From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook May 2004:

Sports After Ostomy Surgery

from Swiss Ostomy Website; via S. Brevard (FL) Ostomy Newsletter

There is no reason to reduce sports activity just because one has had ostomy surgery, though there are some common sense considerations that should be utilized:

A tight and strongly-sticking pouch is absolutely necessary. There is no need to do anything extraordinary. One should try to keep one's pouch reasonably empty. One must consider the physical shape one is in, plus the day-to-day ostomy management.

Avoid sports with high risk of injury, such as boxing. If you insist on contact sports, and some still do, protect yourself. There are manufacturers of special stoma guards which will permit you to do just about anything. Do not allow the stoma to keep you from doing any activities you wish. Of course, if you are 120 years old, you may want to limit your sports activities to those your body would ordinarily tolerate without a stoma.

A sport that stresses your abdominal muscles too much should be avoided, unless you have slowly and deliberately, under the guidance of a knowledgeable professional, built up these muscles to the point where you can easily perform the skills necessary without undue exertion.

When playing ball games such as tennis, you may want to cover or in some way protect your stoma. There are vendors advertising in the Ostomy Quarterly that sell stoma caps and stoma guards.

Check your pouch after a strong physical effort. A change of pouch may be necessary due to perspiration and movement. We all get less wear time due to any kind of physical activity. It is better to change the pouch after an exciting, active day than relaxing, yet not putting a strain on your equipment.

Before you go swimming, make sure your pouch is secure and empty. There is no reason that having an ostomy should keep you from swimming. Some people may need to take extra steps, though. If your skin is oily, tape your pouch with pink tape, rather than taking a chance.

Many ostomates water and snow ski. They only take normal, common sense steps when active. The newer ostomy equipment with advanced adhesives works pretty well on its own. Specialty stores have specific swimming wear for ostomates, which are higher cut, with a pocket for the pouch.

In summary, have fun, do the sports you like. You do need to use some common sense, protect your stoma from injury, then go out and do it.

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Content last revised 2004-05-02