Busting Myths and the Stoma Stigma

More than 176,000 people in the UK live with a stoma and more than 13,000 people have the surgery each year. Despite this, lots of people find it hard to talk about their pouches, treatments and journeys. This means, you might be finding to hard to uncover expert-led advice that is good for the everyday. To lend a helping hand we have worked with CliniMed, leading stoma care providers, to bust the myths and stigmas that surround stomas...

“A leaking stoma is normal”- FALSE

Most people living with a stoma will experience a leak from time to time, but frequent leaks are not normal. Although they happen, you should not experience leaks often, and if it is affecting your physical and mental health it is important to seek help from your stoma care nurse.

Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of leaks:

1. Check the skin around your stoma
2. Find a stoma care routine that works for you
3. Make sure your pouch is cut correctly to fit your current stoma size
4. Find the products that suit your needs
5. Speak to your Stoma Care Nurse if you are worried about leakages

Aura Plus is designed to reduce the risk of leaks, the unique plus-shaped flange helps your pouch stay secure throughout the day so you can focus on the things that matter without constantly checking your pouch for leaks. You can learn more or order a free sample at CliniMed here!

“People living with a stoma have to wear baggy clothes” - FALSE

What you wear is up to you! Some guidance will advise you to wear waistbands that don’t put pressure on your stoma or bag, however wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident.  Immediately after surgery you might feel more comfortable in loose-fitting clothes, but there’s no reason why you can’t choose something more fitted once you’ve healed. Looking good starts with self-confidence! Some people may find that they prefer to shop for clothing designed for ostomates. Check out some of these online shops: Vanilla Blush, Comfizz, Aura Clothing or I Am Denim.

“I am alone” - FALSE

Having a stoma can be life changing. For some people having an operation to form a stoma can relieve years of painful symptoms, for others it may be a shock and difficult to accept and this can affect your mental health. If you’re struggling with accepting or living with a stoma, you are not alone. There are approximately 180,000 living with a stoma in the UK and many share their stories and experiences in support groups, online and in person to give support to those who need it. Speak to your Stoma Care Nurse, they can help make sure you get the right help to look after your mental health.

“Staying hydrated is important” - TRUE

Everyone has different needs, and it will also depend on what type of stoma you have. The NHS guidelines recommend drinking around 1.5 to 2 litres per day, but if you have a stoma and especially if you exercise regularly or are somewhere hot, you may need to drink more. Make sure you check in with your Stoma Care Nurse to find out how much you should be drinking!

“I can’t exercise if I have a stoma” - FALSE

You can exercise if you have a stoma! You will need to speak with your stoma care nurse or doctor to make sure that you’re ready to take up an exercise routine. You may not be able to run a marathon or throw heavy weights around the gym at first, but gently easing yourself into an exercise routine is possible. CliniMed have created a yoga routine that is ostomate friendly and a FREE downloadable eBook is available to help you gently get moving after your surgery. Check it out here: Yoga Guide for Ostomates | CliniMed

“It’s possible to be allergic to stoma products” - TRUE

It’s uncommon to experience an allergic reaction to the adhesive of your stoma bag, however, if you expect this might be happening you should seek medical advice. It is important to remember that the skin around your stoma (peristomal skin) should look similar to the rest of the skin on your body. So, if your peristomal skin looks irritated in any way, contact your stoma care nurse. Fortunately, there are lots of different products out there for you to try. You can call CliniMed on 0808 273 2090 for unbiased product and lifestyle advice!

Information contained in this Articles page which doesn’t state it has been written by talkhealth, has been written by a third party, and has been published with their permission. talkhealth cannot vouch for or verify any claims made by the author, and we do not endorse any specific products, brands, or treatments mentioned. The content in our Articles pages should not be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine.