Tips for showering with a stoma

Today I had my first shower since having my ileostomy surgery and I’m not going to lie, it was a lot tougher than I realised it was going to be. Not only did I have the issue of not being able to move very well due to just having surgery, I also had the added issue of whether or not to shower without my bags on.

The whole thing of having a shower scared me because I didn’t want to hurt the stoma and I was also worried about it being active because I have no control over it. Because of my worries, I headed to a Facebook support page for people who have ileostomy bags and I thought I’d share with you some of the tips they gave and things which I found worked well too.

1. Shower in the morning – you’re stoma is less likely to be active in the morning before you’ve eaten.

2. Start your shower with your bag on and then take it off near the end – this is how I had my shower. I kept my bags on (covering the charcoal filter) and washed my hair and the rest of my body. Then I took of my bags and let the water run over my stomach. Then I put on a new bag once I got out of the shower

3. Preparation is key – make sure you’ve got a bag ready and cut to the right size and you’re gauze and LBF wipe ready for when you get out of the shower and you have your adhesive remover spray near in the shower. That way everything is to hand and you aren’t panicking and can get a bag on before your stoma starts being active again

4. Eat some marshmallows 15 minutes before showering – now I haven’t tried this one so I can’t vouch for this one but apparently eating marshmallows slows down your output (so long as you haven’t eaten anything crazy beforehand). I might try this before I have a shower next time…any excuse to eat marshmallows!

One of the things I found the strangest was drying myself. I was so scared of hurting my stoma and fistula. I found that putting the gauze over the two and then drying the rest of myself seemed to work best but it was such an effort! I had to have a nap afterwards.

I was really lucky that my stoma wasn’t active during my shower, which helped my confidence a little bit. It was only when I sat down to put my bag on a little bit came out but nothing major or anything. Luckily my mum was with me (I was too scared to have a shower on my own) and she helped me too.

However, it felt so good to have my bag off just for 5 or 10 minutes and let my skin breath because my skin is getting quite itchy sometimes where the flange of the bag is. I guess it’s just something which is hopefully going to get easier as I do it more.

Let me know in the comments if you have any tips for showering with a stoma!