Some Thoughts About Showering & Bathing with An Ostomy
Around 5 years ago, when I was getting prepared to live with an ostomy, I seemed to have many different questions that kept coming up in my mind?
Could I do This? Would I ever be able to do This ever Again? How do you Do this? Many different questions?
Basically any questions that pertained to things that a normal person does and never even thinks about doing, I had huge concerns about them.
Many things were now held up in my mind by large caution signs or large stop signs. These questions kinda took over my mind. You know how you can think one thought and it can quickly grow out of hand.
Your mind is rapidly firing, like a machine gun, at lightning speed all types of questions??? and it is making you very fearful of the unknown.
Well, unknown it is, but please don’t be afraid. Here are some things I found out about showering & bathing with an ostomy.
So I thought that I would share 4 tips that will help you deal with showering & bathing with an ostomy. Tips to consider are to help you handle your transition to having an ostomy.
4 Tips To Help When Showering and Bathing With an Ostomy
TIP #1 Bathing and Showering with a stoma will not cause you to get infections, etc….
TIP #2 You don’t need to baby your stoma. It can take on water and you will be fine.
TIP #3 Enjoy Yourself. Relax and enjoy your shower and baths as you always had. Worries…..
TIP #4 Drying Yourself after the shower or bath will be different for you
So there is a bit to discuss here. Let’s move on and I will share my experiences and views.
Water Will Not Get Into Your Stoma
Bathing and showering will not cause a problem for your stoma. In the beginning, when I didn’t have any experience or knowledge, I was concerned that the soap and the water were going to be getting inside me, through my stoma and cause me to get an infection, etc, etc,….
This is not true from my own experiences. The biggest problem for you will be that you may experience a leak from your stoma. A NOTE on THIS (by leak I mean some poo is dropped from the stoma.)
You could always sit in a tub, or shower without any clothes on and water never got into your insides way before you had your operation, you know back when you were a normal person.
Well, this is no different now, with the exception being anyone who has stoma knows that a leak can happen at any time.
Usually we don’t know it’s going to happen,(there isn’t any sign to us) and secondly, we have no control over it either. So Just Saying…..
Your Stoma Is Built Well
My next point is that you don’t need to be babying your stoma. It is well built and will not be a problem for it to be submerged in a tub for the duration of a bath. In fact, it would be a good idea to give the skin around your stoma some outdoor time.
It is usually a prisoner inside your wafer and bag set up.?
Just remember to make sure, that you are pretty certain that it will not be leaking or that it is time to be going into the waste excretion cycle before you do take the shower or bath alas, being uncovered….?
The reason I say that is that I usually have a cycle of when I am relieving myself and times when it is most likely that I am not.
Let’s Discuss Enjoy Yourself-Tip 3
Tip #3 is that you can enjoy yourself in the water much as you did before. Even if you are showering with your wafer and bag intact, nothing at all about you has changed.
What I mean here is that mostly the difference between what you can actually do in water with an ostomy is limited much more by your mind that what your actual real physical limitations would be.
Make sure your mindset is one of it’s normal and nothing is going to happen if you either shower or bathe
The Part That Is Different-Drying Off
So you have completed your bath or shower now it will be very different than what you were used to. The drying off part for an ostomy owner is where there is indeed a difference.
Although it does add a few minutes to your body maintenance schedule, it will add probably two steps. It can be learned easily in 2-3 months. A new habit will have been formed and it will all seem perfectly normal to you.
Some things extra that you will need to learn to do are the following:
- Towel dry the bag on all sides of the bag. This helps the bag dry out, this will help you avoid putting on your underwear and getting them wet from the bag.
- After you towel dry the bag, you then need to dry thoroughly the skin all around your wafer adhered area. Water will condensate under the wafer and cause you future problems if you don’t do this.
My Recommendations For the Ostomy Owner
If you shower or bathe with the wafer and bag fully exposed to the water I recommend that you use a hair dryer on high fan but with the lower temperature setting to dry your bag and your skin all around the area where the wafer has adhered to your skin.
This will dry the skin underneath the wafer so that you will not be getting any rashes or skin irritations going on underneath the wafer area. These can rapidly become sores, and that is not what you want to be dealing with. I usually hand towel dry the bag before I use the hair dryer.
This will help tremendously in successfully drying your bag and wafer area.
My Feelings About It now
As you can see, not much really has changed for you, most of my reservations were caused in my head by what I didn’t understand. Actually, I look back now and not that much is really that different.
I did learn the new ways, it wasn’t that hard to do, and my health is better now, than before when I had cancer. The ostomy happened, I adjusted.
So again I say plainly and simply, no worries, enjoy yourself!
Read More About Ostomy Cleansing Care-View Related Posts Below
How do I bathe with an ostomy is my detailed instructions on how to prepare and clean yourself when bathing or showering with your Ostomy. Two choices are discussed.
Can I use a hot tub with an ostomy is an in-depth look at a question many new ostomy owners are seeking an answer to.
George writes from first-hand experience about having a stoma and living with an ostomy. As a former cancer patient and a survivor of colon cancer, you can draw from his experiences. His goal is to help you as he shares the realities of living with an ostomy.