6 Helpful Tips for Swimming with a Stoma

Swimming is one of the best exercises after ostomy surgery. Yet many avoid it due to embarrassment and other worries. Here are six things that will help you to dive right in.

6 Ways to Overcome your Fear of Swimming with a Stoma

Get help overcoming your fear of swimming with a stoma.

If you’re recovering from ostomy surgery, swimming is an ideal activity. It works out every part of your body. And you can start slowly and gently build up your stamina. Best of all, there’s no reason why a person with a stoma can’t swim with confidence.

Here are six ways to overcome your fears.

  1. Try on your swimsuit at home: You can enjoy the water as much as before you had a stoma. Put your swimsuit on with your pouch at home first. Wear it in the bath or shower to get comfortable with how it looks and feels when it is wet.
  2. Test that your pouch is secure:  Rest assured that your pouch is unlikely to come loose in the water. It’s easy to prove this to yourself. Just sit or lie in a full bathtub for a while to test and ensure that the seal stays snug and leak-free. The chances of your pouch coming off are very slim, even with a two-piece system.
  3. Change with confidence: Changing in front of other people in a locker room or changing area need not be a concern. You can try wearing a long shirt to cover most of your body. Even just draping a towel over your shoulder will keep your stoma from view. Or you can change at home and wear clothes over your swimsuit.
  4. Find the right swimsuit: You may be able to find swimwear that’s comfortable and looks great on you based on the position of your stoma. Some women use beach wraps and throws over their swimsuit. If you can’t find one that you like, there are swimsuits for people with an ostomy. Search online for “ostomy swimsuits,” contact your country’s ostomy association, or talk to your stoma care nurse. Going on a vacation? Check out our fun in the sun travel tips.
  5. Get ready to dive in: If you intend to dive into a pool, check that your pouching system is secure. For added security, wear a snug bathing suit that will help keep it in place. A man can wear drawstring trunks, tightly fitted around the waist.
  6. Understand a comforting truth: There’s a natural tendency to worry that others will notice your stoma and stare. In truth, most people will not even notice the color of your swimsuit, let alone what is underneath it.