After Ostomy Surgery: 6 Ways to Settle Into a Routine

Resuming your personal and work life after ostomy surgery can be challenging. You have to adjust to a new life. But, with a few simple steps, you can make the transition easier and faster.

After Ostomy Surgery - 6 Ways to Settle into a Routine

Learn ways to adjust to life after ostomy surgery.

After ostomy surgery, you’ll face new challenges, especially during the first weeks and months. Plan to take it easy as you recuperate at home. Recovery takes time, so don’t expect to feel settled immediately.

Here are six practical tips on how to handle those first few months:

  1. Manage your emotional stress. After leaving the hospital, you might worry about and obsess over your stoma. For most, this is a passing phase. It takes time to get used to the idea of having an ostomy. It may take months before these feelings pass, so be patient with yourself.
  2. Learn about your stoma and how to manage your pouch. This is a very important part of the recovery process. During the first weeks and months, you will learn how to best manage your new pouching system. But, you won’t be on your own. Your stoma care nurse will help you. Support is also available from the United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA). Be sure to ask your healthcare professional for a list of helpful contacts.
  3. View it as learning something new. Managing your stoma may be a challenge at first, but it will quickly become second nature. As with any skill or task that initially seems complicated, you’ll master it over time and your mastery will make you more confident.
  4. Make it your daily routine. Your stoma may place a few restrictions on what you can do. But, once you have mastered the practical care of your stoma and how to manage your pouch, it will just feel like you’re checking off your usual daily tasks.
  5. Realise you’re in control. Today’s pouches are discreet and not everyone needs to know that you are wearing one. If you have been very ill for a while, your friends, relatives and colleagues will be happy to see you looking better. But, they also may be curious about the surgery. It is up to you to decide whom to tell, and how to talk about your stoma.
  6. Be open and honest…selectively. It’s natural to be concerned about telling people about your ostomy. In general, if you feel comfortable, other people will be too. Be open and honest with those people you think need to know. You don’t need to say anything to others, unless you think it is important.

Download the full pdf booklet: Living with an Ostomy: Home & Work Life