4. Resumption of Activities

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Patient is able to discuss resumption of activities, return to work/school.


An ostomy should not affect a person’s ability to resume an active lifestyle. Most people find they can continue all of the activities that they enjoyed prior to illness and surgery. There are many individuals with ostomies who are distance runners, swimmers, skiers, skydivers, scuba divers, hockey players, and football players.

Edging the flange with waterproof tape while swimming may provide extra security. Printed bathing suits as opposed to solid colours often help to camouflage the outline of the appliance. Some women prefer bathing suits with skirts or sashes and some men may wear a Speedo type bathing suit under a boxer-style trunk, but snug-fitting suits can be worn. A closed-end pouch may be used in place of the drainable pouch with closure clip to further add comfort and provide a smoother line under the suit.

Many people are concerned with return to work or school activities. “Will I smell, will there be noises, will they see it, what if someone asks?” are commonly expressed concerns. Patients need to be reassured that there should be no odour. The pouches are designed for stool, but deodorant drops or room aerosols for the bathroom can be used to add confidence and comfort. Noises are often muffled by clothing and can be further muffled by placing an arm across the stoma site. The appliance itself should not be visible - the key point to remember is that as a person he/she has not changed, only a surface change exists, one that g ives them back their health. The decision to share with others that they have an ostomy is very personal and individuals vary greatly as to when and with whom they choose to confide in.

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