Showering and bathing
with a stoma

Showering with a stoma

Taking a shower is part of everyone’s daily routine, and your stoma will not prevent you from enjoying this ritual. You can even choose between whether you prefer to shower with or without a bag, both are possible and you will see that a shower cover or shower guard may not be necessary. Your particular stoma type will certainly influence your decision: Colostomies are often more predictable regarding output, while ileostomies and urostomies tend to be active all the time. Some people even say that showering stimulates their stoma, which is why they prefer to shower with a bag.

A lot of people alternate between the two options: On the days when they change their bag, they shower without and otherwise with the bag. It is important that you work out what is best for you and develop your own routine. In case you have had stoma surgery recently, you should talk to your stoma care nurse first, especially if you have wounds that have not completely healed yet.

In the shower with a stoma bag

Our stoma bags are waterproof(1), which means it is not necessary to cover either one. However, if you wear a bag with a filter, cover this with the protective sticker that comes in the box with your stoma bags. This will ensure that the degassing performance of the filter remains good after the sticker is peeled off after showering.

Here are some personal tips and recommendations from other ostomates:

  • Empty your bag before showering.
  • The wafer adhesive is waterproof. Just make sure it has been on a few hours before showering, so it sticks to your skin properly. Never change the bag shortly before a shower.
  • Before and after showering, make sure the skin protector or wafer seals well to the skin.
  • When using a drainable bag, some people roll the bag up and clip it off for showering.
  • There is often no need to change the appliance after showering, especially if it is still tight. Just dry it gently.
  • There are several ways to dry the appliance: Dry it with a hair dryer, but avoid hot temperatures by choosing the cool setting. Or: Dry off, wrap a dry terrycloth flannel around your bag and put on your clothes. After a short time, the bag will be dry and you can remove the damp flannel.

In the shower without a stoma bag

A lot of people prefer to shower without a bag and absolutely recommend it. They report that showering without a bag feels liberating. And they enjoy the sensation of clean water running over the stoma. At the same time, it is a good opportunity for the skin to breathe. If your stoma becomes active, you are in the perfect place to wash everything off. It is well worth it and any mess can simply be cleaned up afterwards.

Whatever you decide to do: There is no rush. Take your time, do what feels right to you. Some ostomates take six months to finally try showering without a bag. When you decide to try it, you might be happy and keep the habit. Or perhaps you decide that this is nothing for you as it may “end up with a mess”. It is your personal choice.

We would like to share the following tips from other people with an ostomy:

  • Never worry about water entering your body as it is unlikely to happen. Even if that happened, it will come out all by itself and certainly not hurt you.
  • Avoid using shower lotions in the area of the stoma, as this may mean that the skin protector or wafer might not stick probably afterwards. Use a mild soap instead.
  • The right timing can be the key: After some time, you will know how long it takes before your stoma begins to empty after having eaten.
  • It can be helpful to eat nothing and drink as little as possible at night and then shower without a bag in the morning on an empty stomach. This way, your stoma is likely to remain calm during your showering.
  • Keep a towel and new bag handy, e.g. on the sink or a shelf.
  • Blow dry the area before applying a new wafer.

Do you love a relaxing bath?

Sometimes just the thought of a relaxing bath at the end of a long day helps you get going. And it also has some nice benefits: You treat yourself to some well-deserved time out and your muscles can relax. 

Actually, you can relax completely: Our stoma bags are waterproof! Remember to always choose shower gels or bath additives with a neutral pH, preferably without any fragrance and without dyes. Conventional shower gels or bubble baths usually leave a greasy film on the body, which makes it difficult for the stoma appliance to stick properly and remain in place. If you use a bag with a filter, put a protective sticker over the filter to maintain its effectiveness.

How to cover the filter of your stoma bag

Practical advice

Before bathing, showering or swimming, it is important to cover the filter of your colostomy or drainable ostomy bag with the protection sticker to maintain the filter’s performance. These stickers are provided in the packaging of your stoma bags. Using them is quite simple but varies slightly depending on which bag you are using. Remember to remove the filter protection sticker after bathing, showering or swimming.

Bags with central filter on the upper side

  • Detach one of the filter protection stickers from the backing paper. You find these in the packaging of your stoma bags.
  • Place the sticker so that the entire seal mark is protected. Make sure that the gas evacuation opening of the filter is fully covered (see illustrations).

This handling applies to Flexima® Colostomy (flat Mini/Midi), Flexima® Roll'up (flat and convex), Flexima® Active (Colostomy/ Roll'up), Flexima® 3S (Colostomy/ Roll'up/ High Flow) and Flexima® Key (Colostomy/ Roll'up) bags.

Bags with inspection window

  • Detach one of the filter protection stickers from the backing paper. You find these in the packaging of your stoma bags.
  • Lift the cover of the inspection window.
  • Place the sticker so that the whole area of the filter is covered (see illustrations).

This handling applies to all our stoma bags with inspection windows.

Bags with corner filter on the upper side

  • Detach one of the filter protection stickers from the backing paper. You find these in the packaging of your stoma bags.
  • Fold the sticker and place it on both sides of the bag so that it covers the sealing mark and the gas evacuation opening of the filter (see illustrations).

This applies to our Flexima® Colostomy flat (Maxi) and convex bags, Flexima® High FlowFlexima® Key Maxi Drainable and Proxima® ranges.

References:

1) Data on file available upon request

Note:

Photographs used on illustration purpose and are posed by models.