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8 Tips for Living with an Ileostomy

Akanksha Nigam

Life after an ileostomy is different, and it is natural to feel overwhelmed by all the changes taking place in your body and your life. You may feel confused and probably have a lot of questions about ileostomy care. It is important to take time to accept the changes you are experiencing. With time, you will see these feelings subside, and you will return to normal life.

Many ostomates go back to exercising, traveling, and living an active life with a pouch. There are many ways to make your life easier with an ileostomy.

8 Tips for Ileostomy Care

1. Caring for your stoma and the peristomal skin

This is a new lifestyle for you. You may feel sore at the stoma (the opening in your abdomen), but this discomfort will subside. It is important to look after the stoma by making sure of a few things:

  • Keep the peristomal skin clean and dry.
  • Use a properly fitting pouch. A loose-fitting pouch can cause leakage.
  • Shave the hair around your stoma, as it may cause problems while sticking to the skin barrier.
  • Avoid using lotion, creams, or soaps around the stoma since they may interfere with the proper adhesion of the skin barrier.

2. Ileostomy Diet

After recovery, you may resume a normal diet, but it is better to be cautious in the initial days after your surgery. Enlist the foods that affect your bowel differently.

Eat smaller and more frequent meals during the day and chew your food properly. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Identify the foods that cause gas and those your body cannot break down. Those bits can get stuck and cause a blockage. 

If you are skeptical about going out for dinner with an ileostomy pouch, try different ile at home first. This way, you will be sure and confident about what to eat when dining away from home. You may also search for ostomy diet recipes or diets for ostomy patients and contact your healthcare provider for an ostomy diet plan.

3. Exercise with an Ileostomy

Although there is no harm in physical activity after an ileostomy, give yourself some time for your body to recover. Talk to your doctor about the exercises you can do, the sports you can play, and the precautions you should take.

There are many ways to stay active after an ileostomy. If you enjoy swimming, an ileostomy pouch should not cause any issues, but consult your healthcare provider before beginning any strenuous activity, such as a weight lifting program.

Avoid playing sports that involve a lot of body contact. Focus on protecting your stoma and pouch from any major impact. If you fear leakage from your pouch, try using an ostomy belt to secure your pouch.

4. Physical Intimacy with an Ileostomy

It may require some time to return to physical intimacy. Here are some tips to ease your mind and help with your confidence level:

  • Do not rush if you are self-conscious about your appearance.
  • Share your feelings with your partner.
  • Check your pouch or change it before having sex. This will help you to feel comfortable and relaxed.
  • Cover your pouch with lingerie or pouch covers.
  • You may need to approach sex differently. Explore different positions to determine what works for you.
  • If you are worried about odor, use odor eliminators before sex.

5. Traveling with an Ileostomy

An ileostomy should not stop you from traveling but plan accordingly before your trip. Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Bring more supplies than you usually require.
  • If you are traveling by plane, keep your bag of supplies handy.
  • Keep a list of accessible doctors for an emergency.
  • Make a list of foods that you know your body tolerates well.
  • Don’t forget your medication.
  • Carry a note from your doctor explaining your condition and supplies.
  • Stay hydrated during your trip.

6. Getting back to work

Do not rush to resume work; you will need time to heal and recover. Explain your situation to your employer and try to work out a limited-time work schedule. You may also need to request a different job profile to prevent strain on the stoma if your work is laborious. 

Talk to your doctor about resuming work and the precautions you must take to protect your stoma. 

7. Dress as you like

A change of wardrobe is not usually required with an ileostomy. You may continue to wear what you used to wear before your surgery. However, be careful about the fit of your clothing, making sure to leave some room for your stoma and the pouch. Clothes that are too tight or body-hugging may make it restrictive for ostomy supplies.

You can also experiment with different styles of clothing. For example, there are ostomy swimsuits and trunks.  

8. Join an Ostomy Support Group

You may feel sad and discouraged after an ostomy. Emotional stress and anxiety are normal. An ostomy support group will help you feel more comfortable about your new situation, and you will meet many new ostomates just like you and others who have been living with an ostomy for a long time. It is a great way to help you deal with this change in your life by helping you to discuss your experiences and learn new things about your ileostomy. Your partner can also join you at these meetings to explore ways to live with an ostomy as a couple.

HPFY has its own Ostomy Support Group that meets online and discusses improving the quality of life with an ostomy.

Where to buy ostomy supplies?

HPFY carries a range of ostomy supplies to help you in this journey. Some of our best sellers are:

1. Hollister M9 Ostomy Odor Eliminator Spray

Hollister M9 Eliminator Spray neutralizes odor instead of covering it up. This odor remover destroys foul smell and can be used with all ostomy and incontinence supplies.

Features of Hollister M9 Ostomy Odor Eliminator Spray

  • Scented and unscented options are available
  • Eliminates odor in and around the ostomy pouch
  • Non-acidic and non-flammable
  • Water-soluble
Hollister M9 Ostomy Odor Eliminator Spray

 

 

2. ConvaTec Eakin Cohesive Ostomy Seal

Ideal for colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy. The ConvaTec Eakin seal protects against leakages from the ostomy pouch. It is moldable and can be applied to a variety of stomas to seal the gap between the stoma and the ostomy appliance. 

Features of ConvaTec Eakin Cohesive Ostomy Seal

  • Smoothens irregular skin and fills creases
  • Prevents damage to the pouch
  • Protects skin from irritation
  • Forms a waterproof barrier around the stoma 
ConvaTec Eakin Cohesive Ostomy Seal

 

 

3. Coloplast Brava Ostomy Belt

Provides complete support to your ostomy care appliance during exercise or any other activity. It relieves and reduces pressure on the skin barrier and has a silicone grip to prevent slipping.

Features of Coloplast Brava Ostomy Belt

  • 4-ways stretchable
  • Offers a snug fit
  • Features a pocket closure for easy fit and removal
  • Comfortable and breathable fabric
Coloplast Brava Ostomy Support Belt

 

 

Ileostomy care is not that difficult. It is all about giving your body time to recover. If you notice any unusual symptoms in your stoma or other ileostomy complications, reach out to your doctor.

 

Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Akanksha Nigam

Akanksha Nigam

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Akanksha Nigam has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. With a Masters Degree in Finance, she began her Marketing career in the banking industry. However, her interest in human ...

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