Returning to Work with an Ostomy


Returning to Work with an Ostomy

Last updated 28/10/20

From industrial jobs to the classroom, from long shifts at the hospital to dancers – and all workplaces in between – people living with an ostomy are successfully returning to work following ostomy surgery. These tips may help you return to the workplace with more confidence and less anxiety.


Be prepared

Pack a bag with the items you need for a full change of pouching system and a change of clothes. You may not need your “emergency kit” at all, but it can offer peace of mind knowing that it is at the ready.


Pack your water bottle and stay hydrated

Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to improve your health and well-being. Learn more about hydration with an ostomy.


Worried about emptying your pouch in public?

Create a buffer with a layer of toilet paper in the toilet bowl to avoid splashing when emptying your pouch. Some people also include toilet deodorizing products in their ostomy supply kits.


Dress comfortably

Do not worry that others will notice the pouching system through your clothes. Having an ostomy may seem very noticeable to you, but it is rarely noticed by others.


Consider starting back to work on a Thursday

This will allow you to ease back in with a short work week. You will be able to rest over the weekend before taking on a full week of work.


Think about what facilities are available in your work restroom and plan accordingly

If no paper towels are available, have pre-moistened paper towels in zip lock plastic bags or moisturizer-free wipes. Try to think of how to accomplish a pouch change in that setting if needed.

Take breaks

It is easy to get wrapped up in the task at hand but allow yourself time to empty your pouch.


Don’t try out new products or foods right before going back to work

Save testing new products or diet changes for the comfort of home.