Can I go cycling with a stoma?

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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 before you begin exercising.

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 before you begin exercising.

Lots of people use a bike to travel to work, school or for other journeys. You might not be ready to replace your usual commute, but you can try cycling in a country park or on quiet, local roads. Knowing where your nearest toilets are will give you peace of mind. You can stay close to home at first or visit a park with toilet facilities. You might feel more confident if you cycle with a friend or family member, and exercising with others might also help you to stay motivated. If you prefer to exercise indoors, you can use a stationary exercise bike at a gym or at home.

When you exercise, the perspiration can affect the adhesive on your baseplate. Try to put on your baseplate at least an hour before you start exercising to allow it to properly adhere to your skin. If your bag touches your leg, the pedalling motion might cause chafing on a long bike ride. Tight fitting cycling shorts should stop the pouch from moving around. If cycling shorts are too tight, however, they can cause ‘pancaking’. This happens when the pouch is flat and can’t inflate. In a two-piece system, ‘pancaking’ can cause output to collect around the baseplate or leak between the baseplate and pouch. Ideally, cycling shorts should be tight enough to hold a bag in place but should be stretchy and allow the bag to fill.

Some stoma bag wearers may also have undergone surgery to remove the rectum or anus. If you have had this type of surgery, it is possible to enjoy cycling, but you should allow yourself enough time to heal from your operation. You can experiment with different cycling shorts and saddles until you find the right products for you, and minimise the risk of pain by building the time you spend cycling gradually.

If you have an ileostomy, you may lose more fluid than usual through your stoma. It’s therefore especially important to stay hydrated. A bottle cage which attaches to your bike will give you somewhere convenient to store a drink. If you’re planning on completing a longer cycle or travelling far from home, it might be necessary to carry spare stoma supplies. A small backpack will provide somewhere practical to store your supplies while you’re out on a ride. Hydration backpacks can be useful because they provide easy access to water while you’re cycling, as well as somewhere to store your spare supplies.

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. Though you should take care to begin with, your stoma shouldn’t stop you from enjoying cycling.

Be active with confidence

To feel comfortable taking part in any kind of activity requires a bag you can trust. You need to be confident that your bag won’t leak, come off or chafe.

You might not realise, but there is a wide range of different bag solutions available to you. ConvaTec Mouldable Technology™ is especially useful for those who want to be active. The secure baseplate moulds to the shape of your stoma as your body moves, helping you to retain a snug fit.

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For more help and advice, contact our Nurse Advisor Line on 0800 085 2516 (UK) or 1800 818 988 (Republic of Ireland).

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