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How to Enjoy Thanksgiving with an Ostomy

OstomyLife Co-Moderator
11/09/18  2:20 PM PST
How to Enjoy Thanksgiving with an Ostomy

Happy November everyone! November means different things for all of us depending on where we live. For me, it means winter. And for those in the US, it means Thanksgiving.

I don’t know about all of you, but I love Thanksgiving. I love turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, turnips, fruit salad, deviled eggs, homemade dinner rolls, and of course dessert.

During my first Thanksgiving with an ostomy, I was nervous about what that would mean for my ritual of stuffing my face with as much food as possible. But over the years I have developed some survival techniques that allow me to enjoy Thanksgiving with an ostomy.

4 Tips for Managing Thanksgiving with an Ostomy:

1. Dress smart and comfortably

One of my main worries at Thanksgiving dinner is gas noises. Let’s be real, no one wants to be at Thanksgiving dinner table with relatives who are unaware of your ostomy, and have a loud gas noise interrupt a big bite of food. Living in Vermont, November weather is conducive to sweaters, layers, and undershirts. This helps muffle any sound. I like to wear a tank top and a large chunky sweater, or a tank top and shirt plus a thick hoodie. High-waisted pants/shorts/leggings that cover the ostomy can also muffle noise and hide bulges.

2. Eat a light breakfast and snack before dinner

Another way to reduce gas noises is to refrain from fasting up until Thanksgiving dinner. To have more room for dinner, I used to skip breakfast. But missing meals actually makes you gassier when dinner finally rolls around. Now, I try to eat a small breakfast and/or snacks up until Thanksgiving dinner so that my stomach is primed and ready.

3. Enjoy some dinner and save the rest for later

Eating large quantities can cause more output than usual or a stomachache. You may need to make yourself a plate and only eat a portion of it. Then you can cover and store it in the fridge for later. I usually bring my own sectioned to-go dish with me so I can save what I can’t finish for later.

4. Be prepared with extra supplies

Most importantly, be prepared with supplies and accessories. Large amounts of food can increase output. Make sure you bring extra supplies with you if you’re traveling for your Thanksgiving meal. I usually just leave mine in the car where I can easily go get them if I need to. Also, bulky clothing can help hide any bulges from a buildup of gas or the extra output.

For bathroom odors, using some odor-reducing ostomy drops in your bag can help. If I am at my own home, I usually light a candle in the bathroom and just leave it burning while company is there. If strong scents don’t bother you, you can try a room scent such as Bath and Body Works room sprays that fill a whole room with only one small spray. I try to keep my bathroom smelling like this so that when I spray more, people don’t notice that I’m covering a smell. For other people’s homes, I carry Biological Odor Eliminator Spray with me because it reduces smell without leaving an obvious room spray scent behind.  You can get small bottles of this that fit in your purse or jacket pocket from Amazon.

I hope these tips help you not only survive but enjoy Thanksgiving this year! Eat up, enjoy the family time, and relax with some football.

You can find more articles and videos about living with an ostomy below:

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1 Comment

  1. E McGeehan
    Posted November 21, 2018 at 8:46 am PST

    Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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