February 2021









1Charlotte County Ostomy Support Group Newsletter for February 9, 2021

                                                                                                    Happy Valentine’s Day

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy through this time and that everyone that wants the vaccine will be able to get it. It has been difficult for us to make an appointment to get the vaccine, but we are still practicing safe protocols and hopefully we won’t get infected.

I hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day.

I started this newsletter late and had a hard time finding articles for this newsletter. I came across these articles from Coloplast Care that I get in my e-mail and thought they may be a good read for some of us. I know I need to get out more and do some exercise after the past few months of over indulging and not being as active. I have been busy, but there is a difference in being busy and being physically active. I hope you will get some good tips from these articles.

Why exercise is important

An active lifestyle is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, and here’s the good news: Everything counts!

Exercising may increase your enjoyment of life, it may also help improve your time to recovery. Physical activity gives you more energy and makes you stronger and better equipped to cope with illnesses.

Exercise can prevent complications that may otherwise occur from sitting or lying down too long.

Being in good shape can make your pouching solution fit better

A benefit of exercising – and for many people the main reason for exercise in the first place – is weight-loss or weight-maintenance. Depending on the shape of your stoma, a firmer, flatter abdomen could make it easier to get a secure fit with your ostomy pouching system, minimizing leakage risks.

Exercise will boost your confidence

As you start exercising, you will feel a boost in your self-awareness. Exercising makes you feel better about yourself in ways that go far beyond physical appearance.

This appreciation is really good for building self-confidence and could help give you the energy and courage to get back to the way you lived prior to your surgery.

How exercise can help stress

An active lifestyle means a stronger heart, improved circulation and lung function as well as healthier skin.

It may boost your self-confidence and give you more energy overall. This can balance any stress you might feel after your surgery.

If you are not used to exercising

It doesn’t matter if you didn’t exercise much before your surgery; you can get started now. Take it easy, start out slowly and built up gradually.

Things to be aware of

Before exercising be sure to empty your pouch for greater freedom of movement and a reduced risk of leakage. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercising.

Until your ostomy and abdominal area are fully healed, strenuous activities can put you at risk for a hernia. Therefore you should avoid any kind of heavy lifting for the first six to eight weeks after your surgery.

If you take the right precautions, you can exercise with fewer limits. But you should always check with your doctor or ostomy nurse to approval before you start exercising.

This website includes general guidelines. Always follow the instructions by your healthcare provider.

Sports and your ostomy

Tips for doing anything from yoga to team sports – and how to act around changing rooms.


Walking is an easy, gentle way to get back into a routine. It is also an activity that you can start soon after your surgery. Whether you walk inside (e.g. up and down stairs), or outside in the fresh air, it is an activity that you can gradually increase in both speed and distance.

You can challenge yourself by lengthening your route, walking up a hill or taking a detour through a park. When you challenge yourself to walk farther, your strength and endurance will improve.


If your doctor or ostomy care nurse gives you the go ahead, running is a very good way to get and stay in shape. If you are not used to running, you will need to start out slowly, alternating between running and walking.

Yoga and Tai Chi

Yoga and Tai Chi are other great way to exercise. It reduces stress, strengthens muscles and improves balance and flexibility. Yoga and Tai Chi can be done anywhere, making it a perfect choice to get you started.

Both are very good if you haven’t done much exercise before since it can be customized to any level.


No need to avoid the pool because you fear “others will know” about your ostomy, swimming and water aerobics are great ways to stay fit!

With your weight supported by the water, swimming gives your muscles a workout with minimal risk of injury. Swimming can also help you develop more flexibility, and it’s a good option if you have arthritis.


Before cycling, you should check with your doctor or ostomy care nurse, as they will likely want to make sure your abdominal area is completely healed first. Cycling is an excellent option since it is a low-impact exercise that does not put too much strain on your abdomen.

If you have had surgery to remove the rectum, you will need to wait longer to begin, to allow this area to heal. Sitting on a bike seat too soon may be uncomfortable and may cause injury.

If you are not fully ready to exercise with others, obtain an indoor bike to use at home as this can be a great and convenient option. Before you know it, you will have the courage to take your training outside your home.


Golfing can be a great way to combine exercise with getting fresh air and spending time with friends.

You should be aware that because of the torque involved in a golf swing, playing golf could create a need for some extra security to your pouching system.

Strength training

A combination of strength training and cardio workout is an effective way to get fit. Strength training increases your endurance in other sports and reduces the risk of joint injury, it shapes your body and increases the rate at which you burn calories.

As we grow older, we gradually lose vital muscle mass. Strength training with weights or resistance bands will help you maintain or even build muscle, increasing your endurance, and reducing the risk of joint injury, shaping your body and helping you stay lean and healthy.

Team sports

team sports can help you maintain a sports routine

Participating in a team sport may provide added incentive to develop an exercise routine. You may find it easier to overcome self-awareness concerns and find a good fit in team sports rather than individual sports.

Competitive sports can, however, be strenuous, so they may not be the best choice to start with if you haven’t exercised much before. In any case be sure to check with your doctor or ostomy nurse, before you begin exercising.

What about changing rooms?

Being in a changing room with others can be a hurdle to overcome. As with so many other situations, just thinking through the likely reactions can be a big help. Would you prefer to conceal your pouch? There is no right or wrong choice, so just do what feels most comfortable for you.

However, and especially if you exercise with someone you know, consider if it might be easier in the long run to be open and upfront from the beginning, rather than having to think about it every time you exercise together.

A good plan would be to think your explanation through ahead of time. Perhaps you can simply take the initiative by saying it is your first time in a while – or that you have to take it slow today – as you have had abdominal surgery not too long ago. That is probably all the explanation you need.

What to wear for different sports

Learn which clothes and ostomy products provide the best support for certain types of sports.


Walking doesn’t require special preparation. However, if you are planning longer walks or advancing into hiking, make sure you give your body the support it needs with a good pair of Ostomy belt will help keep your pouch in place while running


In most cases paying attention to the barrier from time to time is enough, but if you want to feel even more secure, using an ostomy belt will help keep your pouch in place.


You can either use a standard-size pouch and empty it before swimming –or if you want to be more discrete, you can use a smaller ostomy pouch designed to be less bulky.

Specialty swimwear may offer more discretion. Women might consider wearing snug swimsuits with dark colors or busy patterns, while boxer-style swimming trunks may be a good choice for men.

If you fear that your pouching system isn’t resistant enough to be under water follow these few suggestions:

Water can cause the edges of your barrier to lift, so make sure that the edges of the barrier are completely secure. An elastic barrier strip may be useful to keep the edges of your barrier from lifting up.

If you use a hot tub, be sure to check your pouch seal. Heat can affect your wear time, so you may need to change your ostomy barrier sooner.

If you wear a pouch with a filter remember to cover it with a filter sticker.


The torque involved in a golf swing can put some stress on your ostomy pouching system. You may wish to use Elastic barrier strips to help your barrier follow your movement better. If you are using a 2-piece barrier and pouch, an ostomy belt might be an option for you, to keep your pouching system in place.

Plan ahead and bring an extra barrier and pouch with you when you are on the golf course, just in case you need to change your pouching system.

Strength training with an ostomy might require wearing support garment

Strength training

Heavy lifting can put you at risk for a hernia. When you are lifting and/or using your abdominal muscles you may wish to use a support garment to add security for your pouching system.

Team sports

To prevent any problems with your pouching system, you can wear an ostomy belt to keep the pouch securely in place.

In contact sports such as football, there are protective ostomy guards that can help prevent injury to your stoma. Ask your ostomy nurse supplier about these items.

This website includes general guidelines. Always follow the instructions by your healthcare provider.

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