Living with a stoma

Here you'll find information about life with a stoma 3+ months after surgery, as you become more experienced. Read guidance on how to keep your skin around the stoma healthy, as well as useful online tools for ensuring you still have the right product and troubleshooting any problems you might be having such as stoma bag leakage or sore skin around your stoma.

Skip back to 'Before stoma surgery' (preparing for surgery)
Skip back to 'After stoma surgery' (0-3 months after surgery)

Ostomy Self-assessment Tools

Find solutions for stoma problems such as stoma bag leakage or irritated skin.

When you have a stoma it’s not unusual to experience issues such as stoma bag leakage and irritated skin. However, most often they can be solved with little adjustments in your products and stoma care routines. Our Ostomy Self-assessment Tools will support you in finding the solution that is right for you.

Find the Mio that fits your body

Bodies change, so an appliance that once fit correctly may not continue to do so. Finding the right appliance for your current body profile is important to get the right fit. Try taking the BodyCheck to see if you are using the best appliance for you body.

Travelling with an ostomy

Download your free travel kit, which includes a travel certificate, a packing list and plenty of tips to make sure your holiday goes smoothly.

Adjusting to everyday life with a stoma

Intimacy & relationships after stoma surgery

Intimacy & relationships after stoma surgery

Intimacy and a normal loving relationship following stoma surgery can be resumed. How and when depends on the nature of the operation you've had. Read more

Sex and intimacy

Following stoma surgery, it’s natural to have concerns about your body’s appearance. It can take time to get used to the physical changes and you may feel less attractive as a result. Although it can be challenge, it’s important to learn to accept it as a part of who you are.

What about intimacy?
Intimacy and a normal loving relationship following stoma surgery can be resumed. How and when depends on the nature of the operation you've had. However, impotence and/or discomfort can occur in cases where the rectum or bladder have been removed (women can also be affected by this).

It’s important to talk to your partner and try not to feel self-conscious because of the operation. It’s also important to talk to your stoma care nurse who is used to discussing the issues you’re experiencing and will be able to help in many ways. There are also many providers of ostomy lingerie in the UK who have a range of underwear specially designed for ostomates.

Can I have children?
Stoma and pregnancyYes. Having a stoma does not prevent a woman from carrying a baby to term and having a normal delivery. As the belly grows, the stoma will typically just follow the changing shape of the abdomen. In the later stages of pregnancy, you might need to use a mirror when changing your pouch. Delivery usually takes place as normal.

Talk about it 
Ultimately, nothing is more helpful than talking to someone who really understands what you are going through. Patient organisations and online communities (see section below) can help you and provide personal support.

Staying away from home and holidays

Staying away from home and holidays

Having a stoma needn’t stop you from travelling or start planning a holiday a few months after your surgery. Tips for travelling with a stoma

Holidays and travelling with a stoma

Having a stoma needn’t stop you from travelling. You may, however, need a bit of time to adjust to having a stoma and feel ready to travel. Start by taking short trips, and see how it goes from there.

Whether you are travelling by car, ferry, train or plane, it’s important to be well prepared. Pack a small, travel changing bag and keep plenty of extra pouches and any other supplies you may need with you.

If you are flying, make sure you pack plenty of supplies to take with you on the flight and for while you’re away, plus extra for contingencies. Divide up your supplies in different bags just in case your luggage is misplaced or your flight is delayed. Don’t forget that scissors aren’t permitted in hand luggage, so cut all of your bags to size before you fly.

Don’t be concerned about your pouch expanding due to the change in cabin pressure. Stoma pouches have been designed and tested to withstand pressure changes.

Travelling abroad
Before you travel abroad, check your travel insurance policy to see how your condition and circumstances are covered while away.

In warmer climates, you may perspire more and thus need to change your pouch more frequently. Always make sure your skin is completely dry before applying a new pouch ensure a good secure fit. If necessary, use a hairdryer to dry the area – but be careful not to have the heat setting too hot.

You may also be at increased risk of diarrhoea or dehydration. Drink plenty of water, and take rehydration sachets and medicine to treat diarrhoea, just in case.

Once you are on holiday, remember that you can still do all of the same activities you did before, and relax and enjoy yourself.

Holiday tips:

  • Store stoma pouches in a cool place
  • Use bottled drinking water to change your pouch when out and about
  • Apply suntan lotion after you’ve put your pouch on, as the creams may affect the adhesive
  • Seal and empty used pouches and dispose of them with normal rubbish
  • If you feel a bit self-conscious about leaving bags in your hotel room, use public bins
  • Before leaving for your vacation, find out where you can get professional healthcare assistance at your destination, just in case.
Going back to work

Going back to work

After surgery, it’s natural to want to get back to your everyday life as soon as you can. Going back to work may be part of that and, with a bit of planning, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be possible. Back to work after stoma surgery

Going back to work

Thinking ahead
After surgery, it’s entirely possible for most people to go back to work. But when and how you do this really depends on how you feel, the type of work you do, and the stoma operation you had.

Talk to your employer and discuss your options as soon as possible. It may be possible to return to work part-time; this could be particularly helpful when you first go back as you may still feel tired and need time to get used to new routines.

Try it out
A few weeks before you go back, do a few trial runs where you dress and plan your day as if you were going to work. Think about your diet and when and how many times a day you may need to change or empty your pouch. This will help you to establish routines and plan your day accordingly. Most importantly, it will make you feel prepared.


  • Speak to your employer as soon as you can
  • If possible, build up your working hours gradually
  • Check the available changing facilities at work
  • Pack a small changing bag that you can take discreetly to the bathroom
  • Do trial runs before you start work, thinking about diet and clothing etc.
  • If your company provides healthcare insurance, check whether your condition affects the policy

Sample request

Thank you

Your sample request has been received successfully

View desktop version