How to Adapt to Life after an Ostomy Surgery: A Guide

How to Adapt to Life after an Ostomy Surgery

An ostomy is a surgery that makes an opening in the skin to allow waste or urine to leave the body without passing through the rectum or bladder. This waste is usually collected in a pouch worn outside the body. Although this pouch is designed to make your life as convenient as possible, it can take a while to adjust to an ostomy.

The good news is that you will still be able to resume your social life, go back to work, and participate in physical activities even after your surgery. However, you’ll need to welcome several changes to your regular routines. To learn more about how to go about your life post-procedure, feel free to read the information below.

Diet Changes

Your diet will transition to a largely liquid diet after surgery for about six weeks. If a big part of your small intestine was removed, you might need more sodium, potassium, and other essential nutrients. You may also be advised to take vitamin or mineral supplements. 

Additionally, expect to lose more water if your colon was removed because the stool no longer passes through the large intestine. Because of this, you may be recommended to drink more fluids every day.

Note that some foods may cause gas, diarrhea, or foul odor after surgery. For your guidance, here are several foods and drinks to limit:

  • High-fat milk and dairy products
  • High-fat foods
  • High-fiber foods
  • Whole grains
  • High-fiber foods
  • Raw fruits with the skin
  • High-fat foods
  • Carbonated drinks


You may wear the same type of clothing after an ostomy because tight clothes will not hurt your stoma. However, if your ostomy pouch shows through your clothes or you have trouble hiding it, consider seeking a home nursing care professional for suggestions.   


Medicine’s effectiveness depends on the form of the medication and how much functioning intestine you have left. Since most medicine is absorbed in the small intestine, time-release drugs and coated pills may pass through the intestine too quickly. It’s generally better to take liquid medicines if possible. Make sure to discuss your ostomy with your doctors and pharmacists so they can determine the best form of treatment for you.


Traveling is allowed after an ostomy. For your convenience, empty or change the pouch before the trip and bring extra ostomy supplies in your carry-on baggage or a cool, dry storage space.


An ostomy does not impact sexual function. Various forms of affection, like hugging and sexual activity, will not hurt your stoma. If you are concerned about your ostomy pouch, consider getting a cover for it to make sure the waste stays hidden.

Physical activities 

You can still participate in various physical activities after an ostomy, except contact sports with lots of potential for injury. These activities will also be restricted to ensure a fast recovery after the procedure. For instance, you are not allowed to lift more than ten pounds for six weeks or drive for three weeks from the date of surgery if you are on pain medicines. After this period, you can resume normal non-contact activities, like tennis, swimming, hiking, and camping.


Getting an ostomy demands you to make necessary adjustments in various aspects of your life. This ensures that you will get better and return to doing your usual activities as soon as possible. Start preparing to return to your daily routine after the surgery by following this guide. To receive further assistance and post-surgical care, seek home care nursing services.

Live life to the fullest with top-notch home care services by Gateway Home Health. Our highly trained clinicians and therapists provide the support and help you need and the care you deserve at the comfort of your home. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you!

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