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Clothing tips for ostomates

Your wardrobe doesn’t need to change drastically just because you have a stoma.

Clothing tips for ostomates

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.


Many stomas are situated just a few centimetres below the navel. It is advisable to ensure that the waist of your trousers / skirts do not sit precisely on your stoma as this could lead to damage or leakage from the pouch. High-waisted trousers and leggings work well as the top of the garment sits above where your stoma is situated, so there is no danger of the garment digging into your stoma. Trousers with an elastic waistband sit well, however trousers that are just a little bigger may be just as comfortable. Alternatively low rise trousers can work as they have shorter zips than the typical waist style and won’t restrict your bag. Patterned clothing is a great way to ensure no attention will be drawn to your ostomy bag underneath your clothes. Even lightly patterned garments can act as a distraction to make your bag more discreet.


You will not need special underwear as the pouch can be worn inside or outside of your underwear. If you decide to wear your pouch inside your underwear you may find a higher waist option of underwear more suitable, however, if you choose to wear your pouch outside of your underwear then then you should be able to wear all styles of underwear.


You may find that you need to shop around to find swimwear that you are comfortable in. For women, a patterned 1-piece perhaps even with a bow or design with extra material around the abdomen may be comfortable and can camouflage stoma appliances.  Alternatively tankinis may also work for you and sarongs are also a good option for the beach. For men, high-waisted shorts are a popular style to try. Like many issues you will face, each person is different, so wear what you feel comfortable in. Even try getting into the shower in your swimsuit before going swimming in public to see how it looks when wet.