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Ostomy Myths vs. Reality

The Truth About Living with an Ostomy

After ostomy surgery, you may find helpful tips and tricks from other people living with an ostomy in online communities, support groups, forums and more.

Weeding through the fact and fiction can be difficult. Our me+ team of certified ostomy nurses and product specialists have outlined some of the most common myths they hear to provide you with the truth about living with an ostomy.

 

Myth: Only use the ostomy pouching system that you were fitted with in the hospital or doctors office. You should not explore new products on your own.

Fact: In the weeks and months following ostomy surgery, you may find your stoma and body changing. In the first few weeks and months post-surgery, your ostomy pouching system may need to be changed also. Contact our me+ team today to be fitted with ostomy samples designed to fit your lifestyle and body. 

 

Myth: All ostomy products are the same. It doesn’t matter what type of pouching system you wear.

Fact: There are a large variety of ostomy products available to fit the needs of each person living with an ostomy. Contact our me+ team today to be fitted with ostomy samples that may fit your lifestyle and body type. 

 

Myth: Your stoma should not change size after a few months after surgery

Fact: In the weeks and months following ostomy surgery, your stoma may change in size and appearance. Click here to learn more about common questions to ask in the weeks following ostomy surgery.

 

Myth: Having skin irritation is a normal way of life with an ostomy.

Fact: If the skin around your stoma becomes damaged, it could be painful and lead to infection. It also becomes more difficult for the skin barrier of your pouching system to adhere to your skin. Prevention is the key to maintaining both healthy peristomal skin and your comfort. Read more about peristomal skin care.

 

Myth: If you have an ostomy, your significant other will not love you the same way.

Fact: It is common to have anxiety about relationships following ostomy surgery. Whether you’re looking for a partner, have been dating a few months, or married 25 years, ostomy surgery will have an impact on you and your relationships. Click here to hear tips for talking to your partner from people living with an ostomy.

 

Myth: Odor is a part of life when you have an ostomy.

Fact: You will become more comfortable with your ostomy pouch over time, and will gain confidence in its ability to retain odors. Read a few tips to help reduce gas and odor, and lead to increased confidence.

 

Myth: Now that I have an ostomy, I am no longer able to enjoy the foods I love.

Fact: Right out of surgery, you may be more sensitive to foods than you will be in six months. Slowly add different foods to your diet, and pay attention to your body’s response. Read more tips for enjoying the foods following ostomy surgery.

 

Myth: I have a colostomy or ileostomy so I shouldn’t be passing anything from my rectum. 

Fact: The colon or rectum may produce mucus even after ostomy surgery. If you have questions about your output, contact your healthcare professional.

 

Myth: I can’t get my pouch or wafer wet, which means I can’t enjoy water activities or bathe with my pouching system in place.

Fact: You can shower, go swimming, or even get in the hot tub with your pouching system in place. If using a pouch with a filter, cover the filter with the covers provided. If you are unable to enjoy water activities with your current system, contact the me+ team to learn more about products that may help, 1-800-422-8811 or cic@convatec.com.

 

Myth: Don’t shower without your ostomy system off.

Fact: You can shower with or without or ostomy system in place. Read more tips for bathing with an ostomy.

 

Myth: Poke a hole in the pouch to help reduce air and gas build up.

Fact: Poking a hole in your pouch may lead to leaking. Contact the me+ team today to request a sample of pouches with filters that may help reduce gas trapped in your pouch. 

 

Myth: An ostomy prevents you from wearing stylish, form-fitting clothing. People will be able to see that I have an ostomy.

Fact: Before you had ostomy surgery, did you notice an ostomy pouch on other people in public? Most likely not. Try an ostomy wrap or undergarments from Ostomysecrets® to help conceal your pouch and increase your confidence.

 

Myth: Insurance doesn’t cover ostomy care, so I am paying out of pocket for my supplies.

Fact: Contact your insurance coverage provider to understand what your insurance plan covers and pays for ostomy supplies. Read more about where to buy here.

 

Myth: You should rinse and/or reuse your pouches.

Fact: It is not recommended to rinse or reuse ostomy systems, pouches or wafers. Flushing your pouching system with water can make the barrier break down faster and damage the filter of the filtered pouches.

 

Myth: People living with an ostomy cannot fly, because the cabin pressure can cause the pouch to fail. 

Fact: People living with an ostomy can fly, ride in a car, take a train and use all the same modes of transportation they utilized pre-surgery. Here are some quick tips for flying with an ostomy.

 

Myth: Coating the inside of the pouch with spray cooking oil can make pouch emptying easier. 

Fact: It is not recommended to spray anything inside of the pouch, specifically oil-based products that can breakdown the pouch film.

 

Do you need help debunking an ostomy myth? Contact the me+ team of ostomy product specialists and ostomy nurses today, cic@convatec.com or 1-800-422-8811.

 

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