I believe travelling with an ostomy is many times easier than without it. You just need to follow couple basic rules and all goes smooth.
I guess the problematic of travelling arises directly when a patient imagines a blown-up bag, farts, smell, or a bag ripping off. Ostomy is still unfortunately a big unknown in my country, which makes all around daily life with an ostomy seem like a barrier. Which is why I decided to introduce this topic to you in a nutshell.
Just to explain, as usual, I use an example of a fit ostomate with no current health issues or restrictions.
Having an ostomy does not limit body movement at all. Therefor couple of months after the surgery patients can go back to their normal life. Of course, some habits need to be changed and adjusted to the new situation. But you’d have to do that anyway, if let’s say you move to Australia. For example, ostomates have to drink more water, because we lack absorption area on the intestine. We also have to adjust what and when we eat while travelling. But limitations do not have to be drastic, it is very individual.
When travelling, I believe it’s all about what boundaries we set for ourselves. I finally crossed off accommodation without a private bathroom. I’ve never been a big camping lover anyway 😊 But I know ostomates who travel around Asia with just a back pack, others are diving. I never dived with my ostomy, but I love to swim in the sea. If you have a correct ostomy bag and other accessories there is no problem with salty water. However just to be sure I always tape the edges with special elastic stripes. With those not even atomic bomb would rip the bag off 😊
A regular ostomate traveler needs to pack double of all appliances they need, or even more depending on their needs. Salty water does make the glue stick less. Anyhow, getting accustomed to the sea life is not complicated and I can only recommend frequent visits. Extra-large doses of vitamin D, fresh fish and fruit, salty water that cures everything. Every time I had an infection, I stayed long in the sea and problems went away.
But, so I don’t only speak about sea, mountains are also not a problem. I read about an ostomate who climbed K2! I only ski downhill though, am comfortable… A little extra preparation and you’re ready to go! On top of packing more bags it is also good for some to use the hernia belt. Especially if you are carrying skis a lot. I don’t use it, but some people really need it.
While travelling I cannot think of any mean that would be problematic. I only couple of times experienced pains on a plane due to stuck winds. But who didn’t have that 😊 Otherwise no issue what so ever. I would just advise to eat easily digestible foods that do not irritate your system.
For the whole travelling process, I just have a couple of tips for you:
Have an extra set for a bag change on you. All the removers, wipes…
If you are experiencing leakages, tape the ostomy bag with elastic barrier stripes. Wear comfortable clothes that will not block pooping. It might also help to have a new t-shirt or underwear somewhere handy if needed.
Always have a bottle of water ready.
Sleep well before leaving. Do not exhaust yourself quickly, do as you feel.
Last, but no least, pack some nice snacks to refuel energy, and you’re ready to go!
Travelling is one of the beauties and wonders of life. And it would be a shame to stop for fear. So, get up from the couch and go and have an adventure!
Wishing you a beautiful summer!