Video: Body Image with an Ostomy

Laura Cox, LPC
Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
04/03/17  3:34 PM PST

In this video from Shield HealthCare’s Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist, Laura Cox discusses different aspects of body image with an ostomy, and the thoughts people may have before or after ostomy surgery. Laura speaks candidly about the different challenges that come up depending on how old someone is when they get their ostomy surgery, along with dating and physical attraction. She reveals that at first she was scared her pouch would scare her soul mate off. She then addresses how to begin to accept your new body image and more.

She states “Having an ostomy can definitely change your perception of your body. Not only did you have a disease that was life-threatening, that affected your body image, but now your anatomy is literally rearranged… No matter what age people get their ostomy, there are unique challenges, but all of those challenges can be worked through.”

For more information about living life with an ostomy, see related articles and ostomy resources here:

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My family and I are taking a road trip. I wanted to know what accessories should be used when starting to drive or ride in a car. Should I use something to cover the stoma?
Great question! It all depends on if the seat belt is coming in contact with your stoma.
If the seat belt does not come in contact with your stoma, no additional accessories are needed. If the seat belt does come in contact, you can use a stoma guard or a seat belt cover to protect the stoma

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  1. Great video and all I have to say is “where the heck were you 15 years ago”! I had those exact same thoughts but I went the other direction. Luckily my now wife who was my then girlfriend was supper supportive and helped me through all my “self-imposed” embarrassment over the years. It’s only now that I plan to get out of my funk and embrace the life my ostomy has given me.

    Thanks for sharing Laura!

    1. Hi Janice! People probably aren’t looking at you, but we know that it can certainly feel that way when it’s all you can think about. While these tips are about how to hide an ostomy pouch, they may be helpful for how to draw eyes away from a hernia bulge: Dressing With an Ostomy. Please let us know if you have any other questions and best of luck! -Aimee, Shield HealthCare

  2. Hi i have the surgery at may5 2017 this year .. and i use Ostomy
    i stop working for now but i want back to work in Agost15 soon .. and my
    work is to climbing the mountain . .. Can i climb and be ok with ostomy if i will change and dressing every day ? Thanks for finding this website

    1. Hi Kilian! I’m glad you found our site! I would talk to your doctor about going back to your work since it sounds very physical. There should be no reason why you can’t go back to climbing mountains, but you may need more time to heal. I would just emphasize drinking a lot of fluids to stay hydrated, as high altitude and strenuous activity can make you dehydrated, especially with an ostomy. I would also suggest investing in a hernia belt if you can. Hernias can happen when you are lifting heavy things when the abdominal wall isn’t strong enough. I really like Nu-Hope’s hernia belt. Here is the link
      I also wrote a blog about going back to work. Although I did not discuss your type of work, it may be helpful.
      Lastly, here is a link to tips to being active with an ostomy.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions! Good luck to you!

  3. I had ulcerative colitis at age 17. It was later diagnosed as Crohn’s. It went from bad to worse. I had a permanent ileostomy at age 27. I was lucky my family was very supportive. When the attacks came I couldn’t do anything I felt like nobody would hire me cuz I was always in the hospital. I was so happy to have my ostomy. It meant I wouldn’t be sick and tired anymore. I’m 65 and greatful to my family and Drs. Otherwise I would have missed out on life. My biggest thank you is to God for loving me and answering my family’s

  4. Hi Laura Cox I live in Medicine Hat Alberta. I just thought I would go on my iPad to c if there was anything on about my Ulcerative Colitis. I have had a ostomy bag for 13 years now. I got pyoderma about a month after my surgery. That was just as bad. I just wanted to say I still have troubles with it but I have learn to except it n that it is a part of my body n my life now. I wouldn,t be here if I didn,t have it. I just started to cry when I heard about that man that was talking n u. I feel for u because I know how u feel. Nobody in my life understands me n ever will. Iam 59 n I still feel alone but iam a strong person I have gone through a lot with it. I just wanted to say Thank You for doing this n letting people know that your not alone. Thank u again I sure hope u get this n u take care of yourself.

  5. How is sex possible with an iliostomy? I’m a male, and it slaps against her no matter what position we try, it’s come loose and leaky during sex, very awkward, almost impossible to get her in the mood now. She will for me now every once in awhile, but I can tell she don’t like it, but things just aren’t the same. I feel very discouraged, depressed, losing self-confidence, etc,etc. Please give me advice on how to correct this issue. thank you..

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