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.
You may bathe with or without your pouching system in place. Exposure to air, water or soap will not harm the stoma. Water cannot enter the body through the stoma.
When swimming, you may want to choose a swim suit with some support or a lining for a smoother profile. Some people add tape to the edges of the pouch for greater security.
All methods of travel are open to you. Many people with ostomies travel extensively, from camping trips to cruises to plane excursions around the world. Take along enough supplies to last the entire trip plus some extra, double what you think you may need. Checked luggage sometimes gets lost, carry an extra pouching system and other supplies on the plane with you. When traveling by car, keep your supplies in the coolest part, and avoid the trunk or back window ledge. Seat belts will not harm the stoma when adjusted comfortably.
When traveling abroad, take adequate amount of supplies, referral lists for physicians and medical centers, and some medication to control any diarrhea and stop the fluid and electrolyte loss. When going through customs or luggage inspection, a note from your doctor stating that you need to carry ostomy supplies and medications by hand may be helpful.