Three Tips For Your First Month With An Ostomy

Having an ostomy can save your life if you have a debilitating disease like colon cancer or colitis. However, getting used to having an ostomy can take some time. During your first month with an ostomy, you'll not only need to get used to caring for the site, but also overcome feelings of self-doubt and concern related to the way your body has changed. Follow the three tips below to help make this month easier.

Invest in underwear designed for people with ostomies.

Did you know that there are panties and boxers made specifically for people with ostomies? Many companies that sell ostomy products online sell this apparel. The underwear comes with a special inner pocket to support the ostomy bag, and they have a high enough waistband to cover most of the ostomy bag, too. You'll be surprised how stylish some of the designs are! Stock up on a few pairs when they are on sale so that you can feel more confident and supported throughout the day. 

Experiment with different styles.

As soon as you feel well enough to do so, grab a close friend and head to the mall. Try on all sorts of different outfits in front of the mirror to see what styles you look and feel good in. Clothing that is loose around the waistline tends to camouflage the bag the best. Women often find that stretchy, flowing skirts look nice, especially if they place the waistband up higher over the ostomy. Men often find that pleated slacks look nicer that tightly tailored ones.

When you find a pair of pants or a skirt that you love, consider buying it in several colors so you can have a dependable collection of go-to clothing you feel comfortable in.

Empty your ostomy and clean your stoma on a schedule.

Over time, you will start to get a better handle on when you need to empty your bag and clean your stoma, based on what you ate that day and how full the bag feels. For now, however, it is best to take care of this on a schedule. Follow the instructions that your doctor gave you for cleaning an caring for your stoma closely. Many people find that emptying the pouch and cleaning the stoma 4 times per day is a good starting point. After your first month, you may be able to cut back or use more judgement on a day-to-day basis since you'll have a better idea of how your stoma works.