Taking the Plunge
Swimming is different than showering because the ostomy pouch is completely submerged, and like showering there are no restrictions on the amount of time I can spend in the water. I swim with a wafer (base plate) and pouch for just a few hours. Then after a swim, I squeeze out all the water with a towel and blow dry the pouch. If I am in the water all day, I usually change the pouch immediately after swimming. I do not use a sticker when I wear a wafer since I typically change my bag (but not the wafer) after a swim. Two of my fellow ostomates have their own tips for swimming:
"Just before surgery, I thought I would never be able to do anything fun again because I had a 'bag-o-poo' stuck to my right side. I was wrong! I can do anything and everything now that I could do before surgery, including swimming. I have jumped into the ocean, a pool, and a lake with my ostomy appliance nestled in a stealth belt. I love swimming, so it’s great that I can stay in the water as long as I want.
I tend to wear the same ostomy system because I am loyal to it. The last time I was at the beach, I wore my appliance for two to three days. Wear time for me depends on what I eat, my exercise level, and the amount of sunscreen that makes its way behind the base plate.
After being in the water, I let my pouch air dry. I am fine having my appliance exposed. But if an ostomate is not comfortable doing that, I suggest using a cool blow dryer or change out the bag if it’s a 2-piece system."
"I use my standard set-up when swimming but wear mini-pouches with a filter sticker. I air dry them and save them for the next time. I put silicon horseshoe-shaped border protectors around the edges for extra security. I only swim for about an hour and then get out to check that all is well with the base plate and pouch. So far, so good!"