Advice for teenage ostomates
Becoming a teenager can be a challenging time in your life, your body is changing and needing to get a stoma on top of it all can make it even harder.
The operation will improve your everyday life and put an end to all the discomfort and pain which led you to need a stoma. There is no reason that your stoma should restrict your life, it will just take time to get used to your situation and the new ways of doing things.
Talking to someone who already lives life with a stoma can be very helpful, ask your stoma care nurse to help put you in touch with someone of a similar age. The following guidance may also help you to come to terms with your new situation:
It’s your decision, who you want to tell about your stoma. Some will tell many people, others will confide in close friends only, you’ll find it’s extremely unlikely that their feelings will change towards you.
Having a stoma might actually improve your quality of life as you can now join in with activities that your friends are able to do. Try to think of your stoma as a solution and not a problem.
Most teenagers will try alcohol at some point, however, it is best to avoid excessive amounts of alcohol as it can leave you dehydrated.
You should be able to continue wearing your own clothing as usual so don't feel that you will need to change your style or buy a whole new wardrobe. Your stoma pouch is designed to sit flat against your body so it will not be visible under most clothing. Having a stoma pouch on your abdomen does not mean that you have to start wearing baggy clothing and hide yourself away; there is no reason not to wear fitted clothing if you did so before surgery.
See more clothing tips here
The teenage years are often when most of us first get a boyfriend or girlfriend and you may be worrying how you would talk about your stoma. It is up to you to how and when you want to talk about it, generally it is best to say it early in a relationship.
Teenage years are often the time when many people first start having sex, getting advice from your healthcare professional could help calm your mind of any fears to do with your stoma. It is advisable to empty or change your pouch before beginning sexual activity.
There's no reason why you can't stay active with a stoma. For contact sports, it is advisable to always wear a stoma shield to protect the stoma. For extra security you may wish to use clothing with a firmer waistband or a belt to help hold the pouch in place, although we would advise that you consult your Stoma Care Nurse for more advice.