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Traveling with a bag

Posts: 52
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello there! Tis will be my first time to travel in the USA after being NED for 2 years from rectal ca. Are they strict at the airport with THE BAG. I really fear being pat down and being questioned by the airport authorities of my bag. I have travelled in Asia but they don't even ask about it or even frisk me near my abdomen. Can you give me tips? Like do I have to tell them beforehand or let it be discovered by them. My companions don't know about me having the bag and I don't know how I could hide it from them when the time comes. Thank you so much and Godbless you all!

Brenda Bricco
Posts: 579
Joined: Aug 2011

I would call the airline for what to expect... I hope you have a great time here in the US, I sure do.
God's blessings to you.
P.S. Would you mind me asking what stage you were?

Posts: 52
Joined: Dec 2010

It's ok Brenda, I was initially diagnosed 3b but after the chemoradiation I was downgraded to 2a. Thanks for your suggestions, I'm really excited to see your country and will buy plenty of supplies there for my colostomy because it's almost non-existent in my country. In fact one of the survivors from this network Steve kindly donated some of his supplies to me. Thanks a lot Steve- I gave some to the more needy here who don't really have access to bags and are using none just tissue paper and plastic bags.

dmj101's picture
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2011

You will probably be pat down..
I recently travelled from Newark NJ to Atlanta GA.. I was pat in Newark and Atlanta.. the bag showed on the the scanner in Newark but not Atlanta. don't really understand what was seen in my knees and arms in Atlanta.. but anyhow. it was not that bad.. it was quick..
I do suggest traveling with supplies in your carry on.. as well as lugage.
Where in the US are you going.. you nay want to google that airport and see how they work.

Posts: 33
Joined: May 2010

One thing I have done when traveling is to stop by bathroom before going thru security so the bag is empty. So far, there hasn't been an issue. They don't seem to see it. Have gone thru both types of scanners, too. I wear snug briefs that hold it close to my body. Not sure if all that matters, or if they are not paying attention.

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

I've travelled a lot in the States and internationally with a colostomy. Occasionally someone will pat that area. Usually they look at me, I say "colostomy" and that is that. I think they are 100x more embarrassed than I am. Must say I have never been travelling with colleagues -- I can see that that might be awkward....I carry supplies in carry on as well as my checked luggage. I sometimes get a similar questionning look at security with my checkon but I've never been asked. The only mistake I've made is forgetting to remove manicure scissors from my kit. I've lost a few pairs! But one time when I explained it was for 'medical reasons' they let me keep them. BTW, I take an immodium when I am doing a long-haul flight -- just to reduce chance of an accident.

Good luck and happy travels.


Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

These types of challenges are all about getting on with your life despite the bag. It shouldn't stop you doing anything at all but the first time you do things there will natural anxieties.Once you have done it I 'm sure your confidence will grow. The only thing I remember that suprised me when travelling was the bag tended to blow up a bit during flight- assume it was a pressure thing due to the altitude? Otherwise treavelled internationally with no concerns.


Vickilg's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi! I fly quite often and have randomly been patted down, gone through exrays etc. just coincidence. If I am going to get patted down I quietly tell them I have a medical ostomy on left side and to be descrete. They always are and it's never an issue. Don't worry please. If you don't get nervous and make a big deal of it then they don't either. Have fun!

joemetz's picture
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2011

i had a bag for just over eight and a half months... flew domestically here in the states about a dozen times or more and never had an issue.

here's what i did.

when you get to the point where you have taken off your shoes, belt and put your belongings on the conveyor belt to be scanned... I would look for an agent, just before going into the scanner and tell them "i have a colostomy bag, and I might need special scanning".

they would call "male assist" which meant that a Male (guy) would meet me after i went through the scanner.

they'd just have me take my hands and run them over my own shirt... then, they would take a small piece of paper and wipe my hands... which then that white piece of paper would go into a scanner.
once they scanner read the paper and gave it the "green light"... I was good to go, and they wished me a good day.

It might have taken me an extra 5 minutes or so, that's it.

also, while being in the plane, it was never an issue either.
but, it always seemed that every time I flew, within an hour or so of take off... i would have to empty the bag, and sometimes more than once during a flight.

it's tight quarters in those bathrooms... but never a problem.

i wish you the best

RickMurtagh's picture
Posts: 579
Joined: Feb 2010

I have had many flights w a bag now. I never had a problem. Once, when the TSA agent detected the bag and did not know what to do I told him, "You poop out our butt, I poop in a bag." Then I flashed him my bag. He let me through without any more questions or scrutiny.

I would make sure you have supplies in your carry on baggage. I recently went to CO for a week and brought 2X the supplies I would normally need. I don't know if it was the dry climate of elevation or what it may have been, but by the end of the week I was running out of supplies. It cost me $80 out of pocket to get supplies to tide me over for the date of the plane flight home.

Just remember to have pills, etc (if you are on medications) in the prescription bottles and even if you cut your own appliance to fit, you can't bring scissors on the plane. Imagine if you were to run down the isle with them an fall. What an inconvenience and mess it would make. You will need to plan on buying some scissors at your destination(s) and leaving them behind when you depart or put them in checked baggage.


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