Know that you can be active, wear fashionable clothes and live a happy, full life with a stoma bag.
As an ostomate, you face unique challenges. But there are a slew of other factors to consider for those of us with two X chromosomes. From periods and pregnancy to contraception, women’s health as an ostomate can be more challenging to navigate.
The good news is that us women are strong! We face challenges, stand up for ourselves and refuse to give up – no matter what. Scary? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.
A combination of patience, resilience, self-respect, and a healthy dose of courage, is the secret sauce to reclaiming your life after ostomy surgery.
We’ll address some of the most common concerns that female ostomates have below, so you don’t have to worry. Time to get cookin’, good lookin’…
Choosing bags and underwear for women with ostomies
There are numerous types of ostomy bags on the market. After your surgery, your healthcare provider will recommend the best bag for you. Some prefer bags that they can replace every 2-3 days. Others prefer bags made of hypoallergenic material and have filters, as these prevent skin irritation and odour. It becomes second nature once you learn how to manage and replace the bags.
Love your body – stoma and all – with Vera SA‘s range of premium quality underwear. When it comes to security, comfort, and confidence, we have you covered! Our unique range of women’s panties stylishly conceal and discreetly support ostomy pouches.
Crafted from super soft imported fabric for a fit that feels like a second skin, our smooth style and stretchy underwear lies flat against your body, giving a good fit that will stay in place all day.
Exercise after ostomy surgery
As you recover, you can resume your regular exercise routine. If you are involved in high-risk sports such as wrestling or boxing, double-check with your doctor if you have concerns. Many people with ostomy bags can still enjoy swimming, walking, running, tennis, and other activities.
Depending on the type of surgery, ostomy patients are subject to certain restrictions. However, it should not prevent you from living your life and doing things you enjoy.
Do you have a period with a stoma?
Yes, you can still have periods with a stoma, affecting your output. The degree to which this influences your output varies from person to person. For some, a period can make their output runnier and more frequent, whereas, for others, a period may not affect output.
How will surgery affect my periods?
Your periods may stop temporarily after surgery. The time it takes to resume is different for each woman, but it is usually four to six weeks after surgery. When they do return, you may notice that the period is lighter or heavier than usual. This should take two or three cycles, but it could take longer.
Can I get pregnant with a stoma?
Yes, you can become pregnant while having a stoma. Many ostomates have a normal pregnancy without dealing with other health issues. For some ostomates, getting pregnant may be more difficult. Scarring may occur if you have had your rectum and anus removed or if you have had pelvic surgery. Scarring can affect reproductive organs and alter normal anatomy. However, invitro fertilisation (IVF) is very effective for ostomates.
How long should I wait after stoma surgery to conceive?
Getting plenty of rest and recovery in the first eight weeks after surgery is critical. Your body will need time to adjust and heal. After your surgery, be sure to discuss your plans to become pregnant with your surgeon. They’ll be able to advise you on the best time to begin trying for a baby.
What happens to my stoma during pregnancy?
The height, diameter, and amount of your stoma protruding are likely to increase. The skin around your stoma will likely begin to dip, crease, and curve more than usual. This may require you to use a different appliance than you’re used to over time (usually into the latter half of the second and third trimesters). If you typically get your flange/water pre-cut, you’ll need to start getting ones you cut yourself.
Can I give birth naturally with a stoma?
A natural birth with a stoma is possible. The doctors and midwives will discuss it with you throughout your pregnancy and as you approach delivery. Nonetheless, a birthing plan should be in place in case of complications.
Contraception is generally just as effective for ostomates as it is for those who are not. However, certain factors should still be considered, particularly those with high output and known absorption issues. Always consult with your stoma nurse or a healthcare professional to determine the best method of birth control for you.
Vera SA is a proud partner of CANSA and The South African Society of Ostomates.
Contact VERA SA at 082-833-9200, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or log onto https://www.verasa.store/ for more information.
READ MORE BLOGS BY VERA SA:
HOW TO REDUCE OSTOMY GAS AND ODOURS
REPLACE YOUR COLOSTOMY BAG IN A FEW EASY STEPS
THE PROS & CONS OF DISPOSABLE OSTOMY BAGS
UNDERSTANDING THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT OF OSTOMY SURGERY
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