I remember one of my biggest fears post op was showering. I was a mix of still being scared to touch my stomach, a severe lack of strength and core muscle and not knowing the best way to do it. I googled endlessly to find ‘the best way’ and got lots of differing advice off different forums on facebook. It was hard to know the best way to shower with a stoma but over the past three and a half years, I feel like I’ve got it down!
My first shower with a stoma was 10 days after surgery and took about an hour. It was tough and I never thought I’d be able to shower normally. Like everything with a stoma, it’s definitely trial and error. What works for one person might not work for another and it’s about finding you’re own routine. However, there are certain things I’ve learnt along the way which have really sped up the process!
How to shower quickly and easily with a stoma
Let’s be honest, when you’ve got to get out quickly in the morning, you want to be able to shower quickly and be done. That’s why my biggest tip is change your bag AFTER you shower. This is something I learnt quickly.
For a few weeks after surgery, I used to shower, wash my hair then whilst I was in the shower, change my bag and let my stoma breath for a few minutes. This is fine until you realise you need all your stoma stuff in reaching distance from the shower and there’s a good chance your stoma is being active.
For me, the best thing to do is have your normal shower, dry yourself and then change your bag. It’s easier if your skins dry plus a lot less hassle if you’re stoma is being active. I also found I could take my time a bit more if I needed too!
Another thing is that preparation is key. Have your new bag already cut and have the gauze, plastic bag, spray and any other accessories ready. Having everything to hand means that it’s a lot easier for your bag change to go smoothly.
Other tips to have an effortless shower with your stoma
Eventually, showering with your stoma becomes second nature and you won’t even think about it. I thought I’d bullet point a few other tips I’ve picked up as well as a few things I’ve heard of but not tried myself!
- Shower in the morning – now this isn’t something I stick to BUT the thinking behind this is if you shower first thing your bag is less likely to be active. If this is something you worry about, or you have a very active stoma, choosing times when your bag is less likely to be active is a good idea.
- Eat marshmallows – this sounds strange, and I haven’t tried it myself, but eating marshmallows can slow down your bag, especially if it’s being active.
- Take your time – especially early on, it’s okay that it takes time. Don’t beat yourself up as over time it does get easier.
So there’s a quick guide to showering with a stoma. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Next week, we’re discussing all things bag changes so holla at me if you want anything specific covered!