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How to Go Swimming With a Colostomy Bag On

Updated on April 26, 2016
AloBeDa profile image

Whatever you are going through, I’ve been there too. Living with a stoma is hard, but then, it's only in the beginning that it is tough...

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

The only limitation if there is any, is the patient’s limitations which he or she has set for themselves. 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 a Colostomy 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 is that the colostomy appliance 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.

Related article: How to Deal with Your Emotions after Colostomy Surgery

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.

Related article: How to Manage Your Colostomy and Stoma Bag

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

Casual Spring Fashion for Ostomies

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.

Related article: An ex-Colostomy Patient's Story

© 2010 AloBeDa

Your Comments and Views

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    • profile image

      Chris Grubbs 2 years ago

      That is a sweet idea!

    • AloBeDa profile image

      AloBeDa 2 years ago from The Global Village

      Thanks for the visit Chris Grubbs


    • profile image

      Lynda Hall 2 years ago

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

    • AloBeDa profile image

      AloBeDa 2 years ago from The Global Village

      You are welcome Lynda

      I'm glad you found it useful.

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