My Exercise Post Op After Stoma Surgery

So exercise post op for me, has been daunting.  I’ve always been a pretty active person up until April last year.My gym membership ended. I had a slight flare in April and threw in the towel due to being put back on steroids. It’s a never ending battle to claim my body as my own.

Prior to my membership coming to an end, I was averaging 6-8 hours a week doing spin, chakra and boxercise along with intensive outdoor training on a Friday. Yes, I used to crawl the 30 minutes back home. I maintained my size 12 figure along with two massive hernias. My consultants hadnt informed me about support wear at this time.

bench press

When I decided to bench press my boyfriend with my legs

All the fun started once I was put back on steroids. I went from my healthy 11 stone to 14 stone on my pre-operation assesment. In June I thought I’d be clever and try and bench press my partner with my legs. A bad idea we both physically heard what can only be described as a rather loud pop. Cue me in agony at A&E two days later, 48 hours later we discovered I had actually torn scar tissue in my lower abdomen and I was laid up in bed for week popping pain killers. Lesson learnt from that one, don’t bench press your partner with your legs.

 Exercise post op

So after stoma surgery and two hernia repairs I’ve been a massive wuss and reluctant to go back to the gym as worried about my ileostomy as I don’t have an off switch and get quite obsessive. So since Christmas, I’ve been averaging 30 miles a week walking.

As of this march I have decided to go back to water aerobics as I can’t hurt myself doing this. Also paid a ridiculous amount of money for Vanilla Blush swimsuit to support my stoma, So hopefully the bag stays stuck and where its meant to. With my first stoma I didn’t go swimming for 3 years due to a certain person telling me that people dont want to see that and they will just make fun of me and its not the done thing.

So here it goes my first attempt at water aerobics post-op.

Water Aerobics

Ive been procrastinating about going back to some form of exercise since February as was worried about other peoples views. So here I am at 7pm in my swim suit. I have to admit my stoma bag is feeling rather secure without my base plate belt. I leave home and do the 20 minute walk in the dark through my town to the local swimming pool.

Vanilla Blush

Vanilla Blush swim suit , well worth the investment

I pay my entrance fee and proceed to the changing rooms, Put my stuff in a locker and brave the shower next to the pool. I cant believe how many women are here to do the class. There was at least 25 including me and I felt rather safe in the knowledge that no one is going to take notice of little old me.  So the instructor gets the music going and starts the warm up, its going well this I can handle.

30 minutes in and I swear Im at the most hard core aerobics class ever, there was certain things that I struggled to do and that was mainly the sit ups in the water purely because I could feel it and was worried it was going to compromise my bag.

1hr later and Im feeling pretty happy with myself. Ive managed an hour in a swimming pool doing exercise and my neurotic fear of my stoma bag sliding off is no more, she stayed put and all is well.

The facilities to get changed and shower in this place are brilliant. They have family changing rooms with showers in them so it was very easy for me to shower and change my stoma bag in privacy.

So overall thoughts on this for me are dont be afraid to try something new or go back to your old routine prior to stoma surgery. For all of us the stoma was either a life saving change or to make your life easier and better. Don’t let having a stoma dominate your every day life. Always do what makes you happy regardless of what other people may say and do.

Theres some fantastic support groups out there specifically for people with stomas that are athletic and really into sport and exercise. If you have worrys about exercise after surgery then consult your doctor and stoma nurse as they will advise of correct stoma support and that its absolutely fine to do so.

I’m elated and proud of myself for braving the exercise world, However I’m rather sore this morning and going to go on my walking adventures as the sun is out to play.

I’m also doing the 5km walk for Crohns & Colitis uk in June so please help sponsor me and donate money to this fantastic charity who are trying to raise funds to treat IBD and fund finding a cure.

If you have a stoma what exercise works for you? Pop a comment in the box below .

2 Comments
  1. This is a great post for newbies after Stoma surgery if I’d have read this when I first had my surgery it would have inspired me. As it goes I’m 10 months post op and got back into the gym in Nov 2016 after 6 weeks building core strength I was allowed to go nuts and do whatever I want, so now I’m currently doing gym 3 times a week, box fit, Zumba twice a week and swimming, have tried spin but found my support vest would ride up so giving that a miss, returning to circuits this week which I’m looking forward to,
    Swimming I was worried about you don’t need very expensive swimsuits to do the job, I brought a swim dress from matalan and it’s perfect support and does the job of hiding my bag, top tip for anyone getting back into the gym after Stoma surgery, support vests are a must and if it hurts STOP ✋ good luck to anyone getting back to exercise and thank you for your post. Xx

    • Thank you ever so much for your response and kind words. I was worried about getting back into exercise, once I’ve built myself back up I’m aiming at getting back into the gym dependant on how my stoma behaves.
      Many Thanks
      Louise xx

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