When I was a new ostomate, I had concerns about what to do with my bag when it’s hanging down.
After doing some research I came across the Stealth Belt. The Stealth Belt Pro was the first ostomy accessory I purchased for myself, and it’s one that I continue to use and recommend.
While the original belt I own is too tight for daily wear (I purchased when I was underweight), I do have the privilege of reviewing an improved version of the Stealth Belt Pro that I received as a sample from the great people at Stealth Belt Inc.
About the Stoma-Pro
The Stealth Belt Pro is the flagship support belt made and sold by Stealth Belt Inc., which is a company founded in 2009 by ostomate Richard Hamill.
This support belt is designed to keep your ostomy bag in the sideways position, and it offers concealment, support, and convenience.
Each belt is custom-made depending on your stoma location, flange size, and waist size. Like all Stealth Belt products, the Stealth Belt Pro is made in the USA.
There are a few measurements that you’ll need when you order one, but Stealth Belt Inc. does have a nice guide on their site.
The belt is made from a Nylon/Lycra blend which is a breathable, stretchy fabric material that is comfortable enough to wear all day.
You can adjust how tight or loose the belt is using Velcro closures. The Stealth Belt Pro has a double closure system, so it won’t come undone no matter what you’re doing!
There’s a zipper that extends along the entire bottom of the main pouch compartment. Opening this zipper will allow you access to your bag for when you need to empty it.
The back of the pouch closure has a single opening that you feed your ostomy bag through when you’re putting it on. On the Stealth Belt Pro, this opening is a specific size that you select when you order a belt – you cannot adjust it.
When comparing this 2017 model to my older 2013 one, I notice a few subtle differences. The newer version has a single layer of fabric covering the pouch compartment compared to two layers on the older version. I actually like this change as it doesn’t reduce the amount of support it offers, but it does make the belt lighter and more comfortable.
My old belt had a larger flange hole because I was using a different appliance back then, so there is a slight increase in the height of the pouch compartment and belt in the old design. The rest of it is the same and it’s one that’s worked for many years!
Using the Stealth Belt Pro
It only takes about 10 seconds to put on the Stealth Belt Pro, and you can leave it on for as long as you like!
The steps I use are as follows (If you want video instructions, please see my video review).
Putting on the Stealth Belt Pro
- With my ostomy bag sideways (pointing out towards my side, not towards my belly button), I place the Stealth Belt Pro over my waist with the pouch enclosure hole over my appliance.
- I loosely join the Velcro ends so that I don’t have to hold the belt up.
- Then I feed the bottom of my ostomy bag into the pouch enclosure through the hole. It helps to unzip the Stealth Belt Pro to feed the bag through.
- If I’m wearing a Hollister appliance, then I make sure that the floating flange is on the inside of the pouch enclosure and that the fabric around the hole of the belt is underneath it.
- To make sure the bag is flat, I gently tug the bottom of my bag’s outlet towards the side of the belt. It’s also a good time to make sure the top and bottom of my bag are flat by smoothing it out.
- After my bag is in the pouch enclosure, I adjust the tightness of the belt until it’s comfortable (not too tight, not too loose).
Emptying the Stealth Belt Pro
- Sit/Squat/Kneel over a toilet.
- Unzip the bottom of the Stealth Belt Pro and let the bag come out.
- I empty and clean my bag.
- Then I return the bag to the pouch enclosure and zip up the bottom.
- In most cases, I will also adjust the bag again to make sure it’s flat.
Emptying is going to be the most challenging part for most people, especially if you’re used to wearing your bag vertically.
Removing the Stealth Belt Pro
- Unfasten the Velcro ends.
- Gently remove the belt while holding the ostomy bag (especially if it’s a 2-piece).
To wash my belt, I simply hand wash it in cold water using a mild laundry detergent. I have washed it in the machine, but I’ll usually avoid doing that because the Velcro hooks can damage other clothing as it’s being agitated in the wash.
To dry, I place the belt flat on a large towel and roll it – this is a great trick if you need to quickly dry anything. It’s usually slightly damp after doing that, and I’ll let it air dry for a few hours after that’s done.
I’ve done everything with the Stealth Belt Pro: Roller coasters, flights, sports, sex, kayaking, sleep, housework, office work, hiking, you name it!
It’s comfortable enough to wear 24/7, and I’ll have mine on for a few days at a time between washing it.
My preferred way of wearing my ostomy bag is sideways, and the Stealth Belt Pro has helped me to do that for years. While this may raise many questions (which I’ve address in THIS article), I find that it gives me unparalleled comfort and support.
The belt helps to lower the profile of my bag, which is important to me but also allows me more flexibility.
I’ve joked with another ostomate about the “side bend” we do when tying our shoes when our ostomy bag is hanging down vertically. But because I wear my bag sideways, I don’t run into this problem. And if I’m doing anything that requires bending then the belt has me covered.
For people who play sports, the support that this belt offers is excellent, but keep in mind that it doesn’t offer protection from impacts to your stoma. Stealth Belt Inc. does have another style that’s better suited for contact sports called their Hybrid belt. You can find my full review on the Hybrid Stealth Belt HERE.
With that said, it’s difficult to keep your stoma protected when using a product like this, unless it has built-in protection. Stealth Belt Inc. does offer mufflers and stoma guards (which are neoprene inserts you place in the pouch enclosure), my past experience wasn’t positive and I would much rather recommend the Hybrid belt instead.
As a guy who sometimes has to dress up, having my bag sideways and supported by the Stealth Belt Pro means that I can tuck my shirt into my pants while keeping my appliance above the belt line. This is something that’s not easy to do unless you have the right support, and I’ve been doing it for years using a Stealth Belt.
This belt also comes in handy during intimacy, as it keeps all the sharp pouch outlet bits away from any private parts!
One of the great things about this belt, and the fabric used to make it is that it expands as your pouch fills up with output and/or gas. I’ve woken up some mornings with a bag that’s completely ballooned, and because it’s supported nicely the risk of a blowout are minimized considerably.
And speaking of blowouts, having good support (like what you get with this belt) can also help to reduce the chance of a leak/blowout because of the gentle pressure it puts on your wafer and bag. This is a side bonus if you ask me!
While the Stealth Belt (and similar belts) have worked extremely well for me, there are a few instances where I might not recommend it.
If you have a high-output stoma or a urostomy, then it may be challenging to wear your bag sideways. While I don’t notice any decreased appliance wear time when using it myself, having constant liquid output may cause problems. Keep in mind that this isn’t a problem with the Stealth Belt Pro, but more of an issue because of wearing a bag sideways
At the time of this writing (April 2017), the Stealth Belt Pro is available for US$99 + shipping, which varies depending on your location. In the past, I’ve been charged about $50 for shipping (Canadian dollars, shipped to the Toronto area), so you may want to get a quote on that so there are no surprises. They do ship internationally.
While the price may seem like a lot, the fact that this product will last for years makes it a great investment for anyone with a permanent ostomy (or a temporary one that you expect to have for a while).
Because these are custom-made, it can take some time to receive them and don’t be surprised if it takes 2-3 weeks or longer to get your order (this is totally normal).
Stealth Belt Inc. says that many insurance companies will cover the cost of the belt and they even have information on how to file HERE. Because these belts aren’t cheap, I would highly recommend checking to see if your insurance company will cover the cost of one.
If you have to pay out-of-pocket (like I do) Stealth Belt Inc. often has promotions, so keep an eye out for them.
Despite this review sounding like a testimonial, the Stealth Belt Pro is still one of the best support bands you can get. I’ve owned one for over three years, and it’s still in phenomenal shape.
I love the new design cues on this 2017 model, and I plan to wear it for years to come!
I’d recommend this to most ostomates, especially colostomates and ileostomates who want better support and concealment of their appliance.