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Clothing tips for men and women living with an ostomy bag

Ostomists sometimes have problems wearing “normal” day to day clothing, often for people like me, the stoma is created on the “belt line” so tight clothing is a no-go.

Andy Fletcher

Ostomy bags also have a tendency to “bulge” under clothing, at least they do with me! More so when then are partially full.

To that end, there are shops which sell clothing that are designed for the ostomist in mind, a quick Google Search will list dozens.

To help us, current UK NHS policy states people with a permanent stoma are allowed 6 pairs of underwear and 3 pairs of hernia support garments. However, you may need to “fight” your doctor to have these on prescription. If you do not have a permanent stoma, you will need to pay for the items yourself.

So, which items of clothing are available?

Stoma Bag Cover

This really is just a cotton cloth cover that your stoma bag fits inside. I find it helps in case of a leak, but as it’s also larger that the actual bag, I find it more comfortable with than without.

High Waisted Trousers

These have the belt line higher than normal, meaning they should be more comfortable to wear for people with their stoma on the beltline. These are available for both female and male. They also come in different ranges such as shorts, cords and summer trousers. Some will come with an inner pouch pocket to keep the bag away from your skin.

Underwear

An extensive range of underwear exists for both male and female ostomists.

For males, these will include trunks and Y-Fronts. Both will have high waist belt lines.

For females, the range is often cosmetically better. Ranges exist such as briefs with full leg, bikini briefs, thongs, and full body cotton garments.

Nightwear

More for ladies, cami-sets, negligee’s and PJ sets are available. They come with inner pouches and high waistlines making them comfortable to wear (so I am told!)

Swimwear

For the ladies, Swimsuits and Tankinis are available – again both with inner pouches and high waistlines. For men, swimshorts and swimtrunks are available. As with the ladies, these come with inner pouches and high waistlines.

I have a holiday coming up in May, so if any company would like to donate a pair of swim-trunks for the Andy Holiday Fund, I’ll gladly write a review!

Sportswear

Ladies can choose from sports shorts, trousers, vests, and hooded tops. As with everything else so far listed, they come in cotton and have the obligatory high waist band.

The advantage with buying clothing especially for the ostomist is that they will be more comfortable to wear and as they would have been designed with you in mind, they should help hide “bulges” and thus make you feel more at ease.

The downside to this is the costs … some of the items are very expensive compared to “normal” clothing. However, you need to weigh this up against whenever you feel less conscious wearing them. Having some available on prescription will help you decide.

I’ve placed a sample list of clothing companies on my site - http://www.mystoma.co.uk/index.php/links-clothing-manufacturers

Next month, I’ll discuss stoma skin care. How to keep the skin around the stoma in the best possible condition.

Until then ….

Visit Andy over at his blog site www.mystoma.co.uk

If you would like to share your story with us, please email mail@eakin.co.uk