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colostomy bag and clothing

johnsfo's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi, All. There are so many weighty topics on the board that I'm almost embarrassed to be posting on something so trivial, but I'm truley stumped right now and would love your advice.

As lots of you know, I had a colostomy on Dec. 1, and I'm just getting accustomed to the bag. Most days I've been recuperating at home -- doing very well -- and wearing elastic waisted pants and big t-shirts, letting the bag hang over the pants concealed by the shirt. Last night, though, we went to an event that required jacket and tie, and I couldn't figure out any comfortable way to wear dress pants and shirt with the bag. I tried tucking the bag under the belt and into the pants, but I felt that when I bent or moved in certain ways this pulled on the seal and I was concerned about breaking the seal. It was also uncomfortable because the waist of the pants closed off most of the bag from the stoma. So I tried doubling the bag up by placing the bottom of the bag up at the stoma -- I ended up looking like I was carrying a balloon under my shirt. That was both unattractive and uncomfortable.

Any suggestions anyone? Or is it sweat pants and t-shirts from here on out?

Similar topic: I used to swim laps and would like to start again. Does anyone have suggestions about what swim gear and colostomy gear is best suited for lap swimming?

Any other tips about practical aspects of dealing with the bag would be very welcome!

Thanks to you all in advance.


just4Brooks's picture
Posts: 988
Joined: Jun 2009

I do the one piece bag that comes in a large bag and small bag. Most of the time when at home i do the large bag so i don’t have to empty it all the time. Then when I go out to dinners or anything i have the small bags. Now I do have to empty it more but it's very easy to hide because of it's small size. Now by reading your post you have the two piece. That never worked for me because to seal was in a spot where I could not bend in fear of it popping off. So I do the one piece.


Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2009

as for dressing. I will NEVER have a need to dress up for the rest of my life. As it is, since colostomy, have warn ONLY draw string pants, havenot tried stuff with need for a beltlike I used to wear, jeans, etc. I let bag hang down outside of pants, with long shirt covering it. I'm sure others will give advice to fit your needs but I'm so far satisfied dressing as I do (as long as bag is empty when I leave home-its a drag walking around as it fills and you can't empty it.Stoma also hurts at times as I walk-had my op 3 monthsago-*** should be hurting you as well for some time. Use painkillers (you had advised me awhile ago on use of Fentanyl when I asked about its use)
I use two-piece ConvaTec and if I notice any content, I try to empty it before it gets squashed so I can continue to empty more later. Try to not change bag too often so you don't ruin skin around stoma or get rash, infections, etc.Biggest change I found was accepting what I now look like and how life must be.Advantage is you don't need to look for bathroom.....Hope you are feeling better and this assists a little....(Say hello to Adrian) .Steve

mcsauder's picture
Posts: 68
Joined: Nov 2009

First of all John Welcome back
I'm glade to see your doing well for swimming I cannot answer that,
I just stopped swimming But I do know that they make a swimming belt that goes over the stoma bag Look at this

to get a ideal on what they look like I don't know to much about them.

When I put on dress pants and button down shirts I don't put the bag in the pants keep it above the belt line don't roll it do to stool and gas I also keep the jacket on

(I ended up looking like I was carrying a balloon under my shirt.) Sorry welcome to the ostomy world (LOL)
I put on jeans but I use much bigger shirts.
I just got done telling Donna that I hate going into stores it looks like I'm stealing something

John I know that I'm not that big of help but maybe someone give more information I would like to know more


Patteee's picture
Posts: 950
Joined: Jul 2009

Hey John

When I had mine-
I started off with the 2 piece one (in addition I had a belt that hooked on one side of the seal, wrapped around my mid-section and connected to the other side of the seal- not sure if you have this, but it helped keep the seal complete at all times)
I was in the 2 piece until I went back to teaching and then they switched me to a smaller, one piece bag.
Now the 2 piece I had issues with- it always seemed to be full of stool or gas, so yes, anything tight or clingy over that area would not work at all. When I switched to the one-piece and it actually has a filter on the top of it and no problems with it filling full of gas. I would tuck the bag up, fold it over once and tuck it inside underwear. The bag would start to "unfold" as stool filled it and I would head to the closest bathroom to change it. I was pretty regular, so truly, this did not seem like that much of an issue.
Swimming I never attempted so can't help you there.

Do you have an ostomy nurse you work with? They really are the best nurses! I think working with him/her in finding the right appliance and working through some of the issues, that they are pros at this! Example: I had problems seeing the edges of the stoma so wasn't confident I was getting it on tight. She worked with me, actually had a high power desk lamp and like a 50X magnifying mirror that she had at counter height and had me practice right there. Wow, what a difference that made!

standbyme's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: Sep 2008

Hi John,

My husband has been using the following belt for three years. He uses the two piece, disposable bags. You can change the bag without removing the belt. He also uses the smaller size bag when going out. http://shop.ebay.ca/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m38.l1313&_nkw=colostomy+belt&_sacat=See-All-Categories

It works great for him. I also know you can buy one of the same style but waterproof for swimming, although he doesn't have one.

Hope this helps.


Buzzard's picture
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

OK....I have bent over , tied my shoe at 227# when I normally weigh in at 196# so the belly syndrome gets a little touchy with a bag...But here is the poop ( yes pun intended)

I do wear anything and everything from sweats to tuxs and have not had any trouble as of yet with the seal busting unless I did it myself. I do, like you said, double mine taking the bottom and moving it up overlapping it. There is not much room but sufficient if there is a bowel movement during any time you are out. Yes it does show a little but that my friend is the consequence of staying alive versus well you know...OK on with the show...If you really want to be smooth when you dress for the evening then simply eat very small meals and nothing spicy and you should have no problem while out.

As far as swimming, I have a hot tub and if my bag was coming off I would think it would in 104* temp water staying 30-45 min's at a whack. So I would say maybe wear a T shirt for others then I would say swim all you want. Its not coming off.....

Also they make an elastic belt that goes around the waist that has a hole in it for the bag and adhesive seal to go through then another wrap that covers it over. This will keep everything in its place and allow for "freedom" while you sleep by keeping it all in one place.It also keeps a smooth outlook where the bag is almost invisible..I have your address from the Christmas card list. I will put you one in the mail................and Merry Christmas....from the house of Buzzard

VickiCO's picture
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008


I had my ostomy surgery Nov 11 and I am already wearing jeans, zipped pants, etc. It may show a little, but who cares? As Buzzard said, I am alive. I wear sweaters, long shirts, or jackets over the top. Before my surgery the ostomy nurse had me bring in several types of pants and she marked just where the stoma should be for the surgeon, thus avoided having the pant top or zipper, etc right on top of it.I do have to be careful that things aren't too tight, but so far, so good.

At home I live in sweats & sloppy shirts...the advantage of working at home!

Good Luck and I hope all is well with you. Vicki

steve g
Posts: 59
Joined: Dec 2008

John; I enjoy working so to give me something to do in the summer, I bought a golf course in upstate N.Y. This past summer I was operating a skid steer all day which is alot of bouncing around and when I got home, my stoma was bleeding, caused by blue jeans belt pushing on the appliance that holds the bag. (Holester 2 piece system) This stopped me from operating any equipment for over 2 weeks until I discovered coveralls which don't have a belt and give me complete freedom to bend with nothing to push against the stoma unless I gain too much weight. I haven't thought about going to a formal affair in coveralls but if the occasion arose, I do beleive that would be my atire, as my Grandfather once told me "never judge a man by the clothes he wears" Wishing you the best Steve

Posts: 61
Joined: Jun 2009


Great questions as my husband and I are going to a wedding tomorrow and have been trying to figure out what he can wear. I am the caregiver so don't post much here but had been wondering the same things you asked. You are doing very well to be going out so soon.

So far, he has been doing what most of the rest have said - long shirts. He is tall so it is a little difficult to find shirts that are long enough to cover. He uses the two part HOllister throw-away (18373) There are some short bags but he is not too comfortable using them as they are so small. He may try it tomorrow though. Other than the "dress up" situation he has gotten along really good, no blowouts! (yet)

I think it is weird that I have never noticed anyone with a "bag" in the past. Either they are covering it well or it just not as noticeable as we think it is.

Good Luck with your recovery...it took Kevin's 60 days for the hard pain to subside. Hopefully yours will be sooner.

just4Brooks's picture
Posts: 988
Joined: Jun 2009

I surfed like 3 or 4 times and the bag always stad on. if is been on 2 or 3 day then it does leeak. But with a fresh bag.. no problems

Buzzard's picture
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

completely every other day...The bag normally 2-3 times a day......Im thinking next year Im gonna use em as ornaments.........

johnsfo's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Oct 2009

Thanks to you all for your good ideas, good humor, and all your other help! I'm going to try many of the suggestions and see what works best for me -- maybe even the xmas tree ornaments -- that'll shake up the season!


Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2009

I had an ileostomy the same day and have some of the dame issues. I usually wear a shirt long enough to hang down below the bag but some clothes allow me to keep the bag inside. Most of my dress pants would allow for the bag to go inside but I haven't tried. In the house flannel lounge pants are the way to go for me. I still have staples from my navel down (should be out by this time tomorrow) and the waistband irritates them. And the stoma is in exactly the wrong spot. I either have to pull my pants up to where it looks like I'm 85 or let them hang down like I'm 20. I'm neither.

I've only used the one piece appliance but have 2 piece ones on order.

Is yours temporary or permanent? Mine's temporary, fortunately, so I don't plan to put a lot of energy and thought into it.

Good luck.

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