Things I wish I knew as a new ostomate in the early stages of my journey

Saleem Juma
Saleem Juma
Just prepare for any and all possible situations before you go out and you’ll have the most important thing, peace of mind.

There’s a lot of things I wish I had known when I first got my ostomy.. BUT! Now that I’ve dealt with those things I can pass my knowledge on to you dear readers :).

My tips for new ostomates

  • If you have a long car ride coming up it’s best to run a quick empty, if you’re in an unfamiliar area you might not know where all the bathrooms are. While we’re more than capable of doing an empty in the great outdoors, while in an urban environment this may unfortunately be frowned upon . Even doing something as simple as letting out the built up gas really quick can be a huge factor in peace of mind, especially if you get stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.
  • On that note, YOU CAN LET JUST THE GAS OUT, it’s actually fairly simple. Hold your “bag portion” upwards and push out the gas without letting the uh.. “solid matter” out at the same time. This can be a lifesaver if you don’t have the time to run off to the restroom or need to deal with things quickly.
  • Things like the Stealth Belt Vertical Stingray are GODSEND for things like physical activity or intimate situations. It’s not even about how it looks to be honest, it’s wonderful just stopping the flapping of the pouch. I didn’t really like the horizontal version (it certainly works for working out but.. who empties their pouch horizontally?) you CAN empty it horizontally but believe me it’s far more complicated than I like. The vertical version is a little bigger and more conspicuous, but it holds everything together well and in my opinion is the best belt I’ve tried so far.
  • Change your pouch BEFORE it gets uncomfortable, if you use waterproof seals like me, you might be able to get 5 – 6 days of wear time BUT I highly advise changing in the 3 – 4 day mark. Because of the hair growing under the seal the area around your stoma can get irritated quite easily. This makes your next change much harder because not only does it itch and hurt, but even worse the adhesive won’t stick properly.
  • 9/10 don’t worry about your pouch so much when you’re working out. I used to go to the bathroom literally every 10 minutes when I first got back in the gym. My trainer thought it was hilarious, but I’d be going in there so much and just checking and pressing down on my baseplate over and over again because I was so worried something was going to come off. Don’t worry, most of the time if you’ve put everything on correctly there won’t be any issues.
  • If you DO have a leak, DON’T FREAK OUT! It’ll make things worse, I’ve only had a few over the years and I think only like 2 – 3 have been in public. MAKE SURE you are ALWAYS CARRYING EMERGENCY SUPPLIES. You really don’t want to be stuck a long way from home without extra supplies, believe me it’s not a fun situation. If you’re in public you can keep them in your car or a backpack (ladies they can even fit into your purse), simply excuse yourself to the restroom and do a quick change.
  • Just prepare for any and all possible situations before you go out and you’ll have the most important thing, peace of mind .
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