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A Guide To Living With A Stoma

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100% accuracy at time of writing cannot be guaranteed.  A listing in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not mean it is an endorsement.  All companies listed are tried at the reader’s own risk.  All information provided is intended as a supplement to any professional help already

given.  Before acting on suggestions from anyone, ostomates are advised to check with a doctor or stoma care nurse that the course of action is suitable

for them. Whilst every care is taken, the author will not be held responsible.
















Facebook is a social networking site.  Users can join networks organised by friends, relatives, workplaces, organisations, etc.  The users can then connect and interact with other people, who are known to them or maybe share the same interests, activities, etc.

Many ostomates find that this method of communication is more private and less obtrusive than direct contact.  An ostomate can join in and follow many organisations on Facebook, including the Colostomy Association, Peak Medical, Pelican Healthcare and Stoma Stifler, whose Facebook links are:  

The Colostomy Association

Peak Medical Ltd.

Pelican Healthcare Ltd.  

Stoma Stifler


Many ostomates enjoy gardening as a hobby.  It is physical work, but with a little forward planning,

it can be easily managed.  Care must be taken to prevent any strain across the pelvic area and around the stoma, e.g. with any heavy work, especially digging, using a wheelbarrow or mowing the lawn.

There is a wide range of gardening tools on the market, which may alleviate problems for ostomates, when gardening.  Specialist garden tools differ from their traditional counterparts, and have been adapted to provide assistance for gardeners, who have special needs.  There are garden tidies, trugs,  small garden forks and trowels with long handles, garden tools for picking up items, etc.  Some gardening tools in a lightweight design, usually made from aluminium alloy, carbon fibre or plastic,

can also be purchased.

To avoid any strains, care should be taken when lifting, e.g. garden pots, watering cans, etc.  Unless there is a hosepipe ban, using a hosepipe is preferable to using a watering can.  However, if this is not possible, only half fill a watering can, or purchase a smaller, lighter version.

Using a wheelbarrow incorporates lifting, as well as pushing.  Although it may take longer to transfer

the contents, it is preferable not to fill the wheelbarrow too full, in order to prevent the risk of any problem around the pelvic area.  Some garden centres are selling a new type of wheelbarrow, which

can be pulled, not pushed (e.g. easy pull garden tub and barrow) - this may help.

When caring for lawns, it is advisable not to use a hand push mower, as a patient’s stomach muscles

are being used.  Many stoma patients prefer to use a rotary lawn mower.

Normally gardening involves a lot of bending, and once again care should be taken.  Always bend at

the knees, not at the waist.  This alleviates many problems, not only around the stoma, but also for the back.  Endeavour not to stretch, and cause any further difficulties.  

Some stoma patients prefer to re-design their garden, so that they can reduce the amount of

necessary bending and stretching, i.e. raised flower and vegetable beds, planters, etc.  Borders are much easier to maintain if an ostomate can reach across them easily, without any unnecessary stretching.  A two-foot wide border would suffice.

When planting or weeding, some ostomates prefer to use a garden kneeler stool (a high kneeling pad) with support handles, to take the strain out of getting up and down.  Some kneelers are versatile, and can be used as a seat or a kneeler, depending on which way they are positioned. Normally they have a stable base, and will not move around as they are used.  Kneeler stools with handles aid in standing

up, and stools with padded mats save the knees.

Some ostomates like to grow vegetables, and some can be grown against a trellis, e.g. beans, peas

and tomatoes.  Growing them in this way makes picking much easier.

A good support garment can also help to prevent strains/pains, and protect the vulnerable area around the stoma and the stoma itself.  These specialised garments will give extra support to the stomach muscles, as well as additional protection to the stoma.  Some manufacturers of support garments are listed in the Support Wear section of this website.  Before using support garments, it is important to talk to a stoma care nurse, who will be able to advise what is best in each particular situation.

Many stoma patients find that no more than one hour at a time avoids pain and problems.  Having plenty of seats around the garden in shady areas is a simple, but very important idea, especially to

enjoy  a well-deserved glass of juice or water.  The golden rule with gardening is - little and often.


An upright vacuum cleaner can put unnecessary strain across the pelvic area.  This can be alleviated if you use both hands about 12” apart on the handle to push/pull the cleaner.

It is advisable to only half fill an electric kettle.  This protects the pelvic area, and also saves on electricity and water.  Some ostomates prefer to use a travel kettle at home.

Using a laundry basket and folding wheel trolley will overcome the problem of lifting heavy clothes baskets.


Some urostomates may suffer from urinary tract infections.

A glass of cranberry juice or a daily cranberry tablet may help prevent such infections.  Cranberry juice is widely available in supermarkets. Cranberry tablets are more convenient, especially when travelling, and can be obtained from healthcare products companies. (Cranberry juice or tablets should not be taken by those patients on Warfarin).


Products undergo rigorous tests and very strict quality control, but on the very odd occasion, appliances can prove to be faulty.  If this is the case, contact the manufacturer or home delivery service, giving the following information:

●  The ostomate’s name, address and daytime telephone number.

●  The product code.

●  The lot number and expiry date.

●  The company, who dispensed the product.

●  Enclose five unused appliances from the same batch, and return for testing.

●  Write a note explaining the difficulties being experienced.


If possible, it is advisable to empty a pouch when it is one third to one half full.  Do not wait until the pouch is completely full, because this could put pressure on the seal, causing a leak.  If using a two-piece, the pouch itself may also become detached, causing the pouch contents to spill out.  Emptying a pouch in this way will also mean that the pouch will not bulge under clothes, thus making it less noticeable.

Before emptying the pouch, place some toilet paper into the toilet to reduce splashback and noise.

Some ostomates prefer to kneel on the floor, when emptying a pouch, so that they can hang the pouch over the toilet rim.



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