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Exercising with a Colostomy PDF Print E-mail

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As with any major change in life it will take a little time to get comfortable with a colostomy pouch.  But be assured that you will be able to resume a some what normal life again.  This adjustment period generally takes quite a few months and sometimes up to a year.  Day by day it will get easier and you will find your comfort zone, the better your attitude and outlook the quicker the comfort of this change will happen.  Sooner than you think you’ll take a nice walk outside, return to work, exercise & swim, and even have a sex life again!

If you are new to wearing a pouch some of these will seem impossible both physically and mentally, but I’m here to tell you it is all possible. In time you will be able to do many of the activities you have enjoyed prior to your colostomy surgery. It is truly your choice of who you will tell about your pouch and who you will not.

Exercising is an extremely important function of life and whether you walk, run, have a favorite sport you participate in you can return to that favorite activity once you have the surgeon’s okay. Keep in mind to always remember to empty your pouch before any exercise, and be especially mindful to drink lots of water or hydration drinks before, during, and after.  
Here are a couple of suggestions for a few various activities:

  • Runners, joggers, tennis players, skiers, or any bouncy sports enthusiast may consider a special binder or belt to help hold and support your pouch in place so it won’t come loose.
  • High contact sports could be tough on your stoma, discuss this with you nurse about any special products you can use to protect it during these activities.
  • Weight lifters will need to wait at least 2 months after surgery to resume lifting and talk to you specialist about a system to support your core abdomen area during work outs.
  • Swimming, yes you can swim with a bag on, although keep in mind that the wax will absorb the water and if exposed long enough it can become quite soft, and it won’t remain for very long.  Keep swimming to 45 minutes max and have the spare bag ready to change when you are finished.  Finding the right swimsuit that is a little looser will make it more comfortable for you too, check into the styles available for colostomy patients.  Careful of the sun the stoma, I would imagine that would be the worst place for a sunburn!
  • Bike riding, one of the greatest forms of exercise there is and probably one of the most enjoyable.  If you take pleasure in mountain biking consider a special binder or belt to help hold and support the pouch and keep it from loosening.

There are many different specialty products for active people with pouches, talk to your nurse specialist, check online, or go to your local medical supply store to see what else is available.

If your still a little unsure as to what you feel you can do then take it slow, also check out our forum and read what others have shared or please feel free to add your personal journeys to it.  There is also a lot of community support groups to check into.  Talking and sharing with others are great ways to learn more and some people feel more comfortable talking with others in the same situation than with their doctor or nurses.

Although to you this new contraption seems extremely obvious, you’ll feel like every noise and gurgle from your stoma will be heard by all, and every slight bulge will be seen.  The truth is that most people won’t notice your pouch unless you tell them about it.  Ask someone close to you to be honest and let you know what they hear or see so that it will help you to make the adjustments necessary.  A great key is to empty your bag when it gets 1/4 to 1/3 full, then it won’t show a bulge under your clothes

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