You will need some time to become comfortable with an ostomy, a surgically created opening in your belly to allow for easy removal of fecal or urinary wastes.

You may have a lot of questions in your mind before and after ostomy surgery. Will you be able to go to work? Can you ride your bike with an ostomy? What change will this bowel or urinary diversion bring to your body’s outlook?

The good news is that you can engage in the same activities you enjoyed before surgery.

Diet with an ostomy

Having an ostomy doesn’t mean you have to stay away from your favorite foods. Unless your doctor recommends otherwise, you can eat anything you want. The reason you may be asked to avoid a specific food or diet will be an underlying condition but not the ostomy itself. Nonetheless, it is crucial to keep in mind that many foods will have a different impact on both ileostomy and colostomy. Generally, you will be able to enjoy most foods without any problem.

Foods that gave you gas before surgery will continue to do so after surgery. You can still have those foods when you do not expect to go to your workplace or meet other people.

Some foods can cause diarrhea, constipation, incomplete digestion, or odor in urine. Their impact will also depend on your body type and the state of your digestive health.

The best approach is to try those foods at home. Be sure to have one food at a time. That will help you measure the impact of those foods correctly. That way, you will be able to know whether you can eat a specific food in public.

Participating in sports with an ostomy

You can engage in your favorite sport or physical activity routine unless it involves a significant potential for injury. The most significant injury risk is for the stoma from where stools or urine pass out. It means your doctor will not recommend you to engage in rough sports.

white background vector illustration of a ostomy bag

If you want to engage in contact sports anyway, you have to ask your doctor first. You may get a recommendation for specific products that would help you keep your stoma and the area around it safe from injury.

If you think that running, swimming, and other sports will cause your ostomy bag to lose hold of your peristomal skin, you can use an ostomy belt to hold the ostomy bag tighter with your abdomen.

Going back to work with an ostomy

Although the post-surgery recovery will take some time, you will be able to go back to work eventually. You can discuss your condition with your employer to reduce working hours or ask if you can work from home. Be sure to speak to your doctor first if your work requires you to lift heavy loads. Once your doctor says you are good to go, you can go to your workplace.

Hiding your ostomy

Although your ostomy is nothing to be ashamed of, you can conceal it from other people. For this purpose, you will have to wear clothes that keep your ostomy bag hidden. The good thing is that modern-day ostomy bags have a discreet profile, allowing you to conceal your ostomy even more superbly.

Finally, be sure to discuss your condition with your ostomy care nurse now and then. You can also join an ostomy support group to share your concerns with other ostomates and listen to what they have to say.