Once your strength returns, you can go back to work. Heavy lifting may be discouraged the first few weeks as the incisions heal. People with ostomies do all kinds of work including strenuous types such as fire fighters, truck drivers and construction workers. Ask your surgeon when and how much lifting you can do.
Whatever you wore before surgery, you can wear afterward with very few exceptions. Many pouching systems are made today that are unnoticeable even when wearing the most stylish, form fitting clothing for men and women.
Depending on your stoma location you might find belts uncomfortable or restrictive. Some people choose to wear higher or looser waistbands on trousers and skirts.
Cotton knit or stretch underpants or panty hose may give the support and security you need. Some men finds that jockey type shorts help support the pouch.
Women may want to choose a swimsuit that has a lining to provide a smoother profile. Stretch panties (with lycra) can be also be worn under a swimsuit to add support and smooth out any bulges or outlines. Men may prefer to wear a tank shirt and trunks if the stoma is above the belt line.
For medical assistance, seek help from your physician, surgeon, or ostomy nurse. Contact UOAA for more information and referrals to local support groups and to request an ostomy visitor. Contact the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses national office, 1-800-224-9626 for information and local referrals for ostomy nurse specialists. Contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 for cancer information.
You need no special clothing because ostomy pouches are fairly flat and inconspicuous. Pressure from undergarments with elastic will not hurt the stoma or prevent it from working properly.
Sexual relationships and intimacy are important and fulfilling aspects of your life that should continue after ostomy surgery. Your attitude is a key factor in re-establishing sexual expression and intimacy. A period of adjustment after surgery is to be expected. Sexual function in women is usually not impaired, while sexual potency of men may sometimes be affected, usually only temporarily. Discuss any problems with your physician and/or ostomy nurse.
Your ability to conceive does not change and pregnancy and delivery should be normal after ostomy surgery. However, if you are thinking about becoming pregnant, you should first check with your doctor about any other health problems.