Tips for Swimming with an Ostomy – More Security | Ask Laura

Laura Cox, LPC
Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
05/18/17  11:52 AM PST
Swimming Ostomy

Hello Laura, I am writing for my 89-(ALMOST 90!)-year-old mom. She is a colon cancer survivor, and has been using the “Coloplast Mio 1-piece closed pouch” (#ct10884). She loves to swim, and I was hoping you could help her find a way to do so. She has found that the pouch fills with water when she does get into the pool. Because of her age, and the fact that this change has been very late in life for her, I hope that there can be a solution that is easy for her to handle. She is very private and wants to be independent. I hope you can help!

Thank you and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Hi Cathy!

For basic information about swimming with an ostomy, you can watch my video or read my article. I have never had an issue with my pouch filling in the pool, so I can’t speak to your problem on a personal level. I do mention a few products I can recommend for wearing in the ocean, though, and I cover them here (see the section “Getting the Pouch Wet”).

The Coloplast Mio 1-Piece Closed Pouch has a “Full-circle filter for proven reduction of ballooning.” While this filter should not cause your mother’s pouch to fill with water, it may be worth it to try a different pouch and see if the issue still occurs. Alternately, if that pouch works really well for her otherwise and you would rather not ask her to change types, please see the suggestion for a Drypro below.

If the filter isn’t the issue, and it’s just about keeping the barrier waterproof, there are barrier strips you can use. After speaking to our Ostomy Product Manager, he would recommend the Coloplast Brava® Elastic Barrier Strips, which come in a curved shape, Y shape or straight (also recommended by other ostomates, see below). Waterproof or paper tape may also be used (see below) but it may be more rough on one’s skin overtime than the hydrocolloid strips like the Brava strips. If your mother does wind up using a different pouch, you may also note it in the comments below, the suggestion to make sure that if the pouch has a small filter on the front of the bag, to cover it to keep water from seeping in – our Ostomy Product Manager agrees with that recommendation.

We also 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!

From Kirsten: “I use the Coloplast Barrier Strips when I swim in the ocean and pool. Never had an issue of water getting in or skin breakdowns when I use the barrier strips. I change my bag every four days. When I swim I just make sure that I have the barrier strips on for at least an hour before I get it wet to make sure the adhesive sticks well!”

From Amy: “I swear by Opsite. It’s a very thin and sticky water proof tape that I use around the edges of my flange every time I change it. It keeps the flange from getting wet, breaking down or peeling up. It’s even saved me from leaks getting all the way out on several occasions.”

From Sophie: “Please see Drypro they are the only providers of a swim belt that keeps your Ostomy completely dry when swimming or showering.”

You can find these comments and more at the original Facebook post.

Please let me know if there’s anything else we can help you with. We wish you and your mother the best of luck and good times in the pool!


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

Serving Medicare Ostomates Nationwide
How do I handle altitude sickness and staying hydrated with my ostomy while enjoying my trip to Colorado?
Hi Rob, that's a fantastic question!
Since having my ostomy I have hiked in a couple of high altitude places, including Colorado. I'm glad you're aware of the extra difficulties living with an ostomy can have on the severity of altitude sickness. The good news is, with preparation and a smart game-plan, you can have a great trip and hopefully decrease the chances of having altitude sickness.

Recent OstomyLife


  1. If your pouch has a filter, make sure to cover it. There are little tabs usually provided with the supplies to keep liquid from entering the pouch when swimming and/or bathing.
    Happy swimming!!!

  2. The EZ-Clean Flo-Thru Pouch has a Perimeter Seal that surrounds the wafer to prevent water from attacking the wafer seal when swimming, bathing and taking a shower.

  3. Hi my daughter is 2 and loves to get in water but her bags comes off in 20 mins do u no anything I can use that will stop the water for longer plz
    Regards terri

  4. How do I keep my bag from blowing up like a balloon inside of my bathing suit while swimming….even though I have emptied it and vented it and put a sticky on the vent? Embarrassing!

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