Swimming With a Colostomy Bag On

Updated on October 26, 2018
AloBeDa profile image

I love swimming but avoided it when I had a colostomy. But I soon found ways to enjoy my favourite pastime without a care in the world.

As an ostomate who has been living with a colostomy for a while, I know that colostomy patients can do virtually everything that people without one can. In fact, a great number of patients can even do more than many people without a stoma.

The only limitation, if there is any, is the limitation that the patient has set for him or herself. In other words, if you are a colostomy patient, try as much as is possible not to limit yourself to certain activities that had been part of your lifestyle before your surgical procedure.

Swimming With Your Bag On

Swimming is a great way for colostomy patients to keep fit and maintain good energy levels. To swim with a colostomy bag attached is fine as long as some securing ostomy product is used, or swimwear that fits firmly around the waist/abdomen is worn.

If you are worried about discretion, there are special small colostomy bags available which are very discrete and ideal for swimming. Therefore, there is no reason to think there'll be "accidents" in the pool.

There are trendy bikinis with an internal pouch that runs from the left side to the right. They are made to support colostomy pouches during swimming or sunbathing.

They are easy to use as the wearer simply angles the colostomy bag and places it inside the internal pouch so that the opening is angled in the direction between the legs.

The benefit of this kind of swimwear for ostomy patients is that the bag (pouch) is no longer against the skin thus reducing any sweating that can cause odour or irritation. It is also good in that it reduces visits to the bathroom as internal pouches hold the colostomy bag contents, stopping it from bulging out in an unsightly manner.

Swim, Even If You Have an Ostomy

How to Wear a Colostomy Bag When you Want to Swim

  • Patients don't need a colostomy belt to hold and protect the bag, because belts get wet so it’s good to wear colostomy bags with adhesive face-plates and waterproof pouches with inner linings.
  • To make the bag a bit more discreet, it's better to fit the bag horizontally across because placing the colostomy bag vertically may make the bag 'hang' if there is a substantial amount of faeces expelled into it whilst swimming. When placed horizontally, the swimsuits spandex will help add extra hold to the colostomy bag firmly in place.

Ostomy Accessories for Swimming . . .

  • Male colostomy patients that intend to swim can wear the more fitted swimming trunks underneath the boxer type swim trunks. The snug fitting trunks will hold the waterproof colostomy bag firmly in place, making it discreet.
  • Lady swimmers wearing colostomy bags look great in swimsuits with the skirted bottoms. They are great vintage inspired pieces, just as the swimwear with ruches.
  • Swimwear with heavy patterning or detailing is always good to conceal an ostomy bag as the heavy pattern takes the eye away from any noticeable bulge.
  • Swimming suits with a panel detail across the abdomen offers additional support for the stoma pouch.
  • Tying a sarong while walking on the beach or pier is a chic way of concealing a colostomy bag.
  • Women can swim in pretty boxer type swim shorts, with a halter or sleeveless top. Wearing swimming bottoms made of Lycra material under the shorts will hold the stoma bag firmly in position.
  • After swimming, it is good to replace the colostomy with the spare supply you bought along

After a swim, if your bag feels damp (not wet!), wear a colostomy bag cover over it. The cover, a towel-like material, dries up the dampness immediately.

Colostomy Patients Swimming Duration Advise

It is advisable not to stay in the water for more than forty five minutes. A prolonged stay in water is not the best for colostomy bag face-plates.

Being in water for too long makes the edges of the faceplate (a waxy plate with adhesive) absorb water. If the plate is exposed to water long enough, the wax will start to soften and turn into a putty textured stuff.

When this happens, the faceplate starts to loosen, and will come off eventually giving room for leakages or foul odour.

Be Stylish on the Beach, Even with a Colostomy

Having a colostomy bag on shouldn't keep stoma patients from having a great time swimming nor having fun at the beach. There was once a fashionable young lady who was a colostomy patient. She visited nude beaches with her stoma bag, wearing it discreetly covered with a beautiful purse belt.

No one ever suspected or knew she had a colostomy bag on.

Have a Good Time at the Beach with an Ostomy

There’s number of online stores for ostomites that have a fine collection of swimwear specially designed for their condition.

The best types that are great for swimming are the ones that have double lined front panel to give the wearer a smooth outline around the abdomen. They also have an inner pouch which keeps colostomy bags firmly tucked away from the skin, giving extra comfort and self confidence.

Further Reading

Here are a couple of related articles I've written that you may find useful:

Questions & Answers

    © 2010 Alobeda

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      • AloBeDa profile imageAUTHOR


        18 months ago from The Global Village

        Hello Danyelle,

        You can try White Rose Collection and OstomySecrets. They have nice bathing suits for women with a colostomy. You can Google both to get to their sites.

        I hope this helps, and i wish your daughter all the very best :)

      • profile image

        Danyelle Boswell 

        18 months ago from Idaho

        Hi. Thank goodness someone gave more info about swimming with a bag on. My daughter got one last year after finaly being diagnosed with hirschprung disease. It will be permanent since she was diagnosed late and is special needs besides. The care needed for after a pull through wouldn't be a great idea on her part. She's already scared of so much. I didn't know there were special pouches within swimsuits for the bags. I was in a support group but it didn't help with my questions regarding swimming. I hadn't thought about turning the bag horizontally. This helps tremendously. My daughter would like to have a bathing suit. Is there a good site for the bathing suits with pouches?

      • AloBeDa profile imageAUTHOR


        4 years ago from The Global Village

        You are welcome Lynda

        I'm glad you found it useful.

      • profile image

        Lynda Hall 

        4 years ago

        Love the video on using pattern duct tape to design your colostomy bag ! Thanks very much !

      • AloBeDa profile imageAUTHOR


        4 years ago from The Global Village

        Thanks for the visit Chris Grubbs


      • profile image

        Chris Grubbs 

        4 years ago

        That is a sweet idea!


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