Dressing with an Ostomy: A Clothing Guide for Women

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You are lucky to be a lady! Smart, strong, beautiful, and you’ve got a heck of a lot of clothing options!

This four part guide will give you ideas on how to dress with an ostomy. It will also inspire you!


Want to skip ahead?


Intro

This guide has been made possible by the generosity of over a dozen women, who not only sent in their photos, but provided tips as well.

I have listed contributors at the end of this guide (part four), along with their contact links.

To those ladies who have helped me on this project – this post is dedicated to you!Lots of love, Eric
My men’s guide to dressing with an ostomy can be found HERE.

Disclaimer: I’ll be mentioning many brands in this guide, but they have only been included for your convenience. NONE have been added because of sponsorship or paid endorsement.

While many ladies can certainly wear their favorite clothes without too much trouble, there are a few useful options that can come in handy in certain situations. None of these are necessary for an ostomate, but they can improve your quality of life.

Stoma Guards

If you have a stoma that’s at or near your belt line, you might find that a stoma guard can come in handy with certain outfits.

In addition, they are extremely useful for protecting your stoma during sport, seat belts or unexpected impact (like from kids or pets).

Because stoma guards come in many shapes and sizes, not all will be suitable for wearing under light clothing, so it’s important to do some research and ask questions before ordering one. I’ve put together many reviews, including ones for stoma guards, which you can find HERE.

StomaShield_StomaDome_OstomyResolutions guard
Left: StomaShield; Top: Ostomy Resolutions Guard; Bottom: StomaDome

An alternative to guards, which has been designed specifically to help wear your appliance under clothing, is the StomaTuck.  The StomaTuck clips onto your waistband and helps to give space for your appliance. My review can be found HERE.

StomaTuck Front w appliance Veganostomy
The StomaTuck attaches to your waistband.

Support Garments

Offering more support than wraps or bands, support garments are often custom made to each ostomate’s requirement.

These can include products like the Stealth Belt or the “Eh-Ok” products, both of which I’ve reviewed. There are other products available, but they may only be sold in certain countries.

Ostomy garment EH OK front
EH OK garment by Joeies

Ostomy Support Wraps and Bands

I’m a big fan of ostomy wraps, not only because of their simplicity but because they do a great job supporting and concealing an ostomy appliance.

One of the things that was really good for me as an ostomate was the OstomySecrets wraps. The first one I got was the Intimacy Wrap. I loved that it kept my bag close to me. It was so comfortable, that I bought 3 regular wraps (black, white and beige). Not only do they keep your bag secure and close to you, but they also have pockets on the inside for you to tuck your bag into them! Also, they are way more comfortable than those dinky little belts the hospital gives you.Colitis Ninja
Ostomy Wrap - Colitis Ninja
Ostomy Wrap – Colitis Ninja
Details
Wearing a wrap by OstomySecrets.
“One of the things that was really good for me as an ostomate was the OstomySecrets wraps. The first one I got was the Intimacy Wrap. I loved that it kept my bag close to me. It was so comfortable, that I bought 3 regular wraps (black, white and beige). Not only do they keep your bag secure and close to you, but they also have pockets on the inside for you to tuck your bag into them! Also, they are way more comfortable than those dinky little belts the hospital gives you.” – Colitis Ninja
Maternity trousers w/ wrap
Maternity trousers w/ wrap.
Details
Sue Hill is wearing Comfizz wrap underneath the built-in band for extra support.
Ostomy intimacy wrap Colitis Ninja (Medium)
Colitis Ninja wearing an intimacy wrap.
Details
Wearing: Intimacy Wrap by OstomySecrets.
From the Ostomy Secrets website:“Made for intimate moments. Slip it on when the moment is right. The Ruched front panel and inner pocket conceals the bag with no visible bulge.”

Note: This photo was taken after an ostomy reversal, but the concealment would be the same if you put this wrap on after emptying your pouch.

Ostomy Wrap - Amy
Ostomy Wrap – Amy
Details
Amy wearing a wrap by OstomySecrets
Maternity Band under Skirt – Karin
Maternity Band under Skirt – Karin
Details
Close up of how Karin wears the maternity band under her skirt and shirt.
PHOTO CREDIT: @F-64.COM

Along with wraps come support garments, and Comfizz is one company that has a lot to offer. You can see below just how awesome a few of their products are.

Ostomy Support Vest – Black
Ostomy Support Vest – Black
Details
Bethany Purnell wearing a wrap by Comfizz.
Ostomy Wrap – Beige
Ostomy Wrap – Beige
Details
Bethany Purnell wearing a wrap by Comfizz.
Ostomy Briefs
Ostomy Briefs
Details
Bethany Purnell wearing a wrap by Comfizz
Ostomy Boxers
Ostomy Boxers
Details
Bethany Purnell wearing support boxers by Comfizz.
These 4 are all from Comfizz. I prefer the knickers over the boxer shorts because you’re able to see the short ‘lines’ under your clothes. And I also prefer the knickers over the wrap because I find that the wrap can rise whilst you’re walking and come out-of-place and be uncomfortable. I love the vest although it is a little tight. These 4 products are amazing for wearing under your clothes to hide your ostomy. They help you feel supported and secure. Bethany Purnell: Instagram @ bethanypurnell

Sue is another fan of Comfizz:

I wear a Comfizz waist band to help support a full bag, and give me a smooth line underneath my clothing.Sue Hill
Hide N Sleek Ostomy garment by Joeies
Hide ‘N Sleek by Joeies

If you prefer, you can even use maternity bands (like the Bellaband) to achieve similar cover and support.  Maternity bands tend to be less expensive, but don’t have an inner pocket to hold your pouch.

Pouch Covers

Mostly used for fun or to hide the contents of a clear pouch, pouch covers are most often made by individuals who have an ostomy, although commercial pouch covers are available.

As Bethany states below, they can also be useful in helping to disguise a dangling pouch.

Bethany Purnell ostomy pouches
“These are my absolute favorite thing to wear! There are lace material ones which can be good for intimate times and there are also fun designs! If your pouch is visible hanging out under your shirt then a pouch cover can be a perfect way to disguise your pouch.”

If you’re the crafty type, you can even design and make your own pouch covers, just as my friend Meg has done below!

Homemade ostomy pouch cover Front Butt Youtuber
Meg, The Front Butt YouTuber, decided to make her own pouch cover!
I’ve reviewed several pouch covers, which you can see HERE.

Seat Belt Covers

While not a necessity for driving, these can be useful if you have a stoma that gets squished by your seat belt (like mine does).

While I haven’t seen many brands of seat belt covers being sold for ostomates, they are around if you look hard enough. I reviewed one called the Comfee Drive (which, unfortunately, is no longer available), and it’s an accessory I use every time I’m in the car; although when I’m wearing a stoma guard, I don’t have to one.

Comfee Drive product shot
This Velcro’s to your seat belt, and provides a channel where your stoma can rest under.

An alternative to the Comfee Drive is the Ostomy Protector (review HERE) or stoma guards.

ostomy-protector-installation
Installing and removing the Ostomy Protector only takes a few seconds.

But there’s more!

While these accessories can be incredibly helpful, you’re still going to want to wear clothes during the day, right? Great, because I’ll be covering clothing options in part two and three, as well as more tips in part four, so I’ll see you there!

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Marcie
Member

I love my maternity jeans !!!  As I do wear my tops longer now everything falls into place nicely– No one knows that they are  maternity jeans.. ( don’t wear pantie’s with  my M.Jeans tho) IF to loose in the legs, I just sew them tighter..    People say I look well put together..  Skits with elastic bands, pants, long dress with a nice tie belt makes a nice gather. sliming affect.  You can wear the tie belt loosely– Just add some simple jewelry, earrings, a new hair style?   and your ready for a nice day !! Being comfortable is the key to success now as we adjust to a “new me”…….. You will find your way..

LK
Member

Welcome Naomi…I am on the same page as John the other ladies here. I love the leggings and I find that they support the pouch nicely when it has, or does not have output in it. This does give the pouch extra support and it does not tug at the seal you have with the wafer on your tummy, risking a leak, as it would if you let it hang loose with product in it. How long have you had your pouch? Is it permanent? This is something you may want to consider when your decide on your new clothing style. If it is newish, and you have lost weight, it gives you a chance to put a little back on, or not, and still fit the pants while this happens. They make such pretty tops and if slightly longer it does hide the pouch with output in it until you can get to the washroom. Pay attention to style, does it have room to flare, on which side or all across, or is it snug. Snug is fine if you have nothing in it. In another forum, someone ( I think Dona) mentioned layers, this works great if you want a snugger fit around your tummy area. Adding a sweater or whatever you prefer will help disguise your pouch with output in it. Too snug and too thin an elastic in the waist band could bother your incision and may cause an indent down the road at that level on your tummy.  Underwear… choose what you are comfy in just make sure it does not block the flow of output to the base of the pouch. LLNorth…Thank you for your suggestion of the Jockey brand, I am going to see if I can find them. It always helps to know that other ostomates have success with a brand or style of clothing. Linda

LLNorth
Member

Hi Naomi and everybody, I have discovered Jockey brand yoga pants with a somewhat relaxed leg and slight flare at the bottom – not as form-fitting as leggings, yet not baggy-looking, and so soft and comfy. Wore them for an occasion today that required a dressier look than my usual black leggings. They come in a petite length, which means they are nicely proportioned for a shorter lady like me. And they have lots of “give” for stoma and appliance.

Dona
Member

Welcome Naomi,As to dressing with an ostomy, I think most of us want a bit of support for the bag/wafer but not so much that there is too much pressure on the stoma.You will find the right balance. Multiple layers work well, stretchy wide waist bands.Like Stella said above, too snug and the stoma won’t be able to function right. I use the Osto EZ-Vent, so tightness does not affect the ability to rid my bag of gas ( with that system, you do it manually, when needed).I wear untucked shirts, tunics, vests etc, to further hide the stoma /appliance area. Those are good for times when you can not get to a place to empty your bag of material or gas. I wear skirts or pants/tights  to make access easier. Dresses are harder to wear for that reason. This DOES work. Keep asking questions.

sjlovestosing
Member

Hi Naomi, and welcome to the forum. I wear leggings over my pouch and find them quite comfortable. You want to make sure that you don’t use a filtered bag, though, as the elastic in the leggings can cause your appliance to flatten. I usually have a little bit of air in the bag to keep my stoma from pancaking. Stella

john68
Member

Hi Naomi, From the posts and feeed back on the site lots of female ostomates find leggings a workable and comfortable choice. 

LK
Member

Bang on John! My surgeries were c-sections from left to right and then the bowel surgeries, leaving me with a scar about an inch and a half wide from the V in my rib area down. Basically I have a large upside down ” T.”Between babies, surgeries and tests,weall seem to loose a little of our so called pride. So I would have not one single issue wearing mens undies for the comfort factor!  The wide elastic does not roll down the way the thin elastic does. Plus, it is way more comfy on the scar areas, especially the first weeks after surgery. I love this idea and I am sure it will be more affordable then something with lace. I sew, so if I required that touch of femininity I can sew a certain space closed, and add some lace just for fun. Two pairs of underwear in our heat, I would manage just fine for the pouch comfort factor. Plus I think I could eliminate the snug elastic thin strapped shirts I wore last year, I did find them on the warm side, especially in the back area. Comfy yes, but they were warm. Anyways, such a great idea you two! Thanks again.

LK
Member

In order to find decent underwear where I live, I would have to travel an hour, fight for parking and good luck finding what I am after. John, I  had an idea, the one clothing store here is a mans work store. However they carry underwear. Because of the men in my life, I am aware that they use a wider elastic on mens undies then on womens.  Heidi, excellent idea to wear two pairs for support! Because of my scars and a bump I have I have tried to find  womens boxer type underwear, but they are loose. I know I can get a snugger fit out of the mens store. I would never have thought to wear TWO pairs because of the heat in summer here, but in order to get the support and comfort, I will certainly try this out in the mens style. Thank you so much for the idea. Welcome to all who are new and I hope you are recovering well from your surgeries, it can take time to heal well so be patient with yourselves.  All the best.

john68
Member

Hi Linda and folks, from a guys point of view I like boxers or boxer briefs, I also always look for underwear or indeed any shorts with a wide waist band as I find them more comfortable full stop. And here if you or any other lady ostmate finds what ever gender pants that works what’s the problem. 

LLNorth
Member

That is a great idea, Heidi. I wonder if a pair of bikini or hipster style underneath and then a higher waist style over the bag would serve the same purpose as the special ostomy underwear with the pocket – and be less expensive as well as easier to launder. I am going to do this – I have a lot of hipster style ones that I have not worn since my colostomy last spring. Thanks!

Heidi Kemlage
Guest
Heidi Kemlage

I don’t know if this helps anyone, but I wear two pairs of underwear, one goes under my bag and the other over my bag. It helps a lot by hiding it, and it’s much more comfortable.

john68
Member

Hi Shelia, Have you tried any UK companies.https://www.ostomysecrets.co.uk/ostomysecrets-uk/women/c-29/c-429No t" rel="nofollow"> https://comfizz.com/https://www.ostomysecrets.co.uk/ostomysecrets-uk/women/c-29/c-429Not sure but could be easier than ordering from the U.S.

Sheila L Heathcote
Guest
Sheila L Heathcote

Hi. I have tried to contact you by email twice but no one ever replied. I live in Spain. DO YOU SHIP TO SPAIN? Customs here seems to be a real pain especially when friends send me things from the US. I either don’t recieve the boxes (disappeared) or customs makes me go through five step identification with National ID cards, invoices, etc.
ARE YOUR CLOTHING PRODUCTS AND STOMA CUPS/GUARDS USED BY UROSTOMY PATIENTS?
I can not find any place in Spain that sells the cute undies, bands or swimsuits that you show.
If you do ship to Spain can you tell me the shipping costs?
I hope you can help!!

Bubbles
Member

my ” uniform ” is legging with a loose longer top . I can relax and not worry about my bag no natter how full it gets . 

Marcie
Member

Bubbles, do the leggings seem to press to much on your pouch of performing an out put? oe of pancaking?  haven’t heard  from you– hope all is well..  :-)

Naomi
Guest
Naomi

Do u wear the leggings over Product

Songbringer
Member

Any tips for disguising a nighttime drainage bag? Yes, I wear these in the daytime due to having a very high output. They are the only thing that stops the leaking and blowouts…day or night. I love to wear leggings, and it’s embarrassing to walk around looking like I am equipped with male “plumbing”. Sorry guys…no offense meant. The issue is the spout on them. Heres’ the link for the Sensura Magnum I use. As you can see, they are huge. https://www.coloplast.ca/sensura-magnum-pouch-en-ca.aspx

Susan Shannon
Guest
Susan Shannon

Did anyone ever buy the Ostomy under pants and does it work well to conceal the bag ?

sally
Guest
sally

THANKYOU FOR THE TIPS AND TRICKS. I WAS DONE I AUG .2017 EMERGENCY SURY STILL TRYING TO WRAP MY HEAD AROUD IT ALL BUT IM GETTING THERE . LOOKING FOR CLOTHING THAT WILL LOOK GOOD NOT EASY I READ A LOT OF STORIES . FROM PEOPLE LIKE YOU ALL AND MYSELF I HAVE AN IDEA WHAT IM LOOKING FOR . THINK ILL TRY WALMART MIGHT BE WAY CHEAPER THEN . BEFORE I DISH OUT A LOT OF MONY . GL ALL .

Lori Spurgeon
Member
Lori Spurgeon

Hi everyone! I’ve had my ostomy for 8 months and am dealing with a fistula and laparotmy that is still draining. The wound nurse used burn netting to keep the abdominal pads in place since I’m sensitive to tape. My problem is I have high output from the colostomy with lots of gas. I’ve tried hiding the bag in the burn netting but I still end up with the bag “puffing” out from under my clothes. Anyone else have this problem?

Mary
Guest
Mary

I have a problem with clothing. Pressing on stoma then it flattens and oozes out sides. A lot. Then it needs to be changed. Would maternity pants work?. I am now putting bag on the out side of underwear, not cool though, for leakage. Any ideas.

LLNorth
Member

Hi Mary, Some maternity pants work well for me, also leggings a size larger (and with a waistline higher than my stoma). If the leggings feel too big at the waist and like they might fall down I cut a little hole in the front inside of the waistband and then thread a long shoelace through the waistband and tie it at the front, inside the leggings, keeping it above the stoma.

john68
Member

From my own experience wear it loose or a little higher. I have a menswear store who know me and my requirements, so they can show me pants with a higher rise. Also getting to know someone who does alterations a great job. For the guys suspenders can be useful. On that subject I have come across “invisible suspenders “ they are worn under your clothes and no one knows. I have not tried but am tempted to try out 😀  

Lynette
Member
Lynette

Hi great comments. I have 2 bags and I wear singlets so I can tuck it under the bags before I put my pants on. Also at the moment I have just been wearing cotton shorts to tuck the bags in while wearing a dress.

Marcie
Member

Janis,
Check out a fashionable maternity store. I am sure that u can talk with a dry cleaning place that does fittings. But ask around first.. Unfortunately this is EXTRA expensive-but when it comes to alterations ? Got to do it. Even the bad places are expensive. So ask around.. A dress maker also. Try before hand a pattern of your choice. Just talk with someone and it is a show and tell trip first, but worth it. Try a cheap material first. I go with plaza pants. Also I shop the maternity store for jeans.. Be fashionable with your hair and make-up.. And don’t forget your smile!!
My best to you! Marcie/usa/ct.

Marcie
Member

Ladies, Can u wear tights, panty hose? If I do sometimes I feel like they will flatten my pouch-and possible leak so, I don’t go to far.. Kinda scared… Thanks! Marcie/usa/ct/.

Janis McGuire
Member
Janis McGuire

Hi, I’m hoping someone can help me. I have fistular on my left side of my stomach. along with that I have a hernia which is growing in leaps and bounds for lack of support. I am trying to take a panty girdle and make a hole to fit the ostomy bag through. I’m not sure how to do it being the panty is elastic. Cant find an old fashioned clothing taylor anywhere. Can anyone please help me?

Cindy
Guest
Cindy

Janis, I feel for you. Let me know what you figure out. Colostomy patient (2015) plus slow-growing double hernias. Ugly, ugly protrusions, like I’m pregnant at 61. Last thing I told my surgeon? “Don’t ruin my sex life.” Well….it’s gone.
Specialist in Boston says even if get surgery to repair, hernias WILL grow back. Should have sued my surgeon. Incredible, inexperienced ass that also cut into my spleen (Cape Cod). 3 days ICU, then 3 weeks of drainage hose from infection spleen, in addition to the pouches. I’m still an emotional mess, after 3-1/2 years. Should have sued, but attorneys? “Nothing we can do unless you are reconnected.” Really?

virtuallyerin
Member
virtuallyerin

Why would you have to be reconnected to be able to sue? (If I’m understanding you correctly.)
I’m an emotional mess, too. Emergency surgery (lost my colon), then 2 failed reversals. Ileostomy for life now at age 55.

Kerby
Member

I have Hernia surgery coming up from  Nov. 2017 Ostomy ( rectal cancer).  At Thanksgiving my Hernia was bigger than a pregnant Friend. Dr. Said no guarantees. I have to try , it’s huge. I go in Feb. 21st

LLNorth
Member

Kerby, I hope things have been going well for you since your surgery.

Lena Williams
Guest
Lena Williams

Thanks so much for the tips and the confidence you all display!

Sarah McIlvaine
Guest
Sarah McIlvaine

Incredibly helpful post- and fun to read. Thank you!

Jo-Ann Tremblay
Guest
Jo-Ann Tremblay

Terrific article!! Most comprehensive article on the subject of fashion I’ve seen. Congratulations on all of the hard work and hours it takes to put together this article. I’m looking forward to exploring the many clothing and ostomy accessories suggestions. Thank you

Jene
Guest
Jene

Awesome article!!! Been waiting for the women’s guide for a while now! Well worth the wait.
My tip is the same as most of the ladies, Comfort first, stretchy camis, high waisted undies and high waisted pants. I’ve used spanx under dresses which helped keep things tucked in. However that was only after several weeks post surgery. I discovered the clothes I could tolerate after surgery was different than several weeks later. I avoided anything tight and high waisted. I favoured low waisted and very loose tops. As a colostomate I can irrigate and not have any activity for the rest of the day so I could use a stoma cap – which I do on occasion. But I find they stick out more than a 2 piece. So if I am wearing something tight and want to keep a lower profile I tend to use the 2 piece. Keep in mind I’m 43 and gave birth to 9lb and 11lb babies so my belly sticks out which doesn’t help! :)