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Living With an Ostomy - Topic Overview

Travel

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.

Intimacy

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.

Pregnancy

Women with ostomies can become pregnant. But talk with your doctor about how much time is needed after surgery before becoming pregnant.

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 hernias.

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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 08, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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