Want to cycle with a stoma? Read this

Cycling was the first proper cardio I took up when I decided I needed to get fit and lose weight. I was 3 years post ostomy, and 2 years post fistula surgery, and all I had managed was some walks. I wanted to try something which was not water based, and which could both support my weight and give me an opportunity to rest in the middle of a session if I needed to. A stationary bike was the perfect solution. I saw a group class advertised, and decided to take the plunge. It cost £5 for the hour, and by committing to 2-3 sessions a week I knew that I wouldn’t want to lose my money. Those years I spent in Yorkshire had a lasting effect on me in more ways than one! That, together with my weight, and lack of fitness, were strong motivations to keep going.

I will list the common concerns ostomates have when approaching cycling, and most, if not all, were my concerns too.

1. Will my bag get squashed by my leaning over body position?

I can only really answer this question based on my own body shape, but I was several stone overweight when I first started indoor cycling, and although my bag felt strange resting on the top of my thigh, it didn’t get squashed. No extra air was squeezed out, and it didn’t cause the bag to leak.

2. If my bag fills with air/poo will it be uncomfortable

The answer to this is a yes I’m afraid! For me especially, when the bag balloons up with wind, it is very uncomfortable, and can create problems with the top of your thigh constantly brushing against the bag, which can in turn create problems when you are trying to cycle up a hill.

3. Can I take extra bag supplies with me on my bike?

Yes you can! You can take a supply of bags, sprays and whatever else you need, in a bike bag attached to the top of your bike.

4. Will my bag rub against me when I am cycling?

Yes, but you can buy chamois cream for this – more on this below.

5. Will my bag activate if I eat when cycling?

This depends on what you have eaten really. A lot of energy bars contain oats and nuts, which can both give me either wind or cause my bag to activate. But no more than what would usually happen.

6. Will the cycle shorts pull on my bag?

Some types are better than others, more on this below.

7. What if I need to empty my bag when I am out cycling?

This comes down to where you are basically! If you can make it into a wooded area you can scuff out a hole with your shoe and empty it into there. Or if you need to change the bag you can go behind a tree, and if necessary take the bag with you in a sealed bag inside your cycle bag.

8. If I fall off and land on my stoma will it be damaged?