Advice on travelling if you have a stoma
If you have a urostomy, a colostomy, an ileostomy or a tracheostomy, there may be certain things you need to think about before you travel.
Where to get information
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Your stoma nurse can give you advice about issues such as:
your diet while you’re abroad
activities such as swimming
the effect of high temperatures on the adhesive used to secure the stoma bags.
If you have a urostomy, colostomy, ileostomy or tracheostomy, there are specialist organisations that can give you information specific to your condition. You can search our database of helpful organisations.
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 stoma supplies. You should divide your stoma supplies between your bags, in case one gets lost.
Make sure you take enough stoma supplies with you. It helps to take more than you think you’ll need, in case you need to change your bag 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.
We have more information about living with a stoma.
Colostomy and ileostomy
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If you have a colostomy or ileostomy, it’s important to be careful about what you eat 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 or stoma nurse can advise you on anti-diarrhoea tablets (such as loperamide) and rehydration powders (such as Dioralyte ®) you can take in case you have diarrhoea.
These tablets and powders can be bought in a chemist or prescribed by your GP. If the diarrhoea is severe or continues for more than 48 hours, it’s important to see a doctor.
Insurance and travel certificates
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A travel certificate includes details of your condition so you do not have to explain it to travel officials, including airport security staff. The certificate will include your name, address and passport number and will be signed by your doctor.
People with ileostomies can get a travel certificate by contacting IA (The Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Support Group). IA’s travel certificate has translations in a variety of languages. The Colostomy Association and The Urostomy Association can also provide travel certificates in a number of different languages. Alternatively, your stoma care nurse should be able to provide a travel certificate. Travel Certificates should be signed by your GP.
All three stoma patient support groups can give you advice on travel insurance to make sure you are properly covered for your condition.
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