Living and supporting life with stoma
While you are travelling, you may feel uncomfortable about unexpected leaks or having to change the stoma appliances in places you are not used to.
Also, you never know when disasters occur. Always be aware and prepared for emergencies so stoma users don’t get into too much trouble.
- Always carry around an extra appliance set so you can handle unwanted troubles such as leakage.
- When you go out, check where the public restrooms are or if there are any restrooms in department stores, public facilities, convenience stores, etc. where you can use.
- ”Accessible restrooms” (called tamokuteki toire or “multipurpose toilet” in Japan) are made to facilitate replacing or emptying the stoma bags. You will find one in many public facilities nowadays. It will be of your convenience if you can find one when you go out.
Stoma user mark
I recently see this mark but … what does it mean?
“That mark is for stoma users!”
“They have an outlet on their belly like me to evacuate the wastes, because they had to remove the anus due to diseases like colon cancer, etc.”
“This is called a stoma (artificial anus/bladder)”
“You can’t go to the bathroom from your bottom? Sounds hard...”
“It’s OK once you get used to it!”
“The bowel movement can't be controlled, so we wear a bag like this called stoma bag.”
“When the bag gets filled, I empty the bag like this. I can do this in any toilet too.”
“So the toilet paper besides the sink was for that purpose!”
Please learn about stoma may it be little by little.
Precaution when travelling on airplane
- You might use more bags than usual because you will have to change the appliance in an unfamiliar situation or due to the change in your cycle, so always bring 1 set extra than the amount you expect to change during the travel.
- You would be safer if you research in advance if there is anywhere you can get the appliances you need in your destination.
- You can’t bring scissors on board. If you are using cut-to-fit type face plate, don't forget to cut it before you get on board.
- If you are checking in the luggage, keep 1 set with you on board.
- Up in the air, the air pressure is lower, so the stoma bag may get bloated.
Tips you can use when you get on the plane
Yoshiko-san is getting prepared for travelling overseas
“I can’t bring my scissors on board, so I will have to precut my faceplate”
You can’t bring scissors on board.
Don't forget to cut your faceplate before you get on board.
“I will carry an extra stoma bag as carry-on luggage just in case my suitcase gets lost. Also, I can’t bring liquids so, some simplified care items”
It is recommended that you take onboard, five to six extra stoma appliances, pocketable wet wipes, wipes, and wipe-off cleansers.
“The bag of snacks is bloated!”
“So maybe my stoma bag too?”
“This is what the nurse had told me about the bag ballooning when the air pressure lowers.”
As the airplane ascends and the air pressure lowers, the air in the bag will expand.
Occasionally remove the gas from the bag.
”It should be fine if I remove the gas now and then.”
If you take a bit extra care like Yoshiko-san, the stoma bag will not stop you from travelling overseas.
- Empty the stoma bag before getting on board.
- Use a stoma bag with deodorizing filter if you have colostomy/ ileostomy.
- For products that does not come with a filter, attach an optional filter before getting on the plane.
- During the flight, avoid food and beverages that might give gas.
Precautions when travelling overseas
- The toilet situations are very different depending on the country you visit. Check in advance how the toilets are in your destination and prepare accordingly.
- When travelling abroad, lost baggage is a problem that often occurs. Therefore, do not place all the appliances in the suitcase, but have some in different places. If possible, ask your fellow traveler to carry some extra too.
- Your condition is prone to be unstable when travelling due to jet lag and different food. Take with you the doctor’s note in the language of your destination and some conversation book to help you in case you need to see a doctor while you are travelling.
- When conducting irrigations overseas, use drinking water. There might be cases where it is difficult to conduct irrigation while you are travelling. It will be a good idea to get used to natural evacuation before you travel.
- You may not be able to acquire the same appliances as you use in Japan. It will be safer if you research in advance where you can get the appliances you need, just in case you run out of any necessary items. The manufacturer will be able to help you find a distributor.