Sleeping With An Ostomy

sleeping with an ostomy

This week on The IBD and Ostomy Support Show we have been talking about whether people find sleeping with an ostomy difficult or not.

I am personally pretty lucky that with my ileostomy I can sleep right through the night with maybe emptying once depending on how late I have eaten, how much fizzy pop (my addiction!) I have drank in the day or just if I have had high output that day. When I first came home from having my ileostomy formed I would only sleep on my back, I genuinely felt quite scared to sleep on my right hand side again like I did before surgery.

Slowly that fear diminished and now I can sleep happily on which ever side I feel comfiest, although I don’t go to sleep on my front although I probably turn onto my front whilst I’m sleeping, but then again I’m not conscious when this happens. I used to place some of the duvet underneath my belly/bag to help when I laid on my right side but then again since being pregnant with Ra-Ra I find it more comfortable to have duvet between my knees so tucking some under my stoma wasn’t an extra hardship.

I asked the members of “making ostomies cool” how sleeping with an ostomy is for them, I put a few options down to start with and others added their strategies onto the poll.

Do you have issues sleeping since having your ostomy?

  • yes I have trouble – 59
  • I sleep fine – 27
  • no more than before – 5

Do you use an aid to sleep?

  • pillow between the knees – 20
  • maternity pillow – 13
  • duvet – 11
  • exercise – 5
  • pillows under bum – 2
  • Benadryl and Melatonin – 1
  • Trazodone – 1
  • ostomy shield – 1

Have you had to change sides?

  • toss and turn all sides – 48
  • I sleep on my left – 43
  • I sleep on my back – 39
  • I sleep on both sides – 39
  • I sleep on my right – 22
  • I sleep on my right (stoma) – 15
  • I sleep on my stomach – 14
  • I sleep on my left (stoma) – 5
  • I wish I could sleep on my stomach – 2

I thought the variations around how we all sleep with an ostomy quite fascinating as there is more and more reasons to show our ostomies and how we deal with them are so individual. Unless something is dangerous or can cause risk to yourself or someone else it shows there really isn’t a right or a wrong way for anything with stomas including sleeping.