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10 Things People With Ostomies Want You to Know on Ostomy Awareness Day

When it comes to ostomies, myths and misinformation can be far too easy to find. That’s why on Ostomy Awareness Day, “ostomates” and their loved ones are encouraged to share how life-changing (and life-saving) the procedure can be for those with inflammatory bowel disease.

We teamed up with United Ostomy Associations of America to find out what people with ostomies want the world to know about their lives, in honor of Ostomy Awareness Day on October 1. They revealed the truth about ostomy bags (nope, they don’t smell) and what it’s really like to live with one (your life is far from over!).

Here’s what they said: 

1. “Ostomy — you don’t want the idea of having it, but when the only choice of having it will save your life and eternal pain, you will love it and thank God for it!”

2. “We are still sexy and beautiful; our love life is not over just because we’re an ostomate!”

3. “You would not even notice that we have a colostomy, unless we told you.”

4. “We can live without our colon and no, we don’t smell.”

4. “Life does not end due to surgery. It’s a whole new beginning.”

sunset sky with quote that says life does not end due to surgery. it's a whole new beginning

6. “Having an ileostomy has saved my life! I am grateful for medical science and ostomy nurses that provide passion and support for all of us. I am one year out from surgery and lead a very active life.”

7. “They would be surprised at how many people have ostomies.”

8. “They are not gross. It’s how one takes care of it. We are still beautiful!”

9. “Ostomates can still find love, be parents, have friends, wear fitted clothes, go swimming, skydiving, running, backpacking, rock climbing, do cartwheels, or even be fitness models. The list of things ostomates can accomplish is endless. Missing an organ doesn’t make us any less human, it just means we’ve fought a battle with our body and traded some anatomy in exchange for a longer or better quality life.”

10. “Having an ostomy gives your life back and extends your life, not shortens it. There is nothing you can’t do with an ostomy, it doesn’t hold you back, only you hold yourself back.”

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