ileostomy bag and fashion

Fashion tips for women with ileostomy or colostomy bags

One of the questions I get asked a lot is how do you choose clothes to wear with your ileostomy bag, and so I thought Id do a little post on the question…

Its a funny one because my first reaction is ‘Wear whatever the hell you want to” and that is my general rule.  But there are a few things I wear for comfort and ease…

1. Maternity trousers

I know, I know, wearing maternity trousers when you aren’t pregnant seems awful, but they are FANTASTIC.  You can get a ton of different styles these days from most high street stores and they are really affordable.

I went for maternity jeans because from the crotch down they look like any other pair of trousers, but that soft stretchy band above makes them super comfortable and holds your bag snugly against your stomach so it just feels so safe.  Wearing these means I happily wear jeans and a vest and don’t even think about my bag.

2. Don’t feel that you have to hide it

The fact is that sometimes you will be able to make out the shape of your bag under your clothes, but seriously who cares?  What is the absolute worse that will happen? Someone will ask you what it is, you tell them.  The End.  Wear what make you feel good, if you can see the bag, own it and make it awesome…

ileostomy bag and fashion

I love this tshirt and didn’t want to go bigger and get a baggy top, I know you can see the shape of my bag through and so what!

ileostomy bag and fashion

I bought this is Australia and its totally see through… I think Im rocking it!

3.  In there like swimwear

I looked at a few ileostomy swimming costumes and never found one I liked and so I just wear what I already have! On the beach or sunbathing I am happy to wear a bikini and just let is all hang out…

ileostomy bag and fashion swimwear ileostomy bag and fashion having fun swimwear ostomy stoma

If I want to cover up on the beach, or at the local swimming pool I wear a one piece, if you are bothered about people seeing it, go for a large pattern.

ileostomy bag and fashion swimwear

4. Tight fitting clothes.

You had your bowel removed, you did not become a nun.  If you liked wearing tight fitting clothes before there is no reason you can’t still wear them.  It comes down to confidence and self esteem – your bag has probably saved your life, its not something to be ashamed of, wear what makes you feel amazing.

ileostomy bag and fashion

5. Loose women

If you want to go baggy then do it, but do it because you love the dress, not because you want to cover everything up.

ileostomy bag and fashion

6. In the bedroom

I don’t usually talk about ‘bedroom stuff’ just because it isn’t really something I want my mum or kids to read, but regarding clothes Ill talk a bit.  There are some specialist lingerie sets for ostomates, I have had a look and to be honest they aren’t for me.  There are specialist wraps but in a way I find them a little bit offensive, its like saying I need to cover up my bag for my partner to find me sexually attractive.

I tend to wear a vest in bed because I feel more comfortable when my bag is close against my skin, but honestly, with the right partner, you really don’t need to worry about what you are wearing in the bedroom.  I think sex is about trust and respect, if my partner didn’t want to see my bag during sex, he probably wouldn’t be the right partner for me.

7. Underwear

I tend to wear big panties, you know the high waisted ones, I do this because I prefer to have the cotton between my skin and the bag.  Its total personal preference, you can buy specialist underwear that has a pouch in it for your bag.  I haven’t bothered with these so far as Im comfortable in what I have.

8. Wear what makes you feel amazing…

This is the main point.  Clothes are such a personal choice, there is little reason for you to change your style because of your bag.  There are a few things I avoid nowadays because of the position of my stoma, waistbands need to go above or below my stoma to feel comfortable.  I’d never stop wearing something that I loved unless it was ridiculously impractical or uncomfortable.

ileostomy bag and fashion

Wear what makes you feel awesome and amazing, you deserve it xxx

Love Sam xxx

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21 thoughts on “Fashion tips for women with ileostomy or colostomy bags

  1. This post is freaking fantastic. I love the line, “I had my bowel removed, I did not become a nun.” When discussing wearing tight fitting clothing. I commend you on what you write in this post. It is informational, fun and also appropriate for a wide audience. Even if you are someone that has never had an ostomy, you can relate to this post. I think one message you are sending here is own your body, own your life. I looooove that!!! Thank you!

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  2. I was wondering if you could give me any advice on what I can wear during the colder month’s I have a wound manager pouch that takes up about the whole area of my stomach. It has to be drained every so often or I need to attach a drainage tube that goes to Foley bag. I will have to wear this appliance for the whole winter. Thanks for your time. Yours truly Monique Marsh.

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  3. I am in the hospital awaiting surgery as my colon and anus no longer want to work, I lost the use of my stomach about four years ago but it has progressed to other parts, in fact I am also showing a lack of motillity in the small intestine as well. I am scared but I am happy it is being done as my life has been one filled with more stays in hospital then at home. I cam upon your blog on a search for information and I thank you for being honest and giving insight.

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  4. Hi Sam,
    I wore jeans for the first time today (post surgery 5 weeks ago) but suffered an horrendous bag leakage 😦 They were fitted but not tight, do you have any hints to avoid this happening again??

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    • Hiya, where did the waistband sit? Do you think the leak was down to the jeans or just bad timing?

      I always found maternity jeans were great for me, the ones that have the soft material band that sits over the normal waistband.

      I avoided anything that cut across the bag.

      Good Luck!!!

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  5. The waistband sat at the top of the bag, I didnt think it caused too much pressure?? I will try again on a home day (I was at Australia Day celebrations when it happened, so a bit distressing) & see what happens, if no good then i’m off to the maternity section 🙂

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  6. Hi – just happened upon your blog and I love your “let it all hang out” attitude! I had a total colectomy about twelve years ago and I must say that life became a whole lot better when I lost the diseased bowel (Crohns). But I’ve always been a bit self conscious about people “noticing” my bag through my clothes so I have tended to go for the slightly voluminous look – I like loose t-shirts and tights for everyday wear. And I’ve never quite come to terms with what to wear for swimming, so I don’t. Maybe I’ll try and adopt some of your more up-front attitude. Thanks

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  7. I’m soon having surgery that will result in an ileostomy. I have already given my stoma a name. She’s called Hope. Thankyou for your blog. It’s really reassuring, honest and informative. I will remember the line ‘your bag has probably saved your life, its not something to be ashamed of’ for ever. I think I might write it on my bathroom mirror. I’m young, I have the rest of my life in front of me and now I feel more confident about living my life with my new friend, Hope. Thanks you son much xx

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  8. I had my bladder removed March ,2015. It happened so fast I had no time to think about what i was going to wear. So my wonderful daughter went out and bought me 4 long skirts, to a uniform store to get slacks and two long dresses. I have a lightweight cotton jacket that i can wear with the dresses and the jacket can be closed gently with a small safety pin in front. I also wear mens shirts which means they hang long.over other blouses underneath. I have measured that a blouse has to hang down at least 30″ to cover the end of the bag which usually is underneath the skirts or slacks. Hope this helps. falean

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  9. Hi Sam
    I have a iliostomy and wear maternity jeans. I do feel as though my Stoma burns as though they press against it? Have you any thoughts on why? Thank you for your blog you are a wonderful person xxx

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    • I believe you can get a Stoma guard that’s usually used for sports but perhaps it could help?

      Speak to your Ostomy supply company!

      And thanks for your lovely words.

      Sam x

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  10. I have a friend who has very aggressive cancer which has not entered her bowel and therefore has just without warning a colostomy bag for her bowel. I would love to buy her a beautiful pair of PJ’s and a robe. Are there any suggestions? It must be natural fibres and soft on the skin as that is extremely sensitive due to the radiation and chemo.
    Thank you anyone who can help me.

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