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A Guide To Living With A Stoma

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100% accuracy at time of writing cannot be guaranteed.  A listing in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not mean it is an endorsement.  All companies listed are tried at the reader’s own risk.  All information provided is intended as a supplement to any professional help already

given.  Before acting on suggestions from anyone, ostomates are advised to check with a doctor or stoma care nurse that the course of action is suitable

for them. Whilst every care is taken, the author will not be held responsible.

















Everyday ostomates can face a variety of problems, but there are many easy-to-use accessories

as a solution.  

Suppliers UK, Accessories

Suppliers UK Paediatric, Accessories

Suppliers Worldwide, Accessories

Suppliers Worldwide Paediatric, Accessories

In addition, specific information about accessories themselves in more detail is shown in

the Accessories section of this website.


There is an increasingly diverse range of appliances available to make an ostomate’s life as easy

and hassle free as possible.  All ostomates have different needs, so it should be possible to choose whichever type of appliance is most suitable for their lifestyle.

On the market today, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different stoma appliances.  There are

closed pouches, which are removed and thrown away.  There are drainable pouches, which are emptied into the toilet and resealed.  Both of these can be one-piece or two-piece.  With a one-piece product, there is an integral flange and the whole appliance is removed.  With a two-piece product, there is a separate flange (base plate), which is left attached to the skin, when the pouch itself is removed.

Appliances are similar in style, colour and efficiency.  Ostomates want a secure, comfortable and unobtrusive pouch to provide confidence.  Modern products are anatomically shaped, skin friendly

and are easy to apply.  It is essential that ostomates have no fear of leakage or odour.  Modern

pouches are rustle free, can be opaque or clear, and most are fitted with integral filters.

These days, there are one and two-piece products with flushable pouches, and there are also

available products in smaller sizes, which have been specially designed for young patients, or adults

or teenagers, who wish to use a neat, small pouch.

There are several appliance manufacturers so that the individual needs of all patients can be met.  All ostomates have their own favourite manufacturer.

Suppliers UK, Appliances

Suppliers UK Paediatric, Appliances

Suppliers Worldwide, Appliances


As a general rule, no clothing is off limits for someone with a stoma.  However, an ostomate’s

individual body contour and the stoma location may make some clothes less comfortable.  It is best

to try different styles of clothes to see which are the most suitable.  

Many patients are concerned that an ostomy appliance will be noticeable under clothes. Today,

there are many manufacturers, who offer newer, more body-conscious appliances, which provide

more privacy.  Wear clothes, which distract gaze away from the pelvic area, e.g. bright or patterned tops with plain coloured trousers or skirts.  Furthermore, this situation can be improved by emptying

the ostomy pouch, when it gets between one third and one half full - then the pouch will not bulge under the clothes.  Skirts and trousers with pleats in the front can help to disguise an appliance,

and will allow some space for when the pouch starts to fill up.

Avoid wearing very tight or hipster trousers, which may cause discomfort and feel restrictive over

the stoma.  Pleated trousers offer added room for movement.

Some silks and fine knits may have problems with showing an appliance.  Wearing a loose slip underneath any thinner fabrics, or using a fabric pouch cover may overcome this problem.  

As long as it is comfortable, tights can be worn.  In fact, tights can hold the appliance in place

close to the body.  However, care should be taken if the waistband cuts into the stoma.

Belts may feel restrictive over a stoma.  Avoid wearing tight belts, waistbands or cummerbunds.  

If men find a belt uncomfortable, braces are an option to hold up trousers.

 For male and female ostomates, there are a number of specialist swimwear manufacturers, who

can make each garment individually to order, if necessary.  Likewise, there are manufacturers, who

offer underwear in the latest modern designs and fabrics, to ensure that a patient feels comfortable, confident and secure at all times.  High-waisted trousers and shorts are also available for ostomates, whose stoma is situated at waist level.

Suppliers UK, Clothing

Suppliers UK Paediatric, Clothing

Suppliers Worldwide, Clothing


Ostomy supplies can be obtained from specialist home delivery companies or from local


Specialist home delivery companies offer a confidential, reliable, free home delivery service for

stoma supplies.  Some home delivery companies are independent, family-run businesses, who can

offer experience and proven reliability.  Products are delivered to your door in completely unbranded and discreet packaging by regular delivery couriers.  These companies offer a fast, efficient and

caring service, to make sure that ostomates get stoma supplies as promptly and discreetly as possible, with the minimum of hassle.  Home delivery companies have their own warehouses, which carry large stocks of many ostomy items.  If a specific item is not held by them, they can obtain it very quickly.

Local chemists/pharmacists do not have the products in stock, and it will be necessary for them to

order the supplies.  This could take up to a week.  Therefore, many ostomates find that using a home delivery service is easier and more convenient than obtaining stoma products from a chemist/pharmacist.  On the other hand, some stoma patients like to visit their local chemist, where

they are known.  If an ostomate uses a local chemist, it is advisable to check if a delivery service is offered, as carrying large boxes of supplies is not always easy, especially if there is no access to transport.

Many doctors are happy for an ostomate to ask a home delivery company or a chemist to collect

a prescription on their behalf.

There are also benefits to using a home delivery company.  Different companies offer different

benefits, and some examples are shown below.

Both methods of obtaining supplies are equally as good, and it is entirely up to the patient to choose which method suits their needs better.  All ostomates have their own preferred home delivery service,   

Obviously, there are many others which can be found in stoma magazines, on the internet, etc.

Whichever system an ostomate uses - home delivery or chemist - it is important to place an order

about two to three weeks before your supplies run out.  Do not leave it until you are using the last flange/pouch!

Suppliers UK, Home Delivery

Suppliers Worldwide, Home Delivery

Suppliers Worldwide Paediatric, Home Delivery

If a stoma is not a standard size, and an ostomate wishes to have a flange

or pouch cut to a particular size or shape, a free personalised cutting service is available.  Exact measurements can be scanned into the system, so that the personalisation of flanges to the required size or shape remains precise time after time.  Any ostomy make or type (one or two-piece) can be cut to a

patient’s exact requirements.  All the patient needs to do is to supply a


Delivery within 24-48 hours of ordering.

A prescription collection service from an ostomate’s own doctor, i.e. the

delivery company will obtain the prescription on behalf of the patient from the doctor.

Free disposal bags, dry soft wipes and moist wipes.  From time to time, some

companies may also offer a free bottle of hand sanitiser with a delivery.

Free adaptation service, e.g. connecting tubing to leg or night bags.

Free telephone numbers for customer care.

Free prepaid envelopes for returning the prescription for your next order - for

those ostomates who obtain their own prescription.

Option to place orders by post, telephone or online.

Some home delivery companies issue magazines/newsletters.

When registering with a home delivery company, many offer an introductory

free gift.  For example, new patients, who register with Medilink, are

offered a free toiletry bag and a welcome pack, which includes a no-waiting priority toilet card.  Likewise new patients of SecuriCare (Medical) are

given a free RADAR key, travel bag or washable bed pad, and Respond Home Delivery offer a wash bag, night drainage stand, scissors, disabled toilet key and toilet card after registration.

Some home delivery companies offer a community stoma care nurse service.

Registered customers would receive a free home visit from a team of

qualified stoma care nurses.  The nurses can offer counselling and support,

inform ostomates about the latest products, and give essential hints and tips

on skin care, diet, travel and other lifestyle issues.

On request, some home delivery companies will despatch appliances to a UK

holiday address before arrival.  For holidays abroad, they will repack your

appliances in easy-to-carry packages to make a smaller-sized parcel for your

journey.  In an emergency, either in the UK or abroad, some home

delivery companies will arrange for supplies to be sent to you at your holiday address.   


Lifestyle/At Home/Magazines


Some ostomates prefer to wear an item of medical alert jewellery as an added security precaution,

when generally out and about, or when travelling longer distances at home or abroad.  This jewellery has a ‘locket like’ compartment to hold written information regarding medical conditions, surgery, etc.

Doctors and pharmacists may also be able to provide relevant information.

Suppliers UK, Medical Alert Jewellery

Suppliers Worldwide, Medical Alert Jewellery

Suppliers UK Paediatric, Medical Alert Jewellery

Lifestyle/Out & About/Medical Alert Jewellery


Everyone has different requirements for travel insurance, but it is essential that ostomates ensure that the level of travel insurance cover is sufficient.  All medical history, surgery and pre-existing conditions (including stomas), etc. must be disclosed to the travel insurance company.  Otherwise the travel insurance will be invalid, and an ostomate may find that the insurer may refuse to pay out on the grounds of non-disclosure, if a claim is made.

A list of travel insurance companies, who may be able to offer cover for pre-existing conditions, is

shown in the Travel Cover section of this website.

Suppliers UK, Travel Cover

Lifestyle/Holidays/Travel Insurance



Many ostomates find it beneficial to use a support garment or belt.  These support garments provide patients with extra abdominal support and help with the management of hernias.  This could be for various reasons - parastomal hernia, hobbies, job, etc.

There are many companies, who design and make a variety of effective support garments, for

both male and female ostomates.  These garments range from gentle support for everyday use,

to firmer support for sporting activities, work and hernias.   If wearing a support garment all day,

it is really important that it fits comfortably and is not restrictive.  If an ostomate has two stomas (normally a colostomy and urostomy), the garments may need to be tailor made to ensure that the

holes are in the right position, and that the overall fit and the support is correct.  

If an ostomate regularly does hard, physical work as part of their employment, e.g. builder,

carpenter, gardener, etc., it may be sensible to wear a support garment or belt.  When playing

vigorous sports, such as golf, tennis, etc., some stoma patients wear support garments as a

preventative measure, even if they do not have a hernia.

Once again, there is a good selection available - different fabrics, and in a choice of black, white or ivory.  These days, some of these support garments are MRSA resistant for 50 washes at 40°C., and some have stain resistant coatings.

Before using support garments, it is important to talk to a stoma care nurse, who will be able to advise what is best in each particular situation.

Suppliers UK, Support Wear

Suppliers Worldwide, Support Wear

Suppliers UK Paediatric, Support Wear