Summer is on the way. As someone who use uses ostomy supplies, you may be curious about how warmer temperatures may impact your ostomy care routine. You may be wondering if you can pursue outdoor activities such as camping or swimming with a stoma. The good news is that with the right products from an ostomy supply company like ABC Medical, summer is no cause for worry and you can actively participate in outdoor activities. In this article, we will discuss some tips to make the most out of your summer as an ostomate.
Make sure you’ve got a good ostomy appliance that gives you at least 3 days of reliable wear time. If your pouch is unreliable and leaks often, you may need a different style of product to better fit your body. An ostomy nurse can help you determine what product is best for you. Or you could reach out to ABC Medical or the company that provides your ostomy bag supplies if you need support. Once you are in the ideal product, your pouch should hold up to most activities, including swimming and sports.
All ostomy products and ostomy bags should be stored in cool areas to prevent damage to the product. On hot days, the temperature inside of your car can get very high, so this is not a great place to keep extra supplies. You may also find that wipes will dry out if stored too long in the heat. Use special care and keep your ostomy supplies in a temperature-controlled area to ensure longevity.
Most ostomy skin barriers are made with a water-resistant adhesive that should hold securely to your body even if submerged in water. If your pouch fits you well and gives you 3-5 days of reliable wear time, a dip in the pool should not cause any issues. Extended wear products contain a stronger adhesive, which may be a good option for a frequent swimmer.
Hot tubs can sometimes cause issues with pouch adhesion. Prolonged immersion in hot water may cause the adhesive to loosen, resulting in a less secure seal. If you chose to get in the hot tub, you may find that changing the pouch immediately after is the best choice to avoid an unexpected leak.
Whether or not you conceal your ostomy pouch at the beach or pool is up to you. There are no rules against having an ostomy and swimming in a public pool. To prevent an ostomate from swimming due to their stoma is considered discrimination and illegal. If you feel more comfortable covering your pouch, there are ostomy swimsuit options available. Ostomy Secrets makes swimsuits, underwear, and lingerie for people with stomas with built-in pockets to conceal the pouch. Visit Ostomysecrets.com to learn more.
Using barrier extenders can be a good option if you are engaging in physical activities such as climbing, hiking, yoga, or sports. Barrier extenders are flat, flexible strips that can be used like tape along the edges of the skin barrier to help it stay in place and keep them from rolling up as you move and sweat. Most insurances will cover barrier strips.
Some physically active people enjoy using a special wrap-style belt to provide additional security to the ostomy appliance. This belt contains a pocket for the ostomy bag to rest in, keeping it stable and close to the body. Stealth Belt is one company that makes this type of belt in both vertical and horizontal versions, so you have options on how to wear your pouch. You can learn more about Stealth Belt here https://www.stealthbelt.com/.
Some people find they sweat more heavily in the summer, especially when engaging in outdoor activities. If you feel that sweating is causing issues with pouch wear time, consider using a product with an extended wear barrier. This has a stronger level of adhesive, which may provide a better seal in sweaty conditions.
You may also find barrier extenders helpful, as they can be applied like tape along the edges of the barrier to prevent roll-up. If you sweat profusely, you may find that changing your ostomy bags or ostomy appliance a bit more frequently can help prevent leaks from a compromised skin barrier.
Summertime is often the time of year when we plan activities with our friends and families and spend time outside. It is good to keep in mind that there are very few activities that are “off-limits” to people with stomas. In my practice I have known ostomates who actively hunt, fish, dive, play sports, hike, camp, mountain climb and may other activities without issue. A good rule of thumb is to be prepared – bring extra clothing and everything you need for several pouch changes. That way, if the unexpected does happen and you get a leak, you’re prepared and can easily put on a new pouch and get back to living a full, active life.
Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For medical advice, please speak with your healthcare provider.