Personally for me going on holiday while having an ostomy was a massive fear.
It was fear of the unknown I had so many questions about it- the ‘what ifs’ and ‘do I/don’t I’ would just go around in my mind.
But since having my ostomy I have been abroad twice, and I have thoroughly enjoyed myself both times – even though the first time I went away was just 3 months after surgery, so you can imagine just how scared I was!
But of course, I did have to prepare myself to ensure I was confident and equipped during my time away.
So for, anyone with an ostomy who’s lucky enough to be going away at this time of year – here are top 10 tips to help you, to make sure you have as incredible a time as possible.
1. Always be prepared for the worst
I don’t want to sound negative but always prepare for the worst-case scenario. Even though it’s so rare for it to happen, make sure you have extra supplies with you just in case of bag leaks or if you accidentally bring a bad batch of bags.
2. Keep your supplies with you when flying
When flying make sure you keep all supplies in your hand luggage. Even though it isn’t that common for your case to go missing you just never know!
3. Keep your travel cards with you
Most ostomy supply companies can provide you with a travel card that tells staff at airports that you have a bag. I had a huge fear of going through security, so these travel cards really did make me feel more comfortable about going to the airport.
4. Help yourself feel secure
I absolutely love going swimming and in the sea, but I was always worried that my bag was going to come off whilst doing so. Using an ostomy type tape around the wafer made me feel so secure – and prevented my bag floating away.
5. Look out for nearby hand-dryers
Sometimes it’s annoying having to change your bag just because it got wet from swimming. While away I’d go to a public toilet if nearby and dry my bag under the dryer. This meant I didn’t have to do bag change after bag change while trying to enjoy myself.
6. For the ladies – high-waist bikinis are amazing
I can’t be the only one that’s a bit self-conscious when it comes to wearing bikinis while on holiday. High-waist bikinis are amazing for covering the bag – and also sarongs! If you’ve got the confidence to rock the bag with a bikini, good on you!
7. Make sure you stay hydrated
Obviously abroad most places are boiling hot, with an ileostomy especially, we become awfully dehydrated. To keep yourself hydrated, make sure you pack Dioralyte sachets and drink them as and when they are needed.
8. Loperamide is a god-send
I found my output became a lot looser when I was on holiday. Both because of the food I was eating and because I was more active. In case this happens to you, pack Loperamide tablets (Imodium in store). If you don’t have these eating marshmallows work a treat to thicken the output.
9. Change up the style of your ostomy bag
A lot of ostomy companies have different styles of bags! When on the beach or swimming I much prefered using a smaller sized bag to the bag I normally use as it just felt more comfortable while active and with a swimsuit on.
10. Don’t let your ostomy restrict you from doing anything
Just because you have a bag doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy holiday activities like other people. Enjoy your holiday, relax and have fun. You only have one life so live it.
Words by Danielle McCormack