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Answers to Common Questions After Ostomy Surgery

Common Questions After Ostomy Surgery

Have you recently had ostomy surgery? It’s normal to have plenty of questions after ostomy surgery. After all, this is a brand new situation for you, and many aspects of life can change once you have an ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy surgery.

While this can feel like a difficult time, especially at first, you can definitely adapt to your new situation. At 180 Medical, we offer high-quality ostomy supplies that can make all the difference in your quality of life. We also provide caring service and plenty of helpful resources for living with an ostomy.

Get started with some answers to some of the most common questions about life after ostomy surgery.

What Should My Stoma Look Like?

Initially, your stoma will probably look very red and swollen after ostomy surgery. However, as it heals, the swelling will gradually go down, and the appearance will transition to a pink or pinkish-red color. Also, stomas are typically moist like the inside of your cheek.

If you notice any unusual color changes, bleeding, irritation, pain, or swelling after healing, you may have a problem with your stoma. Be sure to contact your doctor or an ostomy nurse. These are signs of stoma problems.

180 Medical customers have access to a team of Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses (WOC Nurses), so if you need medical advice for a non-emergency situation, we can connect you to a nurse who can help.

Will My Stoma Change Size After Healing?

Yes. Immediately after ostomy surgery, your stoma will be swollen. Over time, as you heal, you’ll likely go through several size changes. This means you may need a different ostomy pouch or wafer (skin barrier)

That’s why you need a qualified team of specialists who can help you every step of the way with the right ostomy supplies in the right sizes. Just keep your ostomy supply company informed of any changes.

Will My Diet Change After Ostomy Surgery?

It might, but this depends on what type of surgery you have – ileostomy, colostomy, or urostomy.

After undergoing ostomy surgery, most people find that their diet will not have to change drastically. However, people with a colostomy or ileostomy may be advised by their doctor to avoid certain foods that can cause blockages or excess gas.

Consult your doctor or ostomy nurse for information on what you should avoid or begin to include in your diet if anything.

Will I Still Be Able to Exercise With an Ostomy?

Absolutely, you can still exercise with an ostomy. However, be sure to give your body adequate time to heal and recover. Ostomy surgery is a major procedure.

So, how long do you need to wait after ostomy surgery before exercising? It’s really a case-by-case basis, although it can take weeks or even months before your body is ready for major physical activity.

You don’t want to jump into anything too quickly, so be sure to get the okay to begin exercising from your doctor.

Once your doctor has said it’s okay to begin exercising, follow their directions. Many healthcare professionals recommend starting with gentle walking before anything else.

However, rest assured that many people still with ostomies maintain a very physically active lifestyle. We’ve heard from customers that still play baseball, run marathons, and lift weights, to name a few examples.

Can I Shower With an Ostomy?

Yes. Check with your doctor to find out how they prefer you to bathe immediately after surgery.

However, after healing, you can take baths or showers if you’d like. It depends on your personal preference on whether you keep your ostomy pouch on or take it off, but many people with ostomies have found that it’s nice to give their skin a break and expose the stoma to air. Be cautious about getting too much soap or water on or around the stoma to avoid irritation.

Depending on which type of ostomy you have, your body may continue to eliminate waste while you are showering. Doctors sometimes recommend that colostomy and ileostomy patients choose a time when their bowel is less active. This will help you avoid extra messes while you’re bathing.

Will My Insurance Cover Ostomy Supplies?

It’s very likely. Many insurance plans will require a prescription and/or doctor’s notes in order to cover ostomy products.

Medicare covers ostomy supplies, and many private health insurance plans do as well. State Medicaid plan coverage will vary from state to state.

But how much will your ostomy supplies cost? And how many pouches and skin barriers will you be able to receive per month? You don’t have to figure it out alone. 180 Medical’s insurance experts can verify your health insurance and determine your options.

Not sure if your health insurance plan covers ostomy supplies? Our insurance experts can verify your plan and walk you through your product options.

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Will My Ostomy Smell?

The truth is that your ostomy is a conduit to eliminate waste from the body. It would be nearly impossible to avoid at least some odors, particularly during ostomy pouch emptying.

However, when your pouch is on and sealed securely, you shouldn’t smell or give off an obvious ostomy odor at all.

Are you experiencing ostomy bag smells or leakage? You don’t have to live with it. There are options!

180 Medical’s Ostomy Specialists can help you navigate ostomy products and accessories that can help with common issues like leakage and smells.

180 Medical’s Ostomy Specialists can help you navigate ostomy products and accessories that can help with common issues like leakage and smells.

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

No, not unless you tell them.

According to the United Ostomy Associations of America, approximately 750,000 people have had an ostomy. You most likely have come across someone who has had the procedure before, and you never even knew it.

Today’s ostomy supplies are more streamlined, so your ostomy bag should not be visible under your clothes.

Are There Specialized Clothes or Swimwear for People With an Ostomy?

Yes. While regular clothes often do a great job of keeping an ostomy pouch concealed, some people like the additional security and comfort of specialized ostomy pouch wraps, full-coverage ostomy underwear, ostomy swimwear, and other options.

At Ostomysecrets, you can find all this and more. Plus, if you’re a 180 Medical customer, you can get a discount code for 35% off your first purchase at Ostomysecrets. Contact our specialists to learn more!

180 Medical get a 35% off Ostomy Secrets Discount Code. Contact our specialists to learn more by clicking here.

Can I Still Have Intimate Relationships After My Ostomy Surgery?

Yes, you can! Many ostomates date and have relationships. Your partner will need to be aware of your ostomy, but remember that the right person will be understanding. You can get more helpful tips about intimacy after ostomy surgery on our blog.

Can I Travel With an Ostomy?

You definitely can. Many ostomates travel by car or plane every day.

Of course, you’ll need some of our helpful ostomy travel tips and a little preparation in advance. But traveling should be no problem at all.

Are There Support Groups for Ostomates?

At the beginning of your recovery after urostomy, colostomy, or ileostomy surgery, you may go through a lot of emotions as you adjust to life with an ostomy.

The good news is that you’re never alone. As mentioned before, hundreds of thousands of people live with ostomies too, and many people find hope and a sense of community in support groups, whether they meet online or in person. Click here to find the one in your area.

One such online support community you can visit is Convatec’s me+ support program. The me+ program provides resources, product support, tips, and a community of others with ostomies.

Where Should I Buy Ostomy Supplies?

180 Medical is dedicated to providing our customers with the very ostomy products for their unique needs.

Our friendly specialists make the entire process of getting your ostomy supply order easy — from verifying your insurance coverage to getting any necessary documentation from your doctor to having your supplies delivered right to your doorstep.

We’re ready to turn the quality of your life around, so contact us today to get started.

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Call Toll-Free (877) 688-2729

About the Author
Answers to Common Questions After Ostomy Surgery
Jessica is the Sr. Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical, and she has been with the company for over 14 years now. She loves getting to be creative in her role and hearing from customers about the positive impact we've made on their lives.

Outside of work, you can find her hanging out with her husband and their dogs or browsing garden centers (where she will almost certainly buy another houseplant she doesn't really need).