5 Tips to Get Through the Holidays with a Stoma

So this is the 2nd Christmas that I’m about to share with my little stoma, “Winnie”.

Last year was quite daunting as everything was “new”. The holiday season and all its enjoyment seemed to take a back seat, as my worries of how I would cope with a “stoma” took over.

So, I’ve put together a few tips that I have learned that I hope may help you get through the holiday season a little more easily.

1. Stoma supplies - MOST IMPORTANT

Check with your supplier (of stoma products) when their cut-off date for orders is, and ensure that you place your order in plenty of time. There will always be a “rush” of people placing orders at the last minute. Make sure you’re not one of them.

2. Medication

Check your supplies of any prescribed medication to make sure that you have enough to see you through the holidays.

Bear in mind that your doctor's office may well be closed for a few days over the holiday and new year period, so prescription requests are likely to take a little longer than normal.

If you do need a repeat prescription, again check with your Doctor what their “cut off” dates are.

3. Drinking alcohol

Before consuming any alcohol, if you are on any type of medication, please check either with your doctor or the leaflet/information provided that you are ok to drink.

If you are not on medication/or are on medication but been given the “okay”, then there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a little “tipple”. But there are a few things you need to be mindful of:

  • Alcohol causes the body to dehydrate. As ostomates, it's very important to keep our bodies hydrated. Therefore, I would recommend between each alcoholic drink, that you have a glass of water.
  • Be mindful that drinking beer can cause your bag to fill up pretty quickly and sometimes without much warning. So, remember to check and empty your “bag” regularly.
  • Fizzy drinks such as sparkling wines, I found if I drank more than two or three caused me to get stomach pains behind my stoma. So, take them slowly.
  • If you haven’t drank for some time, be mindful that the alcohol may “affect” you more quickly than previously. With that in mind, it may be a good idea to have your night bag and stand set up beforehand for when you go to bed. Saves any fumbling, or worse still, forgetting to connect!

4. What to wear

Unless it’s a “formal” function, I would highly recommend going for “comfort”. Anything with an elastic waist is good for both men and women. Even if the garment is only elasticated at the sides, it’s much more comfortable for our little stomas.

If you are lucky enough to be invited to a grand affair, ladies you can still wear that “little black dress”. Just try and get a fabric that has some “stretch” in it. Another good tip I was given to ensure a “clean line” and hide the “bumpy” bits of my bag is to purchase an “ostomy waistband”. This gives a smoother look, and also helps support your “bag”. For the gents amongst us, you can still wear your flashy tuxedo suits; just get trousers slightly larger on the waist and pair with some flashy “braces”. There are also “ostomy waistbands” available for men.

5. Overnight stays

The thought of “staying over” somewhere can be quite daunting. But with a little forward planning, there is no reason why you shouldn’t. Just make sure you take a bag containing extra supplies with you, your “just-in-case” bag, your night stand, night bag, and don’t forget the “connector,” if you use one.

If you are “super duper” worried about having a “leak” in the night, take a waterproof bed sheet to put over the original sheet, and for extra piece of mind in the early days, I also used to take a plastic backed paper sheet, that I would lay on.

Enjoy it!

Lastly, whatever you are planning on doing, enjoy it. You are here, your family and friends are around you. So relax and have a great time, because you surely deserve it!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The BladderCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you taken our In America survey yet?