Ensuring Stoma Health With An Active Lifestyle

Most people with a colostomy or ileostomy are concerned that they might be unable to exercise or play sports as they did before surgery. They usually get the impression that their physical activities will interfere with their stoma care regimen.

The fact of the matter is that you can have an as active lifestyle as you want after having an ostomy. All you have to do is to wait for the impact of surgery to subside. Then, you can discuss with your surgeon or healthcare provider the degree to which you can resume your physical activities. It won’t take long for you to have an active and healthy lifestyle once again. You may find yourself in even better health after ostomy surgery due to the eliminated root cause of your health problems. It will help you become even more physically fit. In simple words, your ostomy will not be a problem if your body is healthy enough to endure workouts.

Although an ostomy should not prevent an individual from participating in most of the sports or exercises, there are some restrictions, though. For instance, an ostomate may have to refrain from engaging in contact sports due to a higher risk of injury to the stoma. Similarly, heavy lifting may also result in an issue for the stoma due to the increased pressure inside the abdomen. You can speak to your doctor regarding sports and exercises you can engage in without having to worry about injuries or issues.

Exercise is good for you even if you have a stoma. In fact, exercise becomes even more necessary after ostomy surgery. Regular physical exertion can help you reduce the risk of certain health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and stroke. An active lifestyle can help you avoid gaining unnecessary body weight. Another very significant benefit of a physical workout is the prevention of anxiety and depression. Striving for all these benefits becomes crucial when you have a stoma.

Now, you may wonder how to prevent your physical workouts from interfering with your stoma. Here are a few tips to help you find the answer.

Emptying your ostomy bag before exercising

The ideal practice of managing your ostomy pouch is to empty it when it is one-third full. The purpose of emptying a bag this early is to prevent it from pulling the skin barrier off the peristomal skin. That is why it is a good idea to empty your ostomy pouch right before engaging in any sports or physical workout. This way, you will not have to stop your workout to empty your ostomy pouch. Since gastrointestinal tract motility slows down during physical activity, your ostomy pouch may remain empty during the entire workout session.

Additional preparation during underwater sports

You can still go swimming if you have an ostomy. Once your doctor permits, you can go and take a dip in the pool. Nonetheless, you will have to get additional protection for your stoma and ostomy bag during such sports. Using high-quality waterproof tape to form a watertight seal around your stoma is one of the few ways to ensure the protection of your ostomy during any water sport.

Family in the Medical Field

Having an uncle in the medical field is quite awesome. The stories I get to hear him tell are sometimes gruesome and sometimes heroic. Based on what he has told me, I believe you must be called to the medical field in order to make a career of it. The surgeries he has performed and been a part of have changed lives. He is a true professional at what he does. He can explain into great detail all that goes into various surgeries like replacing a hip, or a knee. But one of the hardest stories I had to hear him tell was about a person needing an ostomy procedure. This person had to have their stool redirected to come out of their abdomen.

Just thinking about that made me very nauseous and queasy. Ostomies are something I definitely wouldn’t like to have to deal with. The good thing is, there are professionals in the field that are willing to walk alongside you in every way you could imagine. They provide ostomy supplies that help make dealing with the surgery so much easier. They show you exactly how to wear certain products like one of the belts they provide. This belt is one of many different supplies that allow you to participate in various activities without worrying about whether or not your bag will be held securely in place.

If I indeed ever had to have an ostomy procedure done, I know that I would be able to make it through the dreadful process based on the knowledge in the field alone. There would be plenty of help along the way.

Much like an athlete wears various braces to help make sport manageable in the midst of pain or injury, there are many different options of ostomy supplies to make daily life manageable for someone with an ostomy. The brains behind this procedure baffles me, but what even further shocks me is the brains behind the creator of the supplies.

If you’ve ever twisted your ankle, you may think “how am I going to walk again?” until you put on a medical boot and realize that with the help of something to hold it in place, walking is pretty manageable.

The same goes for those specialized supplies. You may think “how am I ever going to manage going to the restroom like this”, then you put on your belt and you’re good to go.

Basketball and Injury

As a basketball coach, I get to see a lot of good things and bad things that go on in the sport. Basketball is quite the contact sport anymore. In the olden days, you truly had to play defense with your feet. You couldn’t arm bar or “check” anyone without it being a foul. So, there was very little contact in the sport.

But nowadays, you’re allowed to get away with quite a bit when it comes to offense and defense. The only way you used to get injured in basketball was if you rolled an ankle or happened to tear a ligament due to a noncontact injury. Rarely did physical contact ever cause an injury.

Nowadays, however, things have changed. So, when one of my players had to have an ostomy care procedure, it was recommended that he did not play basketball any longer due to the contact involved in the sport. Initially, he did try to play, but his bag would not stay put and in place like it was supposed to. That was until he came across a plethora of ostomy supplies. One of which was a belt that kept his bag tight and in place. With his newfound supplies, he gave basketball another chance.

Unfortunately, due to the contact he was facing, he could no longer participate in the sport. His ostomy ended up changing what and how he played different sports. Until he discovered cross country, that is. In cross country, there is very little contact. The only contact that is really made is from your heals clipping your calves or your arms rubbing against your sides.

Aside from that, contact is very minimal. With his belt to keep his bag in place, and no contact to be had in the sport of cross country, my former player found his new love. He went on to be an all state cross country runner in the state of Illinois.

The work to compete at the highest level ended up being too much to bear for my former player, so he ended up giving up the sport after his senior year of high school. Now, however, he is working to bring awareness to the supplies that are available to those that have had ostomy procedures and need ostomy supplies. He has helped a multitude of people that have dealt with the exact same thing he had to go through while he was in high school.

After a colostomy procedure

Being told you have to get a colostomy procedure can be life-changing and nerve-racking. Leading up to the procedure, you may be feeling nervous, but good news, you are in good hands, and the doctors know what they are doing. Yes, it is a scary experience getting surgery, but most of the time, surgeries are done while the patient is under anesthesia so that you will feel nothing. Waking up in a room you do not remember entering is generally how anesthesia works. Following your procedure, you can’t eat much, but you can suck on some ice chips and drink water. Within two to five days, you will be eating like normal.

Following your colostomy surgery, the first thing you will notice is the grossly colored swollen stoma. Stomas are usually a light red to pink color, but after the procedure, it will be bruised, black, brown, and purple. Within a few weeks, you will see the actual color of the stoma, the pink-red coloring, and the swelling reducing. These are signs the stoma is healing correctly, and you will have nothing to worry about. The pouch you see over the stoma when you awake in the hospital is not going to be the one you will have at home; it is just there in case. The pouch is used to catch and hold any stool from your body into it. 

When you wake up in the hospital, you will have a two to five-day stay depending on the kind of colostomy you got. Your visit might be longer if the procedure was done as a last-minute emergency. During this time, doctors will teach you how to treat the stoma and how to take care of yourself in the future. You will also learn how to monitor your pouch, the removal process, and how to drain and clean it. Your caregiver will also show you how to clean your stoma. This is usually done with warm water patting or lightly rubbing the area. To dry it, pat it with a dry towel, and leave it to air dry. 

Before going home, be sure to speak to your caregiver or another professional who can help you try out the equipment you will be using in the future. What works best can vary from patient to patient and depending on what kind of colostomy procedure was done, the size of the stoma, their height and weight, any abnormalities on the skin, skin flaps or folds, and even the abdomen shape. The requirements of care you need to do may be different than some other colostomy patients you meet. 

After getting a colostomy, there are some life changes that take place but nothing life-ending, if anything, life-saving. The need for an ostomy procedure is a life-saving procedure, oddly enough. It allows the patient to have proper bowel movements when they could not before. The stoma needs to be kept clean and taken care of so no infections will occur. The patient will also need to monitor their skin under the pouch, so no rashes form, or a breakout happens. It does not seem to be that big of a deal having to clean the stoma every day, and it can be done in the shower even. As scary as an ostomy procedure can seem, the end result is a better life for that patient. 

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