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FAQ Swimming with an Ostomy | Ask Laura

Laura Cox
Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
05/30/14  8:57 PM PST
FAQ swimming with an ostomy

In this FAQ swimming with an ostomy, learn more about waterproof barriers and other ways to make sure you’re good to go in the pool.

Q: Swimming with an ostomy seems really scary. Now that summer is here, may I swim in a pool? If so, will my ostomy bag be affected by chlorine in the water? Should I get one of those “caps” for the stoma – is that a better way to go?

CarolAnne

A: Hi! You may swim in a pool! If your ostomy wafer has a waterproof barrier you can go in the pool without any additional products.

If your ostomy wafer does not have a waterproof barrier you can use barrier strips over your ostomy wafer. My absolute favorite product (although it’s not necessary all the time) is the SureSeal. HERE is a full blog post I did about swimming with an ostomy. HERE is a video I did about swimming with an ostomy.

I have found that the chlorine water does not affect my ostomy bag at all. It’s not necessary to get a stoma “cap” but you can if you would feel more comfortable with it! If you have a colostomy, a stoma cap is a great option, but if you have an ileostomy or urostomy, stoma caps aren’t very functional since both ileostomies and urostomies output frequently. Instead of a stoma cap, you may want to look into a mini-drainable pouch.

Happy swimming!

Laura

Serving Medicare Ostomates Nationwide
My 89-year-old mother loves to swim but she has found that the pouch fills with water when she gets into the pool. What can we do to fix this?
Cathy
We recently had someone reach out to our Facebook community with a similar question, and several of our OstomyLife community members responded with their own advice.
 
Hopefully you and your mother will find their answers helpful ...


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18 Comments

  1. Nicki
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 3:38 pm PDT

    What about swimming with Mic-key button? Is it safe?

  2. Posted July 24, 2014 at 9:37 pm PDT

    I would refer to your doctor with that question.

  3. JoAnn Grove R.N.
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm PDT

    I just wanted to say that, although none of my patients at this time have an ostomy, this is a great service to provide and as an R.N. who has not taken care of ostomy patients in quite a few years, I read the answers just so I will know! Laura is a great representative for this community of patients.

  4. Posted July 24, 2014 at 9:35 pm PDT

    Thank you so much JoAnn! I’m so happy to be providing resources.

  5. Abdul R Adenwala
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm PDT

    Thanks Laura for your video which helped me a lot, for the last 10 years
    I’m wearing ostomy pouch and was under the impression that I’m alone.

    Brava strips of Sure seal available with Shield

    Thanks for sharing

    Abdul R Adenwala

  6. Posted July 24, 2014 at 9:28 pm PDT

    Thanks Abdul! You are never alone! I appreciate the feedback!

  7. N Sheldon
    Posted July 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm PDT

    I would NEVER EVER wear my bag in a pool. I know I was told when I first got mine that it was OK to swim. There is nothing more horrible than having an accident in public. My worst was at Disneyland. The bag came completely off my body. I’ve had most accidents at home. Getting in the pool is a big risk in my opinion.

  8. Posted July 24, 2014 at 9:26 pm PDT

    I’m sorry to hear about your accidents. I’ve had many as well, the worst was during a Chemistry Lab my Junior year of college. It was a Lab Practical so I had to stay and complete my lab before I got to go home and change! Even with all my scary, frustrating experiences, I get in the pool. I really love swimming and didn’t want my ostomy to discourage me from doing something I love! No accidents in the pool in 2 years (knock on wood)!

  9. Dolyce Wood
    Posted July 10, 2014 at 4:24 pm PDT

    I read the article on swimming with a colostomy and a “stoma cap” was mentioned. I looked in your products and see you have them, but it doesn’t say what and how they are to be used. I want something to place over the stoma after getting out of the shower before putting the appliance on. I know I could avoid leaks by getting in the shower the first thing in the morning, but often I don’t until after coffee. Is the stoma cover used for this purpose?

  10. Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:13 pm PDT

    Hi Dolyce,
    A stoma cap is meant to attach to your flange to just be a small cover for your stoma when out in public. It does not go over your stoma before applying the appliance. I don’t know of any products that you can place over your stoma, but I’ve heard of some people using a used toilet paper roll to place over their stoma. I also use a “volcano trick” as I call it. I wrape toilet paper or gauze around the stoma to catch any stool that comes out.
    I hope this helps!

  11. Alice Jaehne
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:21 pm PDT

    How do I know if my appliances are for swimming?

  12. Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:09 pm PDT

    I talk about water proof appliances in this video: http://www.shieldhealthcare.com/community/ostomylifestyle/2014/09/21/6909/
    I is much easier to understand when you see what a waterproof barrier looks like!

  13. Andreina Salas
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 11:28 pm PDT

    Hi I was wondering what it was like when you first got your colonoscopy bag, I just had one put in recently and I was wondering what advice you could give me about it.

  14. Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:02 pm PDT

    Hi Andreina, I hope you are doing well! You are probably a seasoned pro by now! One tip I can still give you, even after you’ve been living with your stoma for a few months, is to contact other people with ostomies. I learn something new every time I go to a support group or talk to a friend about how he or she does things with a stoma. I would also so, education is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. If you have any concerns, research and talk to your doctor. We at Shield HealthCare are happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact me directly at asklaura@shieldhealthcare.com
    Hope you’re feeling well!

  15. Ron
    Posted August 15, 2014 at 5:03 pm PDT

    Regarding swimming or any highly active activity. I plan ahead by not eating at least 2-4 hours before the activity and empty the pouch before you begin the task.
    For water activities I wear a waterproof belts like the Stealth belt. Without it my pouch fabric get wet and take too much time to dry before I can put my clothes back on. When I take a shower at home or gym, I put a shower cap on my pouch to keep it dry.
    For running activities, the last thing I want is gas or output too much that it becomes a bouncing ball.
    So, plan ahead if you can. With an ostomy, you do have to plan ahead if you want to avoid accidents.

  16. Posted February 26, 2015 at 6:51 pm PDT

    Thank you for sharing your tips Ron! Planning ahead before engaging in activities is a great idea! I always make sure I hydrate very well a couple hours before, and take Imodium (ask your doctor if you can) before I run, swim, hike, or bike! I love the shower cap idea! I’ve never heard of that. I blow dry my pouch with a hair dryer.

  17. Galyn
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:02 pm PDT

    I’m going to be in a wedding in August. I’m a bit nervous about standing in front of everyone b/c of my new iliostomy. The wedding is at 5:30 and I thought if I didn’t eat after 11 I might nit have a px with output?

  18. Posted July 5, 2017 at 12:57 pm PDT

    Hi Galyn, I would not advise not eating, as you may feel faint. I would say that you should ask your doctor about taking Imodium if you’re concerned about having a lot of output. Also, you can try to eat things that slow down your digestion, like mashed potatoes, marshmallows, bananas, toast, etc. Also, if you are worried your ostomy pouch will show through your dress, here’s a link all about dressing with an ostomy: http://www.shieldhealthcare.com/community/ostomylife/2015/02/21/dressing-with-an-ostomy/
    I would also suggest watching the video (linked in the article). I hope this was helpful! Please let us know if you have any other questions!
    Good luck!

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