Playing sports and staying active with an ileostomy
Everyone needs daily exercise to keep good health and body function. An ostomy should not keep you from exercising and playing sports, although athletes sometimes wear longer shirts or shorts with higher waistbands, depending on the location of the stoma.
There are a few safety measures you should think about. For instance, many doctors recommend avoiding 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.
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.
- Before swimming, empty your pouch and remember to eat lightly.
Choosing a swim suit
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.
- Consider a suit with a well-placed skirt or ruffle.
- You may also wear stretch panties made especially for swim suits.
- Try a suit with a higher waist band or longer leg.
- You may also wear bike shorts or a support garment sold in men’s underwear departments or athletic wear departments under your bathing suit.
- Some men may prefer to wear a tank top and trunks, if the stoma is above the belt line
- What is an ileostomy?
- How your digestive system works
- Types of ileostomies
- Managing your ileostomy
- Choosing an ileostomy pouching system
- Emptying and changing the ileostomy pouching system
- Ordering and storing ileostomy supplies
- Caring for an ileostomy
- Avoiding and managing ileostomy problems
- If you are hospitalized while you have an ileostomy
- Living with an ileostomy
- Telling others about your ileostomy
- What to wear when you have an ileostomy
- Eating and digestion with a ileostomy
- Returning to work after getting an ileostomy
- Intimacy and sexuality when you have an ileostomy
- Playing sports and staying active with an ileostomy
- Traveling when you have an ileostomy
- For parents of children with ileostomies
- Getting help, information, and support
- To learn more
In its original form this document was written by the United Ostomy Association, Inc. (1962-2005) and reviewed by Jan Clark, RNET, CWOCN and Peg Grover, RNET. It has since been modified and updated by:
Last Medical Review: December 2, 2014 Last Revised: December 2, 2014