Having a stoma doesn’t restrict you from navigating and exploring the world. However, there are some individuals, who have recently gone through colostomy surgery and are scared of traveling abroad with their stoma. Traveling is indeed a transformative experience that opens up new horizons, therefore, you can fly across the world with your colostomy bag but you need to make certain preparations for it.
Can you Travel Abroad with a Colostomy Bag?
In this informative article, we will share some traveling preparation plans as well as some travel tips that will uplift your traveling experience with Stoma. Here you go!
PREPARING FOR THE JOURNEY!
Traveling abroad requires lots of forward planning. You need to imagine your every day and keep your things as per the requirements of your travel duration. Here is the checklist that you have to check before reaching your destination:
Research Destination Facilities:
Research the medical facilities at your travel destination. Identify hospitals or clinics that are equipped to handle colostomy-related issues. Having this information in advance can provide peace of mind and a plan of action in case of emergencies during your visit.
Read More: Loop colostomy but still pooping
Visit your Physician:
Before traveling abroad, first and the foremost thing that you have to do is to meet your General physician and stoma nurse. Keeping in mind your stoma health and your health condition, they will recommend you whether it is safe to travel or not. And if not, then they will guide you properly on how can you travel without deteriorating your stoma.
Related: How to fix a leaking colostomy bag
Keep all your ostomy essentials in a small bag:
Once your GP has shown you a green card, you are good to travel abroad. Now it is time for some packing. While packing your ostomy essentials, make sure to keep them in any easily accessible bag like a handbag, backpack, or a small hand-carry that you will keep with you during traveling. Following is the list of supplies that you need to pack:
Extra Colostomy bag—nobody likes dreadful surprises. To avoid this, keep extra stoma bags with you of different sizes. We would advise using drainable bags during traveling.
- Stoma rings or seal
- Wet wipes
- Small clean towel
- 3 to 4 extra paper bags or nappy bags for disposal
- ostomy deodorizers
RADAR key: A valuable tool, especially when traveling in the UK, providing access to over 10,000 secured disabled toilets nationwide. This allows you to comfortably check and adjust your colostomy equipment with ease.
Above mentioned list of items should be kept in an easily accessible bag. Where as, you should also have spare stoma essentials in your other luggage. In case you lost your handbag, you can have your stoma essentials from your luggage.
Keep your medications:
Medications such as anti-fungal cream, cream for rash, ORS sachets, rehydration tablets, and your prescribed medication should be kept in your bag. If you are traveling by air, don’t forget to keep the prescription of all medications. In some cases, you might need a letter from your general physician about controlled substance medications.
Read More: How does a paralyzed person poop
Keep your stoma travel card:
Ask your general physician or stoma nurse to make you a stoma travel card or certificate. Keep it near to you to avoid explaining things to security staff.
Book your seat near the toilet:
Once you are done with packing and all, it’s time for your seating point. As an ostomate, your seating point should be near the toilet. The reason is, in case of any unplanned emergency you can easily rush to the toilet. Of course, you don’t want people to notice your colostomy bag like a pufferfish.
Maintain your hydration status:
Ostomates dehydrate quickly and to meet this situation drink plenty of water. You can keep ORS water with you to keep you hydrated throughout the journey. If you are traveling to any destination that is warm and sunny, then you must consume water in more than the usual quantity.
Read More: Do Colostomy Bags Smell So Bad?
Prior to traveling, eat wisely. Avoid foods that may cause bloating or diarrhea. Avoid any food that may upset your stomach. Remember, be mindful of your eating to avoid any unforeseen situation.
PRO TIPS TO TRAVEL WITH STOMA BY AIR:
- Make sure you get travel insurance that covers your health condition. If you might need medical treatment while abroad, like dialysis, plan for it in advance. Tell your travel insurance company about your health conditions, including your stoma, so they can give you the right kind of coverage. You can carry the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) or GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) if traveling abroad.
- Prior to the trip, keep some pre-cutted flanges as scissors or any sharp items are not allowed in flight.
- Avoid drinking carbonated beverages as they will contribute to gas formation. People eat chewing gums to prevent plugged ears also increases gas formation.
- Use an ostomy belt that provides additional support to your pouching system
- If you irrigate while traveling abroad, be sure to use bottled water to prevent the risk of infection.
PRO TIPS TO TRAVEL WITH STOMA BY TRAIN:
Choose a seat close to a toilet that you can easily use: Many trains in the UK have accessible toilets with helpful features like hooks, shelves, and bins for managing your stoma bag.
Book-assisted train travel in the UK through Passenger Assistance: This service can make your journey smoother by helping you through crowded spaces and ensuring you reach your destination without any hassles.
In conclusion, don’t let having a stoma hold you back from exploring the world. Traveling with a colostomy bag is absolutely possible with the right preparations. Remember, the key is careful planning and considering your unique needs. By researching medical facilities, consulting with your healthcare team, packing wisely, and following some pro tips, you can embark on your journey with confidence. So, go ahead, plan that adventure, and enjoy the transformative experience of traveling the world with your colostomy! Safe travels!