Swimming With an Ostomy Bag: Five Things You Should Know
Swimming With an Ostomy Bag: Five Things You Should Know
Swimming is excellent exercise, and it’s also an amazingly relaxing activity. One of the best things about summer is lazing around the pool and taking the occasional dip to cool down.
If you’re living with an ostomy bag, you may feel uncomfortable about the idea of wearing a swimsuit. You may feel exposed or worry about leaks, which can reduce the fun you have at the pool.
In good news, ostomy pouches have specialized mechanisms to resist water and prevent leaking under any circumstances, including swimming and other outdoor activities. By taking a couple of precautions before your swim, you’ll have the confidence to brave the water and make the most out of the summer season.
Choose the Right Swimsuit
Most people feel better swimming with an ostomy bag if they feel it’s hidden. Shop around for snug, one-piece swimsuits for women or high-waisted swimming trunks for men that will cover the stoma and ostomy bag.
Snug swimsuits also help hold ostomy pouches in place, letting you enjoy the water for longer. If you plan on diving or doing something a bit more strenuous than lazing by the pool, a snug swimsuit is essential to keeping the ostomy bag in place.
If you’re struggling to find the right swimsuit for you, why not check out some specialized ostomy swimsuits? These have coverings for your stoma and bag, are often patterned to disguise the bag, and are snug enough to hold your pouch in place while you enjoy your swim.
Take Precautions Before Your Swim
Before you go swimming with an ostomy bag, check your swimsuit and pouch at home in the shower or bath. It’s the first step to testing your pouch and seeing how it feels and looks when wet.
Testing your pouch at home will also show you exactly how secure your pouch is. If you’ve spent a lot of time in the bath, you’ll know that the seal will stay snug and leak-free for hours, even after full immersion in a bath.
By taking these precautions and testing your kit at home, you’ll have a much more comfortable time at the pool. Most ostomy products are resilient, robust, and should not interfere with your day-to-day living.
It should also give you a bit more reassurance about how visible your ostomy bag really is. Most people assume that they’re projecting a giant sign saying, “Ostomy pouch here!” but the truth is that most people are having too much fun to notice you, your swimsuit, or your minimally visible pouch.
In addition to pressure testing your ostomy pouch in the bath, you can also follow a couple of good practices to reduce the chances of something going wrong.
Make sure to empty your pouch before you go swimming. The chances of a leak are minimal, but it’s something that can weigh on your mind. Also, eat a few hours before swimming to lessen any output concerns before your swim.
Try to apply a new skin barrier or pouch at least 12 hours before your swim. Some products take a while to adhere to your skin properly, and waiting a couple of hours can maximize the barrier’s adhesion potential.
Consider Ostomy Accessories
In many cases, just wearing the right swimsuit is enough to ensure your comfort while swimming with an ostomy bag. However, if you’ve struggled with non-sealing ostomy pouches or problems with adhesives, ostomy accessories or specialized ostomy swimsuits may be the right option for you.
Ostomy belts can provide an extra layer of security and protection, increasing your confidence in the pool. They help provide the necessary pressure to ensure your ostomy pouch sits snugly against your skin and reduces the profile, making it less noticeable when you’re wearing a swimsuit.
The Stealth Belt is a great addition if you’re into extreme sports, like surfing or wakeboarding, which have a much higher chance of unwanted impacts. The neoprene belt repels water away from the ostomy pouch, ensuring that the adhesives do their job, even under the roughest conditions.
You may want to learn more about Stealth Belt Pro for swimming and other water activities. If you love more extreme sports, you’ll appreciate the extra support that a Stealth Belt can provide.
Watch Out for Skin Irritation
If you’ve started swimming with an ostomy bag, you may notice that you’re sweating more than usual. Increased sweating will lead to a loosened ostomy bag seal, which means that you’ll be changing your skin barrier more often.
While changing your skin barrier more often shouldn’t be too much of a problem, it may lead to increased skin irritation around your stoma. Overly chlorinated water can also lead to increased irritation, particularly if you’re sensitive to skin-drying agents.
Consider using perspiration-absorbing powders to reduce the frequency of your ostomy bag changes. Many modern powders won’t interact with your skin barrier adhesives, so you can rest assured that you’re still getting maximum adhesion at all times.
However, if you’ve noticed bumps, discoloration, or a rash around your stoma, make sure to get in touch with your nurse as soon as possible. They’ll be able to recommend better skin care and address any irritation before it gets serious.
Go Out and Enjoy Summer
Having a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy doesn’t mean the end of your quality of life. There are so many ostomy products that will restore your ability to live life to the fullest.
Don’t let the potential for shame and embarrassment prevent you from enjoying the summer. By choosing the right swimsuit, doing some minor prep work, and selecting the best ostomy swimming protection for more extreme sports, nobody will even realize that you have an ostomy pouch.
It may feel strange and uncomfortable the first time you go swimming with an ostomy bag. However, once you take the plunge, you’ll soon see that there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.
If you want additional peace of mind, consider the Stealth Belt, which will securely hold your ostomy bag in place and protect it from bumps, perspiration, and any other potential hazards.