5 Myths About Ostomy Bags That Need Correcting

I remember discussing with my gastrointestinal surgeon at one of my appointments as to why many patients are “anti” ileostomy, even if it means saving their lives due to Crohn’s disease or colon cancer. He replied that they hear a lot of misinformation from loved ones who mean well, or are afraid of the unknown. Also, if there isn’t anybody they can talk to who has had the appliance for quite some time, they tend feel very much alone and depressed.

This led me to making an information booklet for him and another surgeon’s patients so they would be correctly informed about the surgical procedure. It also helps them become aware that support is available to them at any time while they are in the hospital or at home recovering.

Here are the top five myths of having an ileostomy:

1. Myth: Others will know that I’m wearing a bag.

Fact: Nobody knows you have one unless you choose to tell them.

2. Myth: I’m going to smell all the time if I choose to have an ileostomy.

Fact: There is no odor while wearing an appliance. To prevent it when emptying in the bathroom, spray w with Lysol first in the bathroom, use m9 drops, or Adapt from Hollister. Experiment with what works for you by trying a variety of options.

3. Myth: I won’t be able to wear my favorite clothes.

Fact: Once you are completely healed, you can wear whatever makes you comfortable. Even tight jeans!

4. Myth: I won’t have a life anymore if I have an ostomy.

Fact: There is life after ostomy surgery. You can  work, play, travel, exercise, have kids. Whatever you did before, you can still do.

5. Myth: I don’t have someone to talk to regarding my pouching system, or I feel like the only person who has this.

Fact: Support is available. Click on this link to find an available support group near you.

Knowledge is power!

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Crohn's Disease

A photo of the writer walking on a pathway surrounded by water.

What I'm Thankful for After 365 Days With Crohn's Disease

Dear 2017, You were a year full of surprises. I thought I knew what to expect, but you shattered all of my predictions. I anticipated a year full of bittersweet endings and new beginnings, with my college graduation, a final summer before the real world, and the start of my career. And while all this [...]
woman balancing on a slack line in the forest

Striving for Balance in the New Year With Chronic Illness

I know it’s cliche to do a post on New Year’s resolutions – like many people, I typically make a half-assed resolution I’ve given up on by March. But while New Year’s resolutions tend to get a bad rep, I do think that taking stock of the last year of your life and looking forward [...]
three friends at a christmas party

5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays With Chronic Illness

‘Tis the season of ugly sweater parties, dwindling bank accounts and Mariah Carey Christmas songs. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, am I right? For the most part, I agree with this sentiment. There’s something so magical about the holiday season and everything that comes along with it. I’m a real sucker for [...]
nicola fletcher in hospital bed and picture of her scars

Woman Transforms Scars From Crohn's Disease With Beautiful Rose Tattoo

Nicola Fletcher, a 36-year-old mother of six from Blackpool, England, had struggled for years with Crohn’s disease, a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, and the significant scarring it left on her backside. So she found a beautiful way to reclaim her body and transform her scars into a work of art: with [...]