Living with an Ostomy during COVID-19

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has significantly impacted the lives of individuals all over the world. For those living with an ostomy, this situation can bring about additional challenges and concerns. In this article, we will discuss the various aspects of living with an ostomy during these challenging times and how to navigate through them.

Understanding Ostomies

An ostomy is a surgical procedure that creates an opening in the body for the elimination of waste products from the digestive or urinary system. This can be either temporary or permanent and can involve different parts of the body, such as the abdomen, small intestine, bladder (for Urostomy) or colon.

Individuals who have undergone an ostomy surgery may need to use special medical equipment, such as an ostomy pouching system, to collect stool or urine. This can significantly impact their daily routine and require additional care and attention.

Challenges Faced by those who are living with an ostomy during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique set of challenges for individuals living with an ostomy.  Some of the general challenges include:

  • Limited access to medical supplies: Due to the high demand for medical supplies, individuals with ostomies may have difficulty in obtaining essential items such as ostomy bags, pouches, and other equipment.
  • Disruption of medical appointments: Many healthcare facilities are currently overwhelmed with managing COVID-19 cases. As a result, routine check-ups or follow-up appointments for ostomy care may be postponed or canceled.
  • Anxiety and stress: The uncertainty and fear surrounding the pandemic can take a toll on mental health, making it challenging for those living with an ostomy to cope with their condition.
  • Difficulty in accessing support networks: With social distancing measures in place, individuals may not be able to access support groups or connect with others who understand their situation.

Precautions for those who are living with an ostomy during COVID-19

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect their health, individuals living with an ostomy should take the following precautions:

  • Wash hands regularly: Regularly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water can help prevent the transmission of the virus.
  • Practice good hygiene: Keep the skin around your stoma clean and dry to avoid irritation or infection.
  • Stock up on supplies: It is essential to have an adequate supply of medical equipment, such as ostomy bags and pouches, to last for at least a few weeks in case of shortages, keeping in mind, your provincial rules concerning ordering more products than usual and product return policies. 
  • Follow social distancing guidelines: As individuals with ostomies may be considered high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19, it is crucial to follow social distancing measures and avoid unnecessary outings.
  • Stay informed: Keep yourself updated with the latest information and guidelines from reliable sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and your healthcare provider.

Seeking Help

During these challenging times, it is crucial for individuals with ostomies to seek help if needed. This can include reaching out to family and friends for support or connecting with virtual support groups. It is also essential to stay in touch with your healthcare team and notify them if you experience any changes in your condition or require assistance. Many groups offered online meetings to provide support. Ostomy canada provides webinars to learn in the comfort of your home.

COVID-19 Tests and Ostomies

Individuals with ostomies may have concerns about undergoing COVID-19 tests, especially if the test involves a rectal swab. In such cases, it is essential to communicate with the healthcare provider performing the test and inform them about your ostomy. They can provide alternative testing methods that are more comfortable for you.


Living with an ostomy during COVID-19 can bring about various challenges, but it is essential to remember that you are not alone. By taking necessary precautions, seeking help when needed, and staying informed, individuals with ostomies can continue to lead a fulfilling and healthy life during these uncertain times. Remember to stay positive, take care of your physical and mental well-being, and reach out for support if needed. Let us all continue supporting each other as we navigate through this global crisis together. Stay safe! The end – is just the beginning of a new normal.

Physical activity is essential for overall health and well-being. However, it can be daunting for individuals with ostomies during COVID-19 due to limited access to outdoor activities or fitness facilities. Here are some tips for staying active while staying safe:

  • Take walks: Walking is a low-impact cardiovascular exercise that can be done indoors or outdoors, depending on your comfort level.
  • Try at-home workouts: There are various online resources available for home workouts, such as yoga, Pilates, and bodyweight exercises.
  • Engage in hobbies: Pursuing a hobby that involves physical activity, such as gardening or dancing, can be a fun and productive way to stay active.

It is also essential to maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated to support a healthy immune system. Consult with your healthcare provider for any specific dietary recommendations based on your ostomy type and medical condition. By staying physically active and maintaining a nutritious diet, individuals can also manage stress levels and improve their mental well-being during these challenging times.