I got this email the other day from Julia.
“I have UC for 4 years. I have tried all the medications you can think of. I had the surgery for an ileostomy feb. 2010. I had the 3 step surgery and got reconnected in nov 2010. Jan 2011 I started to get fistulas on my butt. The surgeons tried C-tons and countless other procedures. I got reverted to have the ileostomy again in march 2011. The doctors thought the fistulas would clear but they didn’t. Going in and out of he hospital i had enough. So just 2 weeks ago i got my pouch removed and now have a permanent ostomy. All this and I just turned 16 in Jan. I thought Id tell my story because this is really the only blog i could find about UC. I do have a question. I really want to wear a bikini in the summer. Any ways to hide the bag and still do that?”
Before I answered her, I made sure to write her and tell her how awesome I think she is for being a wee babe of only 16, choosing to have a permanent ostomy and being ready to rock it out in a bikini.
So there are a few suggestions that I have. I did this post a few months back about a woman that I found on Etsy who did custom bathing suits that were high waisted and kinda of a retro styling. I LOVED this bathing suit, and her site enabled you to mix and match tops and fabrics and its all custom to fit you. Her prices were TOTALLY reasonable too. If you want to wear a bikini, a high waist is a really solid option, and luckily these retro styled suits are pretty “in” right now. High waist bathing suits are no longer reserved for moms.
There is also the tankini option, but thats not the same if you’re looking for a bikini.
The other option I like requires more confidence…but its still a great option. Maggie from Let’s Talk IBD, did a video about how she wears stoma caps, covers them in fun duct tape and just rocks it out. If I still had a stoma this would be the way I would choose. Yes, people can see that there is something in your stomach, but it doesn’t look like an ostomy bag, and its kind of fun. This method does require a 2 piece appliance. I have linked to this video by Maggie in the above post, and there is also a video from Dennis at the UCVlog.com about what he did for swimming. I also put in this post some of my other tips about swimming with an ostomy in there too.
You can find swim wear specifically for ostomies at Vanilla Blush a company from the UK. I have not used their stuff because I was NOT in bikini shape when I had my ostomy.
One other option is this swim wrap from Ostomy Secrets. You could use this with any suit you already have.
I hope that people with ostomies aren’t afraid of swimming. I really hope that you all see that not only can you still swim, but its not that big of a deal. I hope you ladies wear your bikinis with your bag out. I hope you guys are proud of your ostomies, and don’t let it hold you back from something as basic as swimming. Its your life. Live it!