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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.
















Book a hotel room with an en suite bathroom.  It is advisable to store all appliances in the coolest part

of the accommodation, and this is normally the bathroom.  Stoma supplies can be left here ready for use.  On arrival at the hotel, look around the bathroom in order to work out where to place stoma equipment, so that a routine can be established.

Do not place any products in a fridge, as this may alter their effectiveness.

It is acceptable to dispose of a used appliance by double bagging it, and placing it in the waste bin

in the bathroom.  

Some ostomates take a mattress protector on holiday with them, since this alleviates the worry about accidents.  It gives peace of mind, and adds to the holiday being problem free.  Ursula Naish designs and creates waterproof mattress covers with a quilted top and waterproof fabric on the underside.  A standard size is a metre square, but covers can be made to personal requirements.  Another supplier, Cuiwear offer a non-slip, waterproof mattress protector, which is made from breathable fabrics.  This mattress protector is also very quick drying, which can prove useful on holiday.

Remember to place the Do Not Disturb notice on the hotel room door to avoid any embarrassing situations.


Depending on the airline, when a flight is booked, it is always advisable to request an aisle seat near the toilets, so that it is easier to go to the toilet regularly to empty or check a pouch.  If this is not possible, arrive early at the airport for checking in, so that you are at the front of the queue and can request an aisle seat near a toilet.

If there is a need to use a toilet, try to go when there are no trolleys blocking the corridor and before the meal is served, as there will be fewer queues than after.


A separate, small travel kit can make trips to the toilet discreet and uncomplicated.


Many patients prefer to use a drainable pouch, since it is often easier to empty the pouch in the plane toilet, than trying to change and dispose of it.  In addition, a drainable pouch can be useful when travelling around and there is no access to disposal bins.  Also some ostomates prefer a larger capacity pouch for long flights, or for when pouch changes/emptying may be delayed.  Currently, it is unclear as to whether or not flushable pouches are suitable for the toilets on planes.

When flying, the air in the pouch may balloon a little with wind.  It is not known exactly why this happens, but it could be due to altitude, not being able to exercise, change of normal eating patterns, change in cabin pressure, etc.  Provided that there is a charcoal filter on the pouch, this should not be a major problem.  To try and ease the problem, before and during the flight, try to refrain from having fizzy drinks, alcohol, and fried, fatty or spicy foods.  Allowing fizzy drinks to go flat first will help reduce wind.  In addition, it is better to eat sensibly and regularly for the previous 24 hours, and avoid any food or drink that is known to cause wind.

As per the norm, it is recommended by all airlines to do leg exercises, walk around the aircraft cabin at least once an hour, and drink plenty of water.


Lifestyle/Out & About/Travel Kits

If travel is involved outside of the UK, it is helpful for an ostomate to have a letter from a doctor, stating that they are carrying ostomy supplies as a medical necessity.  It is advisable to keep the letter from your doctor (and your travel certificate) in your pocket, in case you become temporarily separated from your hand luggage.

When on holiday, it is always important to take an up-to-date prescription list, which details all medicines being carried.  This list can be very handy should an ostomate be stopped at check in, security or customs, and are faced with embarrassing questions.

It is advisable to take some extra supplies of any prescribed medicines to cover for all eventualities.


When travelling, it is extremely useful for urostomates to be able to have a convenient night drainage bag stand.  Coloplast offer a travel, flat-pack bag stand in their Simpla range, and this can be easily packed in luggage, as it is light and foldable.


Before a holiday, make a checklist of all the items and equipment which will be required, e.g. flanges, pouches, accessories, disposal bags, etc.  Calculate how many products would be needed normally for the days of your holiday, and double the amount.  Try to mix the batch numbers, just in case one batch is faulty.

It is better to have too many products than too few, as an ostomate can then be prepared for any eventuality or emergency.  Changes in climate and environment may mean more pouch changes are needed.  A stoma may be erratic for the first few days, following the intake of different foods, etc., but this should settle down.

On holiday in a hot country means that appliances should be kept in a cool bag (the soft canvas kind) or any other cool, dry place.  If appliances are next to heat or left in direct sunshine, this could dry out the adhesive, so that the flange/pouch will not adhere to the skin, or it could start melting the adhesive.  If the appliances are cool when you come to use them, they can be warmed slightly against the body before applying.

Some ostomates, who are on a caravanning or camping holiday, take a cool box (the solid type) to store their ostomy appliances in order to protect the supplies from sharp changes in temperature, etc.

Prior to your holiday, it may be possible to find out about stoma associations or where additional supplies can be purchased in the proposed holiday area.  In the UK, there may be a local support group, who might be able to provide assistance with obtaining supplies.  Overseas, a list of some of these, by country, is available from the International Ostomy Association under the Regional Associations section.  

However, in some countries, there could be a language barrier.  Any of these may be able to help in an emergency, if an ostomate requires extra supplies, whilst away.

In addition, for customers of Fittleworth Medical home delivery company, there is the World Assist Alliance service, which offers a free supply of appliances in emergencies.

On request, some home delivery companies will despatch appliances to a UK holiday address before arrival.  For holidays abroad, some will repack appliances in easy-to-carry packages to make a smaller-sized parcel for the journey.  In an emergency, some companies offer a free holiday emergency

service for registered patients.




Holidays, Emergency Supplies

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