Dressing with an Ostomy: A Guide for Ladies (Part 3)

Welcome to part three of the lady’s guide to dressing with an ostomy!

In this part, I’ll be covering undergarments, intimacy wear, swimwear, and more!

Miss something or want to skip ahead?

PART 1: Intro, clothing accessories.

PART 2: Clothing options for everyday wear.

PART 3 (You are here): Clothing for intimacy, swimming, and more.

PART 4: Bonus tips, credit


Both men and women tend to be more self-conscious about their bodies after surgery.

We often become ashamed of our scars or the appliance we now have to wear, but this isn’t something you need to burden yourself with!

As these next few sections will show you, an ostomy doesn’t have to dampen your sexiness or comfort!

Intimacy / Lingerie / Undergarments

From sexy time to sexy all the time, there are a lot of ways to feel comfortable with next to no clothes on!

Alternative Ana products
The Canadian company Alternative Ana https://www.alternativeana.com/) has some beautiful undergarments.

While you can find ostomy undergarments and lingerie made for ostomates, there’s no harm in improvising.

Confidence is key, regardless of what you’re wearing, so love your body – scars, stoma and all!

Intimacy can be tough with your new sidekick, but some lingerie and an understanding partner can go a long way in bringing back your self-confidence.

Marcie F.
Women’s Briefs from Awestomy

These blue Women’s Brief ostomy underwear from the company Awestomy aren’t available anymore, but they do offer other colors and patterns. The Front Butt YouTuber is wearing them in this photo.

Ostomy Lingerie – Garter Belt

“I am wearing a thong, garter belt, and a bra (all generic brands) I rolled my bag up and tucked it into the thong. Another a trick I do for lower-cut bottoms is to trim an inch off the top of my wafer so I can fold down the top as well. This is probably something most will not be comfortable to do. However, I have never had a leakage by doing this. I pretty much do this all summer long for bikini season or when I am doing a shoot with lower-cut bottoms.” – Beth Belle Aire

Intimate Wear - Beth Belle Aire

Credit: Beth Belle Aire

Cotton Panty – Black

Amy is wearing cotton panties by OstomySecrets. OstomySecrets has several styles and colors of panties available. This style has an inner pocket to secure your pouch.

Ostomy Lingerie

“I had to replace the thongs with a fuller cut panty by Fruit of the Loom! My bag is rolled up and tucked in. Because I was just trying this out I didn’t trim off the top of my wafer. A high-waisted bottom can be used if scars are a bother.” – Beth Belle Aire

Ostomy Lingerie – Black

Beth Belle Aire is wearing lingerie by Rampage Intimates

Lingerie Example – Purple

PHOTO CREDIT: William Dyer (Used with permission)

“The purple lingerie gown does not have a brand on it either. But I think it makes a good example of something sexy with more coverage. Because the gown is see-through I chose to wear another pair of the Heavenly Shapewear high-waisted panties underneath.” – Beth Belle Aire

Polyester Panty – OstomySecrets

Amy is wearing panties by OstomySecrets. These also have an inner pocket to secure your pouch.

Ostomy Lingerie

Credit: Beth Belle Aire

TomboyX’s Bobbie Boxer Briefs are a lifesaver! They prevent chafing and let you be more active. With women’s underwear, chaffing was always a big problem until I discovered these.

Great everyday wear, super comfy, and unlike pouch cover belts, they won’t slip off the mark. Can even cycle comfortably in them!

Allison Oskin (Instagram @postmark.owl)

Info: For a guide on sex and intimacy when you’ve got an ostomy, check out THIS article and video.


Anything goes for sleepwear! From shorts to nightgowns, as long as you feel comfortable, go for it!

Tip: If you find that your pouch tugs when you’re sleeping, a support wrap can help you feel more secure.

2 Piece Pyjamas

“I always wear 2 piece with soft elastic waistband in pants or shorts.” – Amy


“My nightwear stayed the same although I found wearing ‘Nighties’ or Night Gowns after surgery much more comfortable on my wounds.” – Bethany Purnell


You can (and should) have fun at the beach or pool, so have a look at what these beautiful ladies wear, and see if something catches your eyes.

Harriet Williams whereismyostomy ASOS black bottom and animal print top bikini

Harriet is wearing ASOS Animal Print Skinny Crop Bikini Top and ASOS Crinkle High Leg Hipster Bikini Bottoms

Harriet Williams whereismyostomy ASOS Black top and bottom bikini

Harriet is wearing ASOS Mix and Match Crinkle Crop Bikini top and bottoms

Ostomy Swimwear example – Blue

“Ruching also helps conceal wrinkles and tummy pooching. This one is my favorite out of all my swimwear.” – Beth Belle Aire, wearing a swimsuit by Bisou Bisou.

Harriet Williams whereismyostomy ASOS white top and yellow bikini bottoms

Harriet is wearing ASOS Knot Minimal High Leg Hipster Bikini Bottoms with an ASOS Crochet Bandeau Bikini Top with Bunny Ties

One Piece Swimsuit – Laura

“The biggest wardrobe change for me was buying a one-piece bathing suit instead of my pre-ostomy regular bikini. I still have my 2 piece ready to rock, and I’m hoping I will feel comfortable and confident enough to don it on an upcoming trip to Thailand.” – Laura Zappulla

Bikini – Keely

Keely Wells is wearing a bikini by Asos.

Bikini in Jamaica – Marcie

“From a recent trip to Jamaica. I just said the hell with it and wore a bikini. No need to wear anything high-waisted. Some people looked but most didn’t even notice.” – Marcie F.

Ostomy Swimwear Example – Navy

“Sometimes you can buy the bottoms in a larger size than what you normally wear to be able to fit the entire appliance underneath.” – Beth Belle Aire

Swimwear Cover-Up

“Don’t forget there is always a cover-up. It helps to have a cover-up in case the bag balloons up from the stoma being active and you can’t get to a bathroom right away.” – Beth Belle Aire

Swimwear example – Cherries

“I myself prefer bikinis. My scar doesn’t bother me as much as the actual bag or even my tummy pooch. The best option for those is to find one with a skirt, like the cherry one.” – Beth Belle Aire

Swimwear Example – One Piece

“Of course one-pieces are one of the best options for ostomates because it covers the entire bag, no matter where your stoma sits, and all the scars. Prints also help conceal the wrinkles from the bag.” – Beth Belle Aire

Swimwear Example – Red

“Regular bikinis can also be worn for those with stomas below the navel. I look for bikinis with bottoms that are not itsy bitsy and can be pulled over my appliance and the bag rolled and tucked inside.” – Beth Belle Aire, wearing swimwear by Spirit Beach.

One Piece w/ Shorts

“This bathing suit is a one piece with high-waisted shorts.” – Karin Miller, wearing a bathing suit by Old Navy.

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Kahn of f-64.com

Swimwear Example – Pink Polka Dots

“The pink polka dot suit has ruffles along the top that helps hide the appliance a bit. I do trim down my wafer for this suit, as well for the next ones.” – Beth Belle Aire, wearing swimwear by Arizona Jeans Co.

One-piece: These can conceal your entire appliance while offering support at the same time. Amazon.com has quite a few one-piece swimsuits on sale.

High Cut: More revealing than a one-piece, high cut bottoms can also offer some concealment and pouch support. You can also find these on Amazon.com.

Bikini bottoms: These don’t allow for concealment, but don’t let that stop you from wearing them! I’ve seen some ladies wear pouch covers, while others choose to let their bag hang out.

Do what makes YOU feel most comfortable.

My friend Stephanie, from The Stolen Colon, has a great video and article on options for swimwear. You can watch her video below, or check out your article HERE.

You can still feel good wearing a swimsuit with an ostomy!

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Just because you have a stoma, doesn’t mean you can’t be active! I’ve seen so many lady ostomates achieve some pretty amazing physical feats; from running marathons to body building, they aren’t slowed down by their appliance (and neither should you!).

Here are some examples of athletic wear, but keep in mind that if you play contact sports or expect strikes to your stoma, you may want to consider wearing a stoma guard under your clothes.

The most common options tend to be high waisted gym pants or yoga pants, which can be found nearly anywhere

High-Waisted Gym Pants – Keely

Keely Wells is wearing gym pants by Man.Up Gymwear.

Hiking Apparel – Karin

“For hiking, I had on an Ostomysecrets wrap under my pants, and they were kind of like yoga pants, but not quite as tight.” – Karin Miller

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Kahn of f-64.com

High Gym Pants – Keely

“High gym pants from Lululemon.(Have got 3 pairs all different patterns and colors) they are literally one of the best investments I ever made with my ileostomy.” – Keely Wells

Running Shorts

“One piece running shorts (by Athletica) with built In longer shorts which hold things in place.” – Amy

Purple Gym Pants – Keely

“Lovvee these pants!” – Keely Wells

Maternity Wear

I wore a lot of leggings with oversized shirts/sweaters because I was pregnant in the fall and winter. Maternity clothes were awesome at hiding my ostomy because they have a lot of prints and the attention is drawn away from the ostomy and more towards your belly. I think my biggest concern was random strangers touching my stomach but I wore a lot of open cardigans on top of my clothes and kept my hands on my stomach in public so other people wouldn’t.

Colleen Zavodny

If you’d like to contribute photos or tips to this section, please contact me.

Feeling Good Yet?

Not much needs to be said here! There are so many confident, beautiful women who won’t let their appliance get in the way of feeling sexy!

While it can be hard at first to bare more skin after surgery, but know that you can do it!

In part four you’ll hear what these ladies have to say about their appliance as they share more tips and advice to dressing up (or down) with an ostomy!

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1 year ago

A tip I thought of since the hernia belt was not comfortable For me. Went in my drawer and I had quite a few Spanx pieces that I forgot about…tried the high waist panty one on and wal la a perfect fit and plenty of support !! Just saying….

1 year ago

Exactly! Here in Northern Ireland being searched was a part of every day life when I first had the bag. I was amazed at how many times it wasn’t found 😃

1 year ago

Hi Dawn, when we look down we see the bag in a different way than people view it. I bet it’s not noticeable to anyone around. 👍

1 year ago
Reply to  john68

@john68Also, we know exactly what we’re looking for, so we see it immediately.  Most people aren’t searching for a pouch when they look at us, so I bet they would be hard pressed to find it even if you asked them to.  

Dawn Jungewaelter
Dawn Jungewaelter
1 year ago

My biggest concern is getting the ostomy bag wet? Also I can wear a pair of leggings and the look good feel good but boy oh boy when I have a bowl movement it starts to stick out like a sore thumb and I feel awful, disgusting, and embarrassed

1 year ago

@Dawn JungewaelterHi Dawn.  I’ve often thought that it is so weird that we can have bowel movements at any time.  I laugh to myself when I am talking to someone and feel output coming out of my stoma.  I almost want to say, “Hey guess what? I’m pooping.”  It is a strange feeling to be sure.  I do understand your concern, but I hope you don’t beat yourself up too much.    Maybe we should just picture everyone pooping.  That should take the edge off.  😆 Take care.Glenn 

1 year ago
Reply to  glenn.giroir

Posted by: I almost want to say, “Hey guess what? I’m pooping.”  It is a strange feeling to be sure.  

Glenn,I had a home health nurse for about 10 1/2 months after surgery coming 3 times a week to change the wound vacuum pump dressing. Sometimes she would bring a trainee with her and she would often have them watch and do the charting while she did the dressing change. One of the nurses with her was asking me the standard questions while I was lying there on the bed with my tummy exposed and she asked when was my last bowel movement. My nurse Anna and I just chuckled and I told her “probably right now”. 🤣

1 year ago
Reply to  SqueakyandLiza

One of the nurses with her was asking me the standard questions while I was lying there on the bed with my tummy exposed and she asked when was my last bowel movement. My nurse Anna and I just chuckled and I told her “probably right now”. 🤣

You should have answered, “yes.”

1 year ago

Posted by: @Dawn Jungewaelter Also I can wear a pair of leggings and the look good feel good but boy oh boy when I have a bowl movement it starts to stick out like a sore thumb and I feel awful, disgusting, and embarrassed

Hi Dawn. It probably isn’t as noticeable as you think, but I was feeling the same way, so I have just started wearing longer and looser tops. It is amazing what a wonder it has done for my confidence about being out in public with my ostomy. Good luck to you!!

Margaret Johnson
Margaret Johnson
3 years ago

I have a ureterostomy and I’m afraid of restricting the flow of urine..then leaking.