Exercising After Ostomy Surgery: 6 Common Questions

Staying fit is a key component of health. If you have questions about how ostomy surgery may affect your active lifestyle, get the answers here.

Exercising after Ostomy Surgery - 6 Common Questions

Get answers to your questions about exercising with an ostomy.

Stoma surgery is a major event that should not be underestimated. The first few weeks and months after the operation may be difficult. It takes time to adjust to having an ostomy. However, once you’re fully recovered, you can return to the physical activities that you enjoyed before the surgery.

For many people, stoma surgery creates a renewed zest for life. Along with that new-found enthusiasm comes the desire and determination to achieve new goals. Or perhaps even try a new sport.

Before you get started, here are a few common questions and answers:

1. What kinds of sports and exercise can I do?

Before looking at specific sports and fitness activities, it’s important to understand how your body has responded to your surgery. If you have no complications and your healthcare professional has no objections, you can enjoy almost any kind of exercise – including swimming. Contact sports, such as rugby or soccer, can be possible. Even activities with a lot of bending, such as bowling and aerobics, may be okay for you.

2. Can my stoma handle sports?

Your stoma is stronger than you might think. That new protrusion from your abdomen may look vulnerable, but it is actually very resilient. The surgical incision should be fully closed just about ten days after the operation. Over time, the scar tissue surrounding the stoma will reach its optimum strength.

3. Should I be concerned about getting a parastomal hernia?

Yes, a stoma means you have a greater risk of a parastomal hernia from lifting or strenuous exercise. That’s because the muscles supporting the stoma are not as strong as they were before surgery. 

4. What can I do to avoid a hernia?

There are several things you do to prevent a hernia. First, always be mindful of protecting your abdomen area during activity. Also, monitor and keep your weight in check. Talk with your surgeon before resuming any abdominal exercises, or activities that put a strain on that area.

5. What can I do if I get a hernia?

Contact your healthcare professional for guidance on activities and devices such as support belts that may be suited for your individual situation.

6. What if I have a perineal wound from my surgery? Can I still exercise?

Yes, you can still be active, but give yourself plenty of time to heal. Your perineal wound is from the removal of your anus and rectum, so it’s affected by almost any lower body movement. This area is going to be tenderer than your abdominal incision but, with time, it will heal and become equally resilient.