+ -Text Size


Next Topic


Exercise, play, and sports

Everyone needs daily exercise to keep good health and body function. An ostomy should not keep you from exercising and playing sports. But there are a few safety measures you should think about. Many doctors do not recommend contact sports because of possible injury to the stoma from a severe blow, or because the pouching system may slip. But special protection can prevent these problems. Weight lifting could cause a hernia at the stoma. Check with your doctor about such sports. Indeed, people with ostomies are distance runners, weight lifters, skiers, swimmers, and take part in most other types of athletics.

Bathing and swimming

Water will not hurt your ileostomy. You can take a bath or shower with or without a pouching system in place. Normal exposure to air or contact with soap and water will not harm the stoma. Soap will not irritate it and water will not flow in.

You can swim with your pouching system in place. Remember these points:

  • If you use a support ostomy belt, you can leave it on if you want to.
  • You may want to protect the barrier by taping the edges with waterproof tape.
  • You may want to choose a swim suit that has a lining for a smoother profile. Dark colors or busy patterns can also help hide the pouching system. Women may want to choose a suit with a well-placed skirt or ruffle. Men may want to try a suit with a higher waist band or longer leg.
  • Women may wear stretch panties made especially for swim suits.
  • Men may want to wear bike shorts or a support garment sold in men’s underwear departments or athletic wear departments under their bathing suits.
  • Men may prefer to wear a tank top and trunks, if the stoma is above the belt line.
  • Before swimming, empty your pouch and remember to eat lightly.

Last Medical Review: 03/17/2011
Last Revised: 03/17/2011