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Lorraine shares her clothing tips for ostomates

Hello everyone, this week I wanted to talk about clothes. With an ostomy this isn’t always straight forward.

Clothing tips for ostomates

We are all different shapes and sizes so what works for one person maybe won’t work for another. A lot of it is trial and error but I just wanted to give you a few tips and suggestions.

If your surgery is planned you’re already ahead of the game where clothes are concerned. Planned surgery gives you the chance to try your favourite clothes on to see where they sit on your body so that you can tell your surgeon where you’d like your stoma sited. Unfortunately my surgery was an emergency so this wasn’t something I even thought about.

If like me, you find your stoma is exactly where your waistband sits it can be a bit annoying but there are a few things you can try to help this. Perhaps wearing clothes with either a high or low waistband would be enough. Personally, I usually wear some sort of support garment which has the benefit of not only holding the bag against your body for comfort and discreetness but also supporting the stoma and surrounding muscles. I believe that wearing a support belt is at the top of the list for ostomy advice because we ostomates are at greater risk of hernias and prevention is, as they say, better than cure.

You can get support garments on prescription but if you want something light just to hold your bag in place without being too bulky you could try buying boob-tubes from a high street store and wearing them around your waist instead. Please gents, make sure you don’t confuse ‘waist’ and ‘chest’ as the last thing the world needs are hairy-chested boob-tube wearers! Yikes! If you’re feeling creative you could try making your own. I have made some support bands to hold my bag close to my body using lycra and stitching it end to end to create a stretchy band I can step into and pull up over my bag.

Alternatively, you could try the trouser extenders that pregnant women use when their clothes get tight around their bumps or if you are a lady you could buy maternity trousers or jeans as the waistband on these is comfortable and stretchy and this works well.

The last thing I want to mention is swimwear. You can get swimwear for ostomates but to be honest you don’t need it. A patterned costume effectively conceals all. Just to give me extra peace of mind I wear cycling shorts under my costume which also means less shaving when going swimming ladies heehee! For the gents you could try a band around your waist below your swim shorts and if you wear speedos you are a law unto yourself and budgie smugglers cannot conceal an ostomy I’m afraid so do us all a favour and wear shorts!

I hope you’ve found some of this helpful, take care

Lorraine x