Living With an Ostomy - Topic Overview
You can continue to travel. Empty or change your ostomy pouch before
beginning your trip. When traveling by plane, bring extra ostomy supplies in
carry-on baggage, not checked baggage. If traveling by car, store your supplies
in a cool place.
You will be able to have intimacy and sexual relations. An ostomy
does not affect sexual function. Sexual activity, hugging, and other forms of
affection will not hurt your stoma. You may want to consider getting a cover
for your ostomy pouch so that waste is not visible.
Many of the problems relating to intimacy may be more emotional than
physical. You may be concerned with ability, body image, and what others think.
See your doctor, counselor, or a therapist for help coping with
any problems concerning intimacy or your self-image.
Women with ostomies can become pregnant. But talk with your
doctor about how much time is needed after surgery before becoming
Physical activity and sports
Immediately after the ostomy, your activities will be restricted to
ensure healing. Guidelines for this period include:
- Not driving for 3 weeks from the date of surgery
if you are on pain medicines after surgery.
- Not lifting more than
10 lb (4.5 kg) for 6 weeks,
which decreases the risk for
After this period you should be able to resume normal activities.
Noncontact activities, such as swimming, hiking, camping, and tennis, should be
no problem. If you had an exercise routine, talk to your doctor
about when you can restart it and whether it is possible to participate in
contact sports, such as football, karate, and basketball, which could result in
injury to the stoma.