Summer ostomate tips

Summer ostomate tips

With Summer having arrived and the warm weather hopefully here to stay for a few months, ostomates need to consider some lifestyle changes going forward. The warm weather can affect everything from the clothes you wear, your diet and your supplies. Here are my tips for staying on top of it all:

Swimwear season is upon us and hopefully enough heat to want us to shed a few layers! Swimwear is the first port of call where it can be a worry for what to choose in terms of style and cut with an ostomy bag. Truth be told, you can wear anything you want. If you have the right appliance that works for you that will stay adhered to your skin then whether you wear swimwear with alot or little support, it shouldn’t matter. On the other hand, if you are like me and prefer not to let my bag sway about and go rogue you’ll want something with a bit of support.

High waisted bikini sets are a go to with plenty to choose from with high waisted back in season this Summer. Not only do they help me to feel secure, but also if my bag fills up it is supported, not putting a strain on it before it is emptied. This is a luxury that none ostomy folk do not benefit from. A silver lining if ever you have seen one, as your non ostomy mates have to escape the pool quickly if they need the loo! Swimsuits and tankinis are a great option if you don’t want your bag on show, and if you have waistbands that you are comfortable with getting wet, they can also be used for an extra layer of support.

Storage of supplies
To be best prepared when leaving the house it is wise to have a bag of supplies for a bag change in the event of an emergency leak. I have one in my car and one with me when out and about. Every now and then when the bag is getting untidy and supplies are low, which is rare truth be told, I will empty them and restock and check the integrity of my supplies. This is where during the Summer it is important to check regularly as the presence of heat can change the commotion of materials. Seals for example are extremely vulnerable to being exposed to heat for prolonged periods of time. Check the small print on your supplies for storage instructions and maximum temperatures they can be stored in. I found recently my seals had been ruined by being left in the sun in the car because I hadn’t thought to change them to a shaded part of the car.

At home it can be easily done if you have a trolley or an open box for your supplies near a window. In the hot weather they can overheat and change making them inefficient. Make sure you store your supplies according to the manufacturer’s instructions and do more regular stock checks.

Diet and nutrition
Hello the season of salads, if that’s your bag (pun intended!). Where diet is concerned, some of us can get away with eating exactly what we want, grains and fruits and vegetables, skins included, with no consequences. Some of us however aren’t that lucky and have to be careful what we eat, due to potential blockages and leaks as a consequence. You can chew all you like, sometimes for some of us we have a certain food that just doesn’t play ball. Eating out can be a risk if you choose something from a menu, and not expect triggering ingredients to be there for them to arrive on your plate. A prime example I have is where we went out for lunch where I ordered a ‘supreme chicken caesar salad’. What arrived was the most beautiful looking combo of quinoa, sweetcorn, couscous, raw onion and chickpeas, most of which I have had leaks from. Totally my fault for not double checking and I won’t be making that mistake again!

The warmer weather encourages fitness outdoors, and with that comes the increased risk of dehydration, with your body sweating more as a way of keeping your body temperature from getting too high. Hydration is a daily struggle for most of us, especially those with an ileostomy with the lack of colon. You can buy hydration tablets, powders and drinks, but even making your own is an option. Make sure to keep drinking little and often and look out for the signs you are becoming dehydrated, which is headaches; dizziness; passing less urine; change of its colour; dry mouth, lips and tongue and sunken eyes. Your body will lose much needed electrolytes through sweat, and in the unfortunate case of increased stool output, you will need to try your best to help the body retain fluid. Remember, if something doesn’t feel right and you feel very unwell, to contact a medical professional and do not wait if you are struggling to replace your stool losses with your fluid intake.

Until next time,
Rach x

Meet the blogger: Rachel

Rachel is a part time baker and healthcare blogger who started raising awareness of stoma surgery following the birth of her son Jake. Jake was born with the same condition as Rachel, Hirschsprungs Disease. The disease affects 1 in 10,000 births in the UK every year, where the ganglion cells…