Having an ostomy comes with challenges that can be complex and persistent. As an ostomate, it's important to know that you're not alone in facing challenges with your ostomy. Many others like you may experience various physical and emotional issues that can impact their daily lives.
Here are some of the most common problems ostomates face.
Most Common Problems Ostomates Face
1. Clothing Adaptations
Clothing restrictions and adaptations are common amongst ostomates. Many ostomates share the challenges experienced in abandoning their entire wardrobe and difficulties in finding clothing to fit their needs. Overall, both male and female ostomates found that they needed to wear larger size shirts and pants to accommodate their ostomy. Some men changed the type of underwear and switched from using belts to suspenders. If you’re an ostomate, don’t be dismayed, we’ve got plenty of tips and ideas on how to stay fashionable with an ostomy.
2. Ostomy Equipment Issues
Ostomy equipment failure, specifically issues with wafers and ostomy bags, is a common concern among ostomates. Many individuals have shared their experiences of "accidents" caused by loose wafers and leaking bags, often happening at inconvenient times in public settings, leading to embarrassment and anxiety. Leakage problems can occur when the stoma is located near a belt, during strenuous physical activity, or due to blockages and leaks from the bottom of drainable bags.
Adhesive problems with ostomy bags also pose challenges, including skin issues resulting from allergic reactions to the adhesive and the disintegration of the bag's faceplate, leading to ineffective adherence, particularly in hot weather.
Constant worries about potential leakage and the unmet need for secure adhesion can create anxiety and significantly impact confidence levels for ostomates. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, talk to our stoma specialists who are available to offer you a personalized consultation.
3. Dietary Adjustments
Dietary adjustment and its impact on ostomy-specific concerns is also a common problem ostomates deal with. Ostomates had to make alterations in the type of foods they ate (e.g., avoiding foods such as salads and corn), as well as the timing of their meals. Some ostomates needed to eat frequent, small meals throughout the day in an attempt to manage ostomy output, and others needed to chew foods thoroughly. Some ostomates even go to the extent of limiting food consumption or not eating at all before planned public outings or long distance travel. Overall, dietary adjustments were highly individualized, and were often derived via “trial and error.” Here are some tips on what you should or should not eat, depending on your ostomy.
4. Activity Limitations
Some ostomates faced new challenges following their ostomy surgery, including difficulties with seatbelts. The positioning of the stoma often caused discomfort and irritation when wearing a seatbelt, especially during long-distance travel. Fortunately, many ostomates have found innovative solutions to overcome this issue – like protecting their stoma by placing a hand over it to minimize rubbing. Other ostomates have encountered limitations in activities like bending over or participating in sports such as golf, as the stoma's placement can hinder movements necessary for a proper golf swing.
Ostomates also face ostomy complications, with the majority of complications being hernias and stoma prolapse. Multiple hernias are common for ostomates, and multiple surgical repairs are often needed to correct them.
Research has found that one of the greatest challenges faced by ostomates is caring for their stoma. Competence related to ostomy and stoma care has been described as the most important predictor of positive adjustment to ostomies.
Whether you're a new ostomy patient or have been managing your condition for years, let us help you take control and get back to living the life you deserve. We have the expertise and experience to help you feel confident and comfortable with your ostomy care and needs. Contact us today to learn more!