Is Ostomy A Disability?

Disability Ostomy

Hand moving wheelchair in outdoor landscape

The 3rd of December 2022 is International Day of Persons With Disabilities.

And today, we’d like to bring your attention to some disabilities that are not immediately obvious, specifically, ostomy. Living with a hidden disability, such as having a stoma, can make daily life more challenging because of the disability itself and also because it’s difficult for others to recognise, acknowledge or understand the challenges faced.

Does an ostomy qualify as a disability? Well, elimination of waste is a major body function and for someone with an ostomy, their elimination of waste has changed; in fact they need to wear a prosthetic device (ostomy appliance) to manage this change. They have a record of an impairment of a major body function. [1] They may not have a visible disability, but as we’ve mentioned earlier, not all disabilities are visible.

Stoma patient showing stoma bag attached to body, wearing lilac hospital gown

3 Facts About Ostomy, The Hidden Disability

Since it’s International Day of Persons With Disabilities, here are 3 quick facts about ostomy to raise awareness.

Fact #1: Ostomies change how waste is eliminated from the body

An ostomy is a surgical opening made on the abdomen – that brings part of the intestine and ureter out of the abdomen. Its purpose is to create a new pathway for the excretion of stool, urine and gas.  The new opening on the abdomen is known as a stoma.

Fact #2: Ostomies are a result of illnesses or injury

There are many reasons a person might have ostomy surgery and need to wear an ostomy bag. It could be that they injured their bowel or have a severe infection. Other reasons include colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

Fact #3: Ostomates use a bag 24/7

People who have undergone an ostomy now live with a stoma, and are usually referred to as stoma patients, but they’re also popularly referred to as ostomates.
Stoma patients have a stoma bag attached to their body for the excretion of stool, urine and gas. With a stoma bag, they can now live out their daily lives with minimal impairment.

An ostomy has given many stoma patients a second chance at life.

Ostomy and stoma care products are available at SM Health Care Sdn Bhd.


SM Health Care Sdn Bhd, the sole distributor of ALCARE ostomy and stoma care products in Malaysia. Range of stoma care products displayed on white platform, with sakura flowers and petals falling onto products.

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  • Matthew Buckreis on

    I would like to know if an urostomy qualifies as a disability that would make one eligible to receive Medicare? A simple yes or no would be refreshing. The information provided is ambiguous to say the least.

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