Simple Tips For Life After an Ostomy
This article is a compilation of tips to help patients with life after getting a stoma bag and how to care for it and their bodies.
Life with an Ostomy Bag
– It might take time to get used to going to the bathroom differently. The stool outputs exit your body through your stoma. It will empty into a disposable bag after getting an ostomy.
– The frequency of your output depends on what you eat, the procedure you had, and your bathroom patterns even before having the surgery.
– A change in diet might be necessary for a little while after the surgery to control your bowel. Nevertheless, you will be able to eat what you want once you recover from your ostomy.
– You don’t have to worry about negative reactions from your friends, family, or sexual partner. Your clothing will be covering your ostomy, so no one will know about it unless you tell them.
– Talk to your doctor, family or friends if you are having a hard time with the social, emotional and practical changes after an ostomy. You can also join a support group or work with an enterostomal therapist. They can help you deal with the day-to-day issues of living with a stoma and dealing with supplies. It might be easier for you to adjust when you have support from others.
Intimacy with an Ostomy Bag
It can take time to get used to having a stoma bag and care for it, especially when it is part of your treatment. Ostomy might change the way you feel about yourself, your body and sexual intercourse for a little while. It can be a good sight that your body and mind are ready to move forward if you are getting curious about sexual intercourse and intimacy. Here are a few tips that might help.
You Can Take Your Time
Doctors often recommend waiting three weeks after the surgery to do any activity. However, it is up to you whether you will start any activities at the three-week mark. Many people head back to the bedroom as soon as they can. Other people may not think about it for many months or years. The most important thing is that you are comfortable with your body and confident with your stoma. There are also stoma supplies you can buy to help you feel more comfortable about being intimate.
Things Will Be Different
Common side effects can include erection problems, vaginal dryness, not reaching orgasm, or even pain. Nonetheless, these problems can be temporary. Consult with your doctor if you are still experiencing any of these issues after the first few times you have sexual intercourse. Some of your prescribed medications might also affect your sexual desire and cause ejaculation or erection issues.
Prep Everything Beforehand
Attend to your wound and stoma care before entering the bedroom. Having a pouch might make you feel less spontaneous about sex. Empty and clean your stoma bag before you head behind closed doors. It might also be the right time to change your ostomy appliance. Make sure that you have also sealed your stoma bag and take extra care about odour control. You can also use paper tape for an added layer of security to make you feel better.
Ease the Odour
Use a deodoriser if you are worried about your pouch releasing smells. It can come in tablets, drops, or sprays depending on the brand you choose to use. Pills that can curb the odour of your waste are also available for consumption. However, you should consult with your doctor first and see what he recommends.
What You Should Wear
There are passion pouches that you can purchase. It is smaller than regular bags and has a closed-end. You can also opt for stoma covers if you feel uncomfortable having sexual intercourse with a stoma bag. There are also special clothing that can help hide your pouch during sexual intercourse.
Take to Your Side
You can get creative with how you position yourself. Make sure that it does not hurt, and it keeps your bag out of the way. You have to be aware of your stoma wound and take proper care and precautions to not irritate it.
Talk It Out
Communication will always be key for any relationship. Share any fears and physical issues with your partner, as much as you are comfortable. Tell them what you like, dislike, and what you are willing to try. It is normal for anxiety to follow you inside the bedroom. Nonetheless, you should take a deep breath and remember that nothing is sexier than a good attitude and a sense of humour.
Doing Activities with an Ostomy
Nothing should get in the way of activities you love, like yoga, tennis or swimming. Even having an ostomy should not prevent you from staying fit. You would have to get a healthcare professional’s permission before returning to most sports and activities you enjoyed before the surgery. However, contact sports like boxing and MMA are exceptions due to the possible risk of injuries it can cause to the stoma from a severe blow. Here are a few tips you can follow as you resume exercise and other physical activities.
Start Slowly and Go at Your Own Pace
You have to give your abdominal muscles some time to heal after getting an ostomy. Working with a healthcare professional will make it easier to tell when and how to start exercising again.
Choose an Activity You Enjoy
Fit your chosen activity into your schedule at least three times a week. You can do said activity for at least thirty to sixty minutes per session.
Empty Your Pouch Before Participating in Any Activity
Your wafer should be on for at least an hour before getting wet or before any activity that will cause you to perspire. It might also be wise to bring with you extra stoma bags and wound care products in case the need arises.
You Should Not Worry About Sweating
Most ostomy pouching systems are water-resistant. However, you should still follow the stoma bag care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Swimmers should cover the vent of their deodorising filter and the proper cover to prevent water from entering the pouch. Remove the cover once you have dried up. It is also better to lug your stoma supplies with you in case of emergencies.
Relaxing at a Sauna or Hot Tub
It is possible to relax at a sauna or hot tub as long as your healthcare provider approves. Add water-resistant tape around your barrier and periodically check on it to ensure the seal is not compromised.
Coloplast manufactures ostomy and wound care products aimed to make the life of patients easier and more comfortable. They also provide a personal support service program with Coloplast Care that aims to aid patients in adjusting to their new life.