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If you have had a colostomy, ileostomy, urostomy, laryngectomy or tracheostomy, there may be particular issues you need to think about before you travel.
Your stoma nurse can give you advice about issues such as:
If you’ve had a urostomy, a colostomy or a laryngectomy, there are specialist organisations| that can give you information specific to your condition.
Having a stoma shouldn’t stop you from travelling, but you may need to plan your trip more carefully. It’s important to make sure you have plenty of stoma supplies and that these are carried in your hand luggage.
If you’re going abroad for a long time, make sure you take enough stoma supplies with you. It helps to take more than you think you’ll need, in case you have to change your appliance more often than usual or in case you’re away for longer than planned. This is especially important if you’re going somewhere with a hot climate. Some suppliers will deliver abroad. It’s helpful to check whether your supplier offers this service.
You should store stoma bags in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
If you’ve had a colostomy or ileostomy, it’s important to eat carefully the day before you travel - avoid spicy foods, fizzy drinks, alcohol and foods that cause wind. If you’re flying, the changes in air pressure may cause problems with increased wind in the stoma bag. It may help to add an extra flatus filter, which helps wind to escape, on to the bag.
Your GP can prescribe anti-diarrhoea tablets and rehydration powders (such as Dioralyte®) for you to take in case you have diarrhoea. If the diarrhoea is severe or continues for more than 48 hours, it’s important to see a doctor.
People with colostomies or ileostomies can get special insurance by contacting the Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Support Group|.
A travel certificate can be carried with you when you go abroad. The certificate can be shown to airport security if you are asked about your stoma supplies. Certificates are available in a number of different languages and are available from the Colostomy Association| (call 0800 328 4257) or from your stoma care nurse.
Content last reviewed: 1 October 2011
Next planned review: 2013
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