Exercising with a Stoma
Coming to terms with an impending stoma surgery may seem daunting. It is likely you’ll feel apprehensive about exercising with a stoma and what life will be like post-surgery.
We understand how challenging this adjustment will seem.
Your well-being is of the utmost importance to us, and we feel it is essential that you have the right support as you navigate through this transition.
Pre-op ostomy exercises
Completing specific exercises before your operation helps to prepare your body for having a stoma. Due to the nature of the surgery, your abdominal muscles will become weakened.
Therefore, strengthening them prior to surgery helps you to recover quicker, and reduces your chance of a parastomal hernia. It is also important that you learn these exercises prior to surgery so that after your operation you are familiar with them and know how they should feel.
Pre-op ostomy exercises can also help you to mentally prepare for surgery, as well as provide you with some relaxation techniques to ease any anxiety or worries you may have.
Post-op ostomy exercises
Completing specific exercises can help your body to recover after surgery. As a result of the operation, your abdominal muscles will have become weaker, which makes you more susceptible to a parastomal hernia.
Therefore, when returning to exercise after stoma surgery it is advisable to gradually rebuild muscle strength to help you recover and return to normal activities. Recovering from surgery will have its challenges, it is different for everyone and it is not always an upwards curve.
It is completely normal to experience some bumps in the road along the way, so be patient with yourself and don’t force anything that feels uncomfortable.
Exercise program after Ileostomy, Colostomy & Urostomy Surgery
The first 6 weeks post-surgery is a very important period in the healing process. It is therefore vital to give your body the time to heal before beginning a colostomy, urostomy or ileostomy exercise program.
This means avoiding any heavy lifting (no heavier than a half-full kettle) within the first 6 weeks.
Minimising the risk of getting a stoma herniation
Preventing a stoma herniation is key to your recovery and healing. It’s important to strengthen your muscles in the correct way before beginning exercise or weight training with an ileostomy, urostomy or colostomy bag.
This will reduce the chance of a parastomal hernia. Hernias more commonly occur when the abdominal muscles are challenged and forced to push outwards. For example, during activities such as laughing, coughing/sneezing, lifting or getting in/out of the car.
We therefore advise you to use deep abdominal contraction exercises, to protect your stoma during these activities. It might be worth buying some supportive underwear to wear while exercising, something that is made from lycra such a cycling shorts or similar.
Get access to Simple Steps, our complete exercise program for Ostomates, including Core Exercises for Ostomy Patients.