Cycling With a Stoma
Cycling is a great form of exercise that allows you to work out at an intensity that’s right for you. After stoma surgery, it’s a good idea to check with your healthcare professional or STN before you begin exercising.
Below are some tips to consider when your cycling:
Building your confidence:
- Try cycling around your nearest park or quiet local roads to initially to get comfortable and build confidence
- Know where your nearest toilets are to give you peace of mind
- You might want to cycle with a friend or family member to help you stay motivated
- If you prefer to exercise indoors, use a stationary exercise bike at home or at the gym
For comfort whilst riding:
- Try to put your baseplate on at least an hour before you exercise to allow it to properly adhere to your body as perspiration can affect the adhesive
- If the bag moves around too much for your liking, try fitted cycling shorts to prevent the bag from moving around too much and potentially causing chafing
- Shorts should be tight enough to hold the bag in place but stretchy enough to allow the bag to fill
- If shorts are too tight however, this may cause ‘pancaking’ where output collects around the baseplate and may cause leakage
If you have undergone surgery to remove the rectum or anus:
- Allow yourself time to heal following surgery
- Experiment with different cycling shorts or saddles to get comfortable and minimise any risk of pain
If you have an ileostomy:
- You may lose more fluid than usual through your stoma, so its especially important to stay hydrated
- Ensure your bike has a convenient place to store a drink, or for longer rides far from home, hydration backpacks can be useful for easy storage and access to larger quantities of water
- Ensure you carry additional stoma supplies if you are going to be out for long or far from home
As with any activity after surgery, it’s important to start with a gentle cycle and build up the distance, time and intensity of your cycling slowly. If you feel pain, stop cycling and get advice from a healthcare professional or STN.
Though you should take care to begin with, your stoma shouldn’t stop you from enjoying cycling.