Swimming with an Ileostomy

20 Jun

Many people wonder; “Can you go swimming with an ostomy bag?” The answer? OF COURSE YOU CAN! 🙂

You have to remember that your ostomy gave you your life, it wasn’t formed to be a hindrance. You can do whatever you want with an ostomy, the sky is the limit & even then I say aim for the stars!

Today, I went swimming for the first time since my operation, 10 months ago.

Swimming is the ideal exercise for people recovering from surgery as it is a weight-supported exercise & it enables you to work all the muscles like the core muscles around the abdomen and other areas, helping you strengthen the muscles without putting them under too much pressure or strain.

I was so pleased that I went, it was fantastic to be back in the water again. Did I have problems with my stoma output or the bag adhering to my skin? No 🙂 Was I worried about people noticing I have a bag? No. The truth is, you couldn’t even tell. I wore a blue patterned swimming costume and felt very confident, I forgot I even have a bag whilst I was swimming apart from the one occasion nearer the end where I just casually wondered if it was still adhering to my skin okay and then told myself not to worry because it felt fine.

The pool was great, I am such a child at heart & always will be! The big water slides were closed for their maintenance today & will be for tomorrow but a smaller slide was open and the rest of the pool, which had rain sections & the wave machines were activated every half an hour for 5 minutes! It was fantastic! In between the wave machines, I swam at a leisurely pace and took regular breaks, especially as it was my first time swimming since my operation. An hour and a half my bag lasted, and could have easily lasted longer! 🙂 I changed it after I got out the pool quickly with no problems 🙂

I was worried that swimming might hurt my stomach muscles, from having them cut in surgery and having the big scar down my tummy. Truth is, I only felt my tummy mildly aching around my scar once towards the end, the rest of the time I didn’t even notice it or feel any different.

It was also great to relax in the hot tubs half way through and after for a while. It was so relaxing and a great way to indulge and feel pampered and totally refreshed after my swim. I went in a hot tub once before after my operation and my bag lasted out for one hour without any sign of giving up. Just things like that make a huge difference. 10 months ago, even 2 years ago, I didn’t feel well enough to swim or be in a hot tub – I would be in too much pain and would have a major problem controlling my bowels and anxiety.

I had a bit of a down day yesterday with my bag. Nothing was wrong with my ostomy, I just had one of those down days where I remembered it is something I will have forever, & then I just reminded myself that I am stronger because of it & it is part of what makes me, me. Stacey gave me my life, & for that, yes I will have my down days as anyone is perfectly entitled to, but it will never ever change that I would not swap her for the world. Without her, I wouldn’t be here & to be quite honest, having a stoma, even though it can have its problems sometimes, is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

“Without struggle, there is no progress.” 

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3 Responses to “Swimming with an Ileostomy”

  1. Trina June 25, 2012 at 2:57 am #

    So proud of people out there….it is hard to have ones body altered. To live in the reason I altered my life. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to wear the fashionable clothes & do things. I only have to not tell people but I’m so proud of my war with crohnes that I find myself talking about my ostomy. I wear bikinis just the ones that are higher up on the waists some have little skirts to hide my ostomys output. I have had a nurse at my doctors tell me her uncle beverages goes out due to his ostomy. I had 2 babies when I for my ostomy so I could quit living. Life is different but not worth dying for not wanting an ileostomy. My husband doesn’t mind it at all and if i have a problem intimately with it I pit on a sexy gurtile…. I love my life

    • staceystoma June 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

      Hi Trina,
      Thanks for your comment!
      It is so inspiring to hear of your positive attitude! You go girl! 🙂

  2. Stephen January 5, 2013 at 5:58 am #

    I found reading your story inspirational and I forget that I am not the only person to go through this type of disease.
    I found that the result of me having a Ileostomy was with having Ulcerative Colitis, back in my early twenty’s, since then I have had five big surgery’s, the last putting me on a permanent Ileostomy.
    There is a lot of history which goes back 30yrs,and can only say you do your best to stay positive and keep your self happy and fight on.
    Regards.
    Stephen.
    Western Australia.

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