’re in public, at home, being active or even swimming.

Many of the pouches we carry feature charcoal filters to release any gas without build-up or odor. These also often have comfortable cloth-like panels which are specifically designed to stay quiet and discreet beneath your clothes. Depending on what type of ostomy you have, your doctor may have recommendations for the best type of system for your needs, and our Ostomy Specialists can also work with you to discover what may best suit your needs and preferences.

Will I Be Able to Lead a Normal Life After an Ostomy?

swimming with an ostomyYou can absolutely lead a normal life after having an ostomy procedure. There will, of course, be an adjustment period as your body heals post-surgery. Learning how to apply and remove your pouching system can also take a little time to figure out exactly works best for you, based on the recommendations and schedule as given by your doctor, but before you know it, you’ll be a pro.

As far as other adjustments to your lifestyle, such as your diet, that will be an individual recommendation from your doctor, since each body is unique. You may find that certain foods affect your digestive system differently, or your doctor may have some tips on the type and amounts of fluids to drink as well. For the most part, you can probably resume your normal diet once you’re given the okay from your doctor.

Many people who live a more active lifestyle wonder if they’ll be able to stay active after their ostomy procedure. This, again, will be on a case-by-case basis, and your doctor will be able to discuss this with you in more detail, but typically, you can get back to your exercise routine or favorite activities when and if your doctor approves. It’s possible you may be advised to stay away from full-contact or rough sports, but you should be able to run, swim, and even lift weights once you’re healed after an ostomy. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.

Also, once your doctor gives you the okay, you can go back to work or school after healing from your ostomy procedure. If you work a manual labor job, you may have to make some adjustments or speak with your employer about changing your tasks. For many people, getting back to their normal daily routine or work schedule is a great step to feeling more confident and assured that life will not be so different with an ostomy, after all.

Do you need ostomy supplies? We’re here to help!

At 180 Medical, we have a variety of ostomy products, including barriers, pouches, and other accessories to ensure you have everything you need. Contact us to speak with a trained Ostomy Specialist who is ready to lend you a compassionate ear and help you find the right ostomy supplies for you.

Call Toll-Free (877) 688-2729

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About the Author
Jessica is the Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical and has been a part of the 180 family for over 9 years. In her downtime, she enjoys creative writing, making art, seeing new places, and spending time with her loved ones.