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Frequently Asked Questions

The Greater Eastside Ostomy Support Group does not provide medical advice.  Please consult your ostomy nurse or your physician for answers to your specific questions or concerns.

  • Can you wear the same clothes after surgery as you wore before surgery?

    • Yes--not right away but you should be able to in 2-6 weeks, depending on the individual.


  • What about diet?  Are there foods that you can and cannot eat?

    • This would be a question for the doctor. If the doctor gives you the OK, then you can eat what you ate prior to surgery.  Reintroduce roughage food in moderation.  Start out with bland non-roughage foods. (Ex: mashed potatoes, bananas, green beans, chicken, and turkey).  Ileostomates may have more restictions than other ostomates. 


  • What is the difference between an ileostomy and colostomy? 

    • The output of an ileostomy is much more runny than a colostomy. If the whole colon is taken out, (all of the large intestine is removed), this is an ileostomy. If only part of the colon, large intestine is removed this is a colostomy.


  • Are there any lifting restrictions for ostomates?

    • After having ostomy surgery you will have lifting restrictions. Please listen to your doctor and adhere to his rules. By following instructions you will reduce or eliminate other complications. If you do not get lifting restrictions, do not lift anything over 25 lbs for 6 weeks and then be very careful for the next 6 months. (Ex: sweeping, hauling groceries, pulling luggage, lifting a child, pushing a lawn mower, shoveling snow)


  • Are you able to do the same activities as you did prior to surgery? 

    • You are able to do whatever you did prior to surgery. This comes with a doctor discussion. Everyone is different and might have different circumstances.


  • Where can I get ostomy supplies?  

    • There are numerous ostomy supply distributors.  Work with the nurse assigned to you. She will help you get started. A lot of times the insurance you have may dictate where you get your supplies. 


  • What about traveling?

    • If you are travelling on vacation or business take 2-3 times as many supplies as you normally need.  It is suggested you carry on all these supplies, as you don’t want them to get lost. If you are staying somewhere for an extended period, you may want to request that your distributor send your supplies to that location for the duration of your stay.  (See Resources page for UOAA Travel Card.)


  • Can you have sex with your partner after ostomy surgery?

    • Yes.  There are no restrictions after healing from surgery.  If desired, there are intimate apparel stores that offer various covers for the ostomy bag.


  • Do ostomy bags give off an odor?

    • When correctly sealed, modern ostomy bags do not give off any odor.  When changing your bag you will notice an odor.  There are numerous deodorizers on the market.  Talk to your supply distributor or WOCN nurse for recommendations.


  • What happens if I pass gas?

    • Passing gas in your bag can make noise and is normal.  By placing your hand over your stoma with some slight pressure, you can cover up some of the noise.  If you wear a bag with a filter, the gas will slowly be released.  If you wear a bag with no filter, the bag will hold the passed gas until the seal has been released (burp the bag).

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