Colostomy: A Guide
- Colostomy: A Guide
- What is a colostomy?
- The normal digestive system
- Types of colostomies
- Colostomy management
- Choosing a pouching system
- Changing the pouching system
- Irrigation (for descending and sigmoid colostomies only)
- Ordering and storing supplies
- Helpful hints
- Colostomy problems
- Living with a colostomy
- Telling others
- Clothing and appearance
- Eating and digestion
- Returning to work
- Intimacy and sexuality
- Exercise, play, and sports
- For parents of children with colostomies
- Getting help, information, and support
- To learn more
All methods of travel are open to you. Many people with colostomies travel just like everyone else, this includes camping trips, cruises, and air travel. Here are some travel tips:
- Take along enough supplies to last the entire trip plus some extras. Double what you think you may need, because supplies may not be easy to get where you are going. Even if you don't expect to change your pouch, take along everything you need to do so. Plastic bags with sealable tops may be used for pouch disposal. Leave home fully prepared. Find out if and where you can get supplies before a long trip. A local ostomy support group may be able to help you find ostomy supplies and local medical professionals.
- Seat belts will not harm the stoma when adjusted comfortably.
- When traveling by car, keep your supplies in the coolest part of the car. Avoid the trunk or back window ledge.
- When traveling by plane, remember that checked-in luggage sometimes gets lost. Carry an extra pouching system and other supplies on the plane with you. Small cosmetic bags with plastic linings or shaving kits work well. These should be kept in your carry-on luggage. Air travel security will generally let you take on all medical supplies. You may want to review the Transportation Security Administration's information at: www.tsa.dhs.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/index.shtm
- To avoid problems with customs or luggage inspection, have a note from your doctor stating that you need to carry ostomy supplies and medicine by hand. Further problems might be avoided by having this information translated into the languages of the countries you are visiting.
- Before traveling abroad, get a current list of English-speaking doctors in the areas you will be visiting. The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) at 716-754-4883 or www.iamat.org publishes lists of English speaking doctors who were trained in North America or Europe and are available in over 90 countries around the world.
- Traveler's diarrhea is a common problem for tourists in foreign countries, whether you have an ostomy or not. The most common cause of diarrhea is impure water and/or food. It may also be caused by changes in water, food, or climate. Don't eat unpeeled fruits and raw vegetables. Be sure drinking water is safe. If the water is not safe, do not use the ice either. Bottled water or boiled water is recommended, even for brushing your teeth. Your doctor can give you a prescription for medicine to control diarrhea. Get it filled before you leave so that you can take the medicine with you just in case you need it.
Last Medical Review: 03/17/2011
Last Revised: 03/17/2011