Returning to Work With an Ostomy

You can have a successful career whilst living with a stoma. There are a few things to consider, depending on the type of work you do

On the Job with an Ostomy

Feel comfortable at work with an ostomy.

In most cases, your stoma shouldn’t have much of an impact on your working day. It depends mainly on the kind of work you do and the movements involved.

Desk jobs and sitting

If you sit at a desk, work on a computer, or do paperwork, your stoma and pouch shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you’ve had rectal surgery, you may find sitting for long stretches difficult. Find a comfortable chair or use a cushion. Any tenderness with the perineal wound usually disappears within a few months. If the discomfort does not improve, talk to your healthcare team.

Bending and stretching

If you have a job with a lot of bending and stretching, two things can help. First, wear a pouch that can be attached to a stoma belt for added security. Second, wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid constrictive belts and tight trousers.

Highly physical activity

If you’re physically active at work, you may sweat where the pouch is attached to your skin. Sweaty and oily skin may weaken the adhesive holding your pouch in place. So be prepared to change your pouch more often. You can also try using a skin barrier that works better with perspiration or consider skin barrier extenders that may help increase your pouch wear time. Your stoma care nurse or your ostomy products supplier can provide recommendations.

If you’re patient, determined and realistic, you can manage your stoma at work. With a positive attitude and a few precautions, you can confidently continue with business as usual at your workplace.

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