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Exercising with an Ostomy | Products That Can Help

Laura Cox, LPC
Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
07/06/16  12:13 PM PST
Exercising with an Ostomy

I was very active before my diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and my ostomy surgery. After surgery I was so worried about pushing myself too hard that I didn’t let myself do the things that I loved. After doing a little bit of research about products that would help keep me healthy while exercising with an ostomy, and getting a pep talk from my colorectal surgeon, I started backpacking, running, hiking, rock climbing, biking, weight training, swimming and boogie boarding!

There are different products that can help protect your stoma, prevent peristomal hernias and secure your pouch while swimming or doing activities that may cause the pouch to flap. Here, we discuss the product options used in different situations.

Protecting the Stoma

If the stoma is at risk of being rubbed up against or exposed to blunt force it’s a good idea to use a stoma guard. Some ideal sports to use a stoma guard for are: football, soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.

Exercising with an Ostomy
My favorite stoma guard is the Freedom Guard GTX by Stomaplex. I use it for boogie boarding, backpacking, ice skating and rock climbing.

Abdominal Support

If the abdominal muscles are being utilized, it’s a good idea to use a hernia belt or some sort of support-wear. Many people love the NuHope Hernia Support Belts. I like to use Spanx.

Exercising with an Ostomy
I use Spanx (buyer beware, they are tight and may inhibit ostomy output if the output is thick, though I have never had a problem) for weight training, obstacle races and on a daily basis. Ask your doctor or surgeon before engaging in any sort of weight baring exercises after surgery.


Securing the Ostomy

If the ostomy pouch will be a disturbance if it is flapping around, it is suggested you use a Stealth Belt or Spanx.


Exercising with an Ostomy
The Spanx can be used here, as well as the Stealth Belt, Compression Shirts/Shorts, Spandex bike shorts or a belly band. I’ve used these products while running, biking, swimming, etc.

Getting the Pouch Wet

If the ostomy pouch will be getting wet, you have a few options. It’s not necessary to have any additional products, but you can use a stealth belt, pink tape, barrier extenders or Sure Seal (which is one of my personal favorites).

Exercising with an Ostomy
I’ve used these options for kayaking, boogie boarding, snorkeling and swimming laps in the pool.

More Information

If you’re interested in more information on exercising with an ostomy, we have an article and a video that go into more detail.

For more information, see related ostomy product and exercise articles and other ostomy resources here:

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How can one limit ostomy output while sleeping?
For her sleeping issue, I would have her hydrate and eat very well up until about two or three hours before she goes to bed.
Then, for that time before before bed I would suggest that she does not eat or drink anything..

Recent OstomyLife


  1. Thank you SO Much for Sharing your experience with “the bag”! I wear mine different than how you have yours, which makes yours easy for toilet disposal. I also had never heard of putting anything but lukewarm water in my bag. Or guard for my stoma. I love my life without colitis! And do not mind the bag but I have not been able to be intimate as of yet. Besides the bag I have the most awful scar because they had to open me up twice.

    Again, Thank you! Thank you!

  2. Hi I’m in the UK I’ve looked st your video on swimming & want to go in the pool but I want s bit of security & see you recommend Sure Seal is there something similar I can get in the UK as it seams that the Sure Seal is only available in the USA or Canada
    Thank you for your time

  3. I am new to the illiostomy world, of which I finally have accepted! However I still get POd of having to live with it…. My main problem issue is the Car Seat belt, it presses right to the bag and I feel hurting pressure on Stoma….What are some methods of relief? Thanks…

  4. Thank you for the article. I just received my stoma 15 days ago after being in a UC flare for 13 months. I’m healing quick and am starting to get restless (been home bound for a year now) but I’m nervous about causing a hernia. This article helped put those worries to rest and gave me a good place to start. I realize I still need to take it slow, but I’m not so nervous as to not even try now. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  5. Well I have my surgery on Tuesday to get a ostomy bag and I am worried I wont be me anymore I just hope my crohns pain will go away so I can workout again and lose all this extra weight

  6. Hi Aimee,
    I am planning on purchasing a Stealth Belt. I am an Early childhood Educator and will be working with 16 3&4yr olds. I would like something to protect my stoma when I return to the classroom. Could I use the Freedom Guard GTX with a Stealth Belt?
    This seems to be the only product I have found that doesn’t apply a lot of direct pressure to the actual Stoma.
    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  7. When you used a spanx did you cut a hole to go around your ostomy ring so that the spanx won’t cause a leak under the flange. I would wear it for exercise and hernia prevention.

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