Welcome to the Mayo Clinic Ostomy Surgery Page. An ostomy is a surgically created opening in your abdomen that allows waste or urine to leave your body. It takes time to become comfortable with an ostomy. Our goal is to connect you with others and provide you with information and support.

Follow the Ostomy page to learn about ostomy care, read experiences of others and find resources for all your ostomy needs. Post a comment and share your thoughts.

Oct 23, 2018

Traveling with Your Ostomy

By Candy-CWOCN RN, @candywocrn

travel pic

The holidays are about family. Seeing our families sometimes means travel.  Are you nervous about traveling with your ostomy?  Don’t let your ostomy get in your way of your fall travel plans.

Preparing for travel can help put your mind at ease. Create a checklist of supplies.  Ensure you have packed enough supplies for your trip.  The best way to do this is to count the number of pouches you would normally need and double that.  This way you will ensure you have enough supplies for anything you need.  Some other considerations for your packing list may include disposal bags, cleansing wipes and other ostomy accessories such as stoma powder and skin protectant.  Bringing a handheld mirror is a good idea, just in case you need to change your pouching system on the go.

When packing supplies, make sure to pack some supplies in your carry-on bag. The remainder can be put into your checked luggage.  It is a good idea to pack some supplies in your companion’s luggage.  That way, if a bag is lost, you will still have supplies in the other bag.

If traveling abroad, it is a good idea to know where you can buy supplies if needed. The United Ostomy Association of America has information on suppliers abroad.  This list includes ports of call for cruise ships.  It is a good idea to have a travel communications card when going through customs.  This card explains why you need pouches, ostomy supplies and medications as you pass through checkpoints.

Maintain your normal diet while traveling. It is tempting to eat and drink less to lower your output.  This is not recommended.  To ensure confidence and prevent leaks, change your pouching system right before departure.  During travel make sure you are staying hydrated.  Drinking plenty of fluids is important for any type of ostomy you may have.

Some air travel restrictions may not allow scissors or adhesive removers. Plan ahead for this by checking with your airline or pre-cutting your wafers.

Car travel and seat belts should not cause any problems with your ostomy. Ensure you are taking frequent stops to get out the car and stretch.  Try to not place your seat belt across you stoma.  Lower the angle of the seat belt to ensure proper fitting.  You can purchase optional accessories to make seat belts more comfortable.

When you travel this fall, you want to relax and enjoy yourself. Preparation before travel can lead to a very confident and enjoyable time.  What are some of your tips for traveling with an ostomy?

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