Tips for Talking About Your Stoma

Talking about having an ostomy is uncomfortable for most people. Still, it’s something you can’t always avoid. Fortunately, there are some strategies that can make it easier to talk about your stoma.

Tips for Talking about your Stoma

Get guidance on how to talk about your stoma.

In addition to the people who live with you, others – including relatives, friends, neighbors, and coworkers – may be concerned about you. There is no need to go into detail, unless you choose to do so. It’s a good idea to prepare for the inevitable questions though. Here are a few tips:

  • Explain you had a serious illness or injury that was life threatening. You had major surgery and now wear an ostomy pouch. Once that’s out in the open, it’s unlikely you’ll get any additional questions, but feel free to offer more information, if you’d like. If people see that you have adopted a straightforward attitude, they will very likely take their cues from you.
  • People outside your circle of closest family and friends need not know. As you meet new people, you don’t need to tell them about your stoma either, unless you want to.
  • If you’re dating someone and getting serious, prepare to talk. If you’re worried about a new relationship and the impact of your ostomy on your sex life, rehearse talking about your stoma – either to yourself or with a close friend.
  • Be ready to talk to young children. What you tell the children in your life, and whether you show them your stoma, is up to you. Consider their ages, and be honest and simple when you explain your situation. Age-appropriate books and dolls from ostomy manufacturers can help answer questions too.
  • Practice out loud. Some people find that rehearsing out loud so they are prepared if they are unexpectedly put in a situation where they must explain their health issue, such as to a co-worker. Practicing out loud makes it easier should the situation occur

The more you talk about your ostomy, the easier it will be to talk about it going forward.

Download the full pdf booklet: Living with an Ostomy: Home & Work Life