Having a stoma should not stop you from wearing your usual clothing. Initially you may feel more comfortable in loose fitting clothing due to the swelling in your abdomen after your surgery. It is normal to feel anxious and many ostomates often feel self-conscious thinking others will see their pouch. The following tips may be useful in helping you become more comfortable in every day clothes and reduce the outline of your pouch under clothing.
- Clothing can be fitted but not too tight as this will restrict the flow of the output and could cause leakage
- Pants, trousers, skirts or underwear should either sit below the pouch or completely over the pouch. High waisted pants, jeans or skirts are great. Ladies may find full briefs more comfortable, and men often feel the boxer style underwear gives more freedom for the pouch
- Try not to have clothing pressing on the pouch as it will reduce the amount the pouch can hold and could cause a leak more easily
- Use of a belly band, tube top, bandeau or a maternity type band over the pouch can help to provide some support and reduce the outline of the pouch under clothing
- A singlet under clothing can also help to conceal, keeping things flatter against the abdomen
- Use of patterns, pleats, layers, ruched or bunched up clothing can help to distract the eye from the pouch under your clothing
- Layering your clothing can also help distract attention from the abdomen, and allow for looser fitting garments as the top layer
- Ladies may find flowing dressings are often very comfortable, especially in the warmer summer months. Fabrics that do not make you sweaty are also more comfortable in warmer weather
- Men may prefer shirts that sit out over their pants or shorts. A patterned business shirt may be more distracting than a solid colour, and darker colours often more camouflaging
- There are some companies who specialise in clothing for people with a stoma. Some even have an internal pocket to allow the pouch to sit comfortably without restriction.
Intimate Apparel or Lingerie
There are companies who specialise in lingerie or undergarments for men and women who have a stoma.
- Use of a lacy or skin coloured bandeau or band can be used over the pouch
Here are a couple of websites that may help with choices, but an internet search will deliver you a lot more options…
Wear what you will feel comfortable in. Patterned materials are often more camouflaging and ruching or draped fabrics also provide more freedom across the abdomen.
- For women, a 1 piece or high waisted bikini may be an option
- For men, a rashie or swim shirt with boardies may be a good option
There are also various pouch covers available online.
- Avoid the belt buckle sitting directly near the stoma. It may cause damage to the stoma. Position the buckle slightly off centre away from the location of the stoma
- Suspenders or braces could also be an option
And, always remember that you can still enjoy life to the full with a stoma!