How to Exercise After Stoma Surgery

There may be many questions in your mind after you have had a stoma surgery (otherwise known as an ostomy), and you may be wondering how your life will change after this major operation.

What will you need for recovery?

While your doctor or healthcare provider should advise you on most aspects of living with a stoma, from how to maintain it daily to how to manage the financial implications (thankfully, with the right plan you can get vital products like Hollister colostomy supplies through insurance), there will likely be other concerns that you have. One common concern is how to exercise after stoma surgery.

It can be difficult for anyone to adjust to life after stoma surgery, perhaps even more difficult for people who are into exercise and fitness. The good news is that exercise after an ostomy is definitely still possible! Once you have fully recovered (usually a few weeks to months after the operation), all kinds of forms of exercise will be on the table again!

How Strong is My Stoma?

Despite its seemingly vulnerable appearance, your stoma is surprisingly tough and durable! After one to two weeks after the operation, the surgical incision will most likely be fully closed, and scar tissue will have healed to sufficient strength. This means that various sports and exercises are available to you!

What Kinds of Exercise Can I Do?

The exact kinds of exercise that you will be able to carry out after your stoma operation will be dependent on the success of the operation in general. Assuming that there were no complications and your body has responded well to surgery, there should be very few limitations to the kinds of activities you can undertake. Jogging, racket sports, and even swimming are likely possible!

The types of exercise and sport that may pose potential problems are contact sports such as rugby or football, and exercise like aerobics, which involves a lot of bending of the body. Whatever you do, you should consult with your doctor or healthcare professional first and follow their advice.

Does My Stoma Increase My Risk of Hernia?

Unfortunately, having a stoma does mean that you have an increased risk of developing a hernia. Particularly strenuous exercises such as lifting very heavy weights are more likely to result in a parastomal (through the stoma) hernia as the muscles around the stoma will be weaker than before.

The best way to avoid developing a hernia after an ostomy is to avoid abdominal exercises (or reduce their frequency and intensity) as well as any sports or activities that may result in collision or pressure on the abdomen. Maintaining a healthy weight, diet, and level of general fitness is also effective at preventing the development of hernias.

Overall, your health should maintain a healthy level of fitness with or without a stoma! Although a stoma does not prevent you from exercising or taking part in sport, you will have to take a little more care than before. If you are unsure of anything, you should discuss it with your surgeon.