Having stoma surgery can understandably be a very overwhelming and daunting time. Suddenly, there's new plumbing within your body to get used to and learning to go about your daily business with it, before you even consider elements such as what clothes you can wear long-term as a stoma owner (or "ostomate" as a lot of people refer to someone who has a stoma).
It is natural for endless questions to be whirring around your head and to feel apprehensive about the answers or not knowing where to go for answers.
One of these questions that we know a lot of ostomates have after surgery, as they start to recover, is "what clothes can I wear with a stoma?" Many people panic that they'll have to dress in clothes that don't reflect the person they are and/or spend their lives hiding in baggy clothes. Do not fear, we are here to tell you that this doesn't have to be the case! Read on to find out more.
Join us in welcoming Ant Andrews on board!
Clothing and outfit options are different between men and women and in this blog post, we will be covering both perspectives, with a video from Ant Andrews (@ibdlife) about how he dresses with a stoma bag.
Ant is an IBD & Disability advocate and is an ambassador for both Unhidden Clothing and Pelican Healthcare. He had his stoma formed two years ago as a result of Ulcerative Colitis and shares insights into his life with a stoma, including stoma fashion, body confidence, education and is also partial to a happy dance or two!
We are delighted to have Ant collaborating with us here at Comfizz, bringing a fresh and vital male ostomate perspective to our content and you can definitely expect to see more from him on our blog and social media channels as the months go on! Thank you Ant for joining us. We are excited to work with you!
Ostomy fashion - a male's perspective
Without further ado, here is Ant's take on dressing with a male with a stoma.
To view more of Ant's content, you can follow him on Instagram.
Ostomy fashion - a woman's perspective
We spoke to Amy, who has been a long-term Comfizz blogger and now works with us as our Social Media and Marketing Specialist, about her take on women's fashion with a stoma and how she feels her stoma has impacted her clothing choices.
Amy had her permanent ileostomy (also known as "Stacey Stoma") formed in 2011 due to severe Crohn's Disease and a large benign tumour. Surgery saved her life by a matter of hours, so where she can, she always tries to see the many opportunities and positives of having an ileostomy.
Here is what Amy had to say:
"When I had my stoma surgery as a 19-year-old who had always had an interest in shopping & clothes, I was actually looking forward to a wider choice of clothing once I got on the road to recovery. The thought of no longer having to steer away from lighter coloured garments out of fear of soiling myself excited me and it was as if a whole new world had suddenly been opened up for me, which it definitely had in many ways. For me, dressing with a stoma always starts with a stable support-wear piece for added security, confidence and peace of mind.
I wouldn't say my stoma limits what I wear, but on the other hand, it is a factor in the choices I make. I've never been a fan of super tight, hugging clothes so it doesn't restrict me in this sense, but I do find I can wear less restrictive but figure hugging clothes with the right support wear that really enable me to dress in the styles that I love and to express who I am. My stoma hasn't stopped me wearing what I love. It has enabled me to wear what I love because I can maintain a healthy weight and am in a position where largely, I can enjoy my life."
Ostomy fashion tips
From speaking to ostomates & having those with stoma knowledge in our team here at Comfizz, we know there are some handy tips when it comes to ostomy fashion. Here are five tips to consider:
1. Support wear
Our range of support wear gives you a choice of garments to choose from. You can choose your required support level from light, medium or firm support. We offer waistbands, briefs, boxers and vests as some of our garments. Items such as our light grey waistband have been designed primarily to be worn under lighter coloured clothing, as an invisible support layer underneath.
2. Patterns and prints
Patterned and printed garments are good to wear, especially on those more active ostomy output days where you're more concerned about visible bag bulges through your clothes. Whether it's a printed summer shirt, shorts or dress, these are just a few ways you could style your outfit up.
Especially with Spring being here, layering outfits is a great ostomy hack that suits both an ostomate and the weather. Even when it comes to going away on holiday, you can layer a beach outfit for example by wearing swimwear, with a shirt and shorts on top or a floaty beach dress, with a light cardigan over that if needed depending on the temperature.
Layers can also be handy if you're having a low day with your confidence as they can be tied around your waist as an optional layer (eg a shirt) and can also bide you time if you are experience an increase in ostomy bag leaks.
4. High waisted garments
As well as Comfizz offering high waisted garments such as waistbands and underwear, high waisted swimwear can be good to try as an ostomate if you're wanting to keep your ostomy bag more discreet and supported.
Garments such as high waisted jeans and shorts can also be good to try. I know a lot of female ostomates who swear by high waisted jeans and brands such as Aura Clothing, designed by a fellow ostomate.
5. Looser, floaty garments
Garments with a bit of give in them can be a favourite for a lot of ostomates such as swing dresses, shirts and midi dresses such as the one photographed below.
To view more ostomy fashion posts click here.