Busting the myths

Living with a stoma

Clinical Advisor

From A Bigger Life

Despite improved public awareness of ostomies, there still are many myths around having an ostomy. To help, here are 7 common myths about having a stoma.

Myth 1 – It’s permanent
This is not the case. With advances in surgery there is alot more temporary stomas that are created and the surgeons would try hard to not give you a permanent stoma if you don’t have to have one.

Myth 2 – Everybody will know you have a stoma
Not at all. When you are dressed and have your clothes on not one person will be able to see that you have a stoma.

Myth 3 – Your diet has to change
In some instances that is the case depending on the type of surgery that you have had, however, for the vast majority of people you will be able to get back to eating and drinking exactly what you want. You just need to be careful in the first few weeks after your surgery to allow the bowel to settle but after that with the exceptions for some things like nuts, sweetcorn and mushrooms you can get back to eating what you want.

Myth 4 – You can’t exercise
There is no reason why you can’t get back to all the activities that you liked to do before surgery. In many cases you will be better at them because you are now well and healthier. A few modifications may be needed but you should speak to your Stoma Care Nurse if you have any concerns.

Myth 5 – It smells
People fear that everybody will be able to smell your bag. This is not the case at all if you have a bag that’s working well. They are all fitted with filters that filter out the air through charcoal. The only time you will smell it will be when you are emptying on changing your bag and if that’s not the case you should visit your Stoma Care Nurse as you may not be on the right bag for you.

Myth 6 – You can’t get pregnant
That is not always due to having a stoma and could be due to something else.

Myth 7 – I am the only one with a stoma
That is not the case. Within Northern Ireland there are at least 1,000 new stomas formed every year, within the UK there are over 100,000 people living well with a stoma so you are not on your own.



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