top of page

Practical advice on Diving with a Stoma

Scuba Diving with an Ostomy

Scuba diving was not something I had done before I had my colostomy, but as my husband works as a commercial diver, it was something I had always wanted to try. I was devastated after my surgery to be told by the stoma nurse and colorectal team that it might not be a good idea to try and dive with a stoma due to the pressure – and then when I googled it, I couldn’t find ANYONE who had dived with a stoma.

A few years passed, and I heard about a local GP who was very supportive of people with stomas living an active life. I asked him whether he thought I could dive with a stoma, and as he didn’t foresee any issues, I decided to take the literal plunge and book a PADI course (in the UK this is the standard starter course).

What special steps did I have to take to dive with an ostomy?

1. Contact Dive Centre. After I got the go ahead from the GP, I contacted the dive centre and asked if they had any experience of training/diving with someone who had an ostomy. As expected, they hadn’t! So, I was a guinea pig.

2. Medical Questionnaire. For all “extreme” pursuits such as diving, you have to fill in a medical questionnaire, and if you tick “yes” to any box then you require a doctor’s certificate in order to continue. The Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC) provide the medical questionnaire which you have to complete, and one of the questions specifically asked is “Do you have a colostomy or illestomy”? I presume they’d also want to know if you had a urostomy!