11 top tips from an Ostomate

CliniMed are delighted to have teamed with blogger, Sarah Smith (AKA @positively_stella) to share 11 top tips around living with a stoma. Sarah is a frequent blogger for CliniMed’s sister company SecuriCare Home Delivery Service.






Did you know that you can shower with your bag on or off? When I came out of surgery, I wasn’t told that “bag off showering” was an option. After a few months of healing, I decided to give it a go and oh my goodness, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I really feel that my skin gets thoroughly cleaned under my bag and it makes my overall bag change routine just feel nicer. Don’t get me wrong, if I’m in a rush, I’ll leave my bag on but 90% of the time, it's bag off for me!


Tip number 2! Bagless showering does bring the worry of the mess my stoma might decide to make! To avoid this, I try to fit my bagless showers around my routine, so I know my stoma will be less active. I either shower first thing in the morning, before I’ve eaten, or at night, when I haven’t eaten since lunch. My advice is to always wait a few hours after eating and always have lots of gauze to hand, just in case!


Get underwear on prescription – however, this will depend on your location and the opinion of your doctor or nurse. But having stoma surgery can cause your usual underwear to be uncomfortable, so do some research for brands that create underwear and stoma support wear and have a chat with your stoma care nurse about a prescription. There are many brands out there but some of my favourites are Vanilla Blush, Comfizz and CUI Wear!


Eat marshmallows before drinking alcohol! Yes, you heard that right. Marshmallows contain a lot of gelatine, and this can help thicken your output. If you don’t like marshmallows, Haribo Starmix work brilliantly too!


Grab a support belt. If you’re like me and you like to exercise, it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared and fully supported. Making sure you wear a support belt can help reduce the risk of hernias forming!


Create a “just in case” bag. When I first had surgery, I used to carry around endless supplies as well as a change of clothes and you might feel that you need to do the same. However, it just takes time to trust your stoma and learn about its habits! I’ve learnt now that I can carry around a small bag of spare supplies and I sometimes leave a small stash in the car, in case of emergency.


Did you know that you can use more than one style of stoma bag? When you first have surgery, you’re given a bag which is great, but over time you realise that your stoma has changed, you fancy a different colour or size depending on what activity you might be doing or the outfit you’re wearing. Don’t feel as though you have to stick to the bag that you were given. Chat to your stoma care nurse to find out about the pouches that you can try.


CliniMed have a wide range of stoma pouches including their Aura Plus range, which come in Mini, Midi and Maxi sizes and are available in 2 colours, black and sand, so you can choose the pouch that’s best for you!


This is an obvious one but, avoid foods you shouldn’t eat!! There’s been a few times I’ve been told not to eat something and thought “well it’s only a tiny bit, so it won’t be that bad”. Boy, was I wrong... I really learnt my lesson after a few bits of sweetcorn ended up as a partial blockage and left me severely unwell. So, take it from me, if you’ve been told to avoid a food, please stay away!!


Be open with your stoma care nurse. You might feel embarrassed to speak to a nurse about your toilet habits or a problem that you might be experiencing, but it’s good to remember that chances are, they’ve heard this problem before, and the best thing is they can help you come up with a solution!


Pre-cut bags, your new best friend! Once your stoma has settled in size after your surgery, having pre-cut bags will save you a lot of time! You can choose to cut your bags yourself and do a few at a time, or you can ask your stoma care nurse to measure your stoma, send your sizing off to your supplier and they will then pre-cut all of your bags for you! Lifesaver!


Final tip, be open minded and aware of how you’re feeling. Having stoma surgery can be difficult physically, but often we don’t realise the emotional and mental difficulty we might experience too. Remember that it’s a big change in your life and making sure that you have the support you need is so important to be able to accept and embrace your new way of living. If you’re struggling with acceptance or your mental health, speak with your stoma care nurse about finding support groups or a mental health professional to ensure you’re looking after your mental wellbeing!

I hope you’ve enjoyed 11 of my top tips, for more information about living with a stoma and to find out more about products, visit the CliniMed website and remember to follow me on Instagram @positively_stella, where I share tips and advice!

Thank you!

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