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What Is Ostomy Clothing?

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  • Written By: T. Broderick
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2014
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Ostomy clothing is specialized clothing for individuals who require a colostomy bag to collect solid waste. The purpose of ostomy clothing is to hide, secure, and/or protect the ostomy bag. Wearing this type of clothing allows the wearer to have a more normal quality of life by expanding the range of activities he or she can do without fear that his or her ostomy bag will come loose or be seen by strangers. A wide variety of specialized clothing is available from various online retailers and medical supply shops.

For individuals who have undergone a colostomy, a colostomy bag attached to the abdomen collects one's fecal matter. To prevent spilling, the bag is secured to the body with a strong adhesive and in some cases an ostomy belt. Though this system is appropriate in most situations, patients, for various reasons, use ostomy clothing to enhance their quality of life.

One of the primary uses of ostomy clothing is to hide the ostomy bag from view. A patient may not want anyone to see his or her colostomy bag; the patient may have an aversion to seeing his or her fecal matter. For these individuals, the simplest form of ostomy clothing is a cloth pouch that covers the ostomy bag. Though an ostomy belt may still be necessary to properly secure the bag, a pouch reduces embarrassment in situations where a patient may have to raise or take off his or her shirt.

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Ostomy clothing also includes seemingly normal pieces of clothing that have the ability to hide a colostomy bag from view. Two similar examples are pants and pajama bottoms. Normal on the outside, within is a pouch for a patient's ostomy bag. As a patient can have an ostomy on either the right or left side, the pouch is usually adjustable. Built into the garment, the pouch helps secure the ostomy bag, possibly reducing the need for an ostomy belt.

Other forms of ostomy clothing provide protection and concealment. Specialized swim trunks, for example, contain a pouch that is waterproof. This feature is important, as exposure to water, especially warm water, can have a negative effect on the sealant holding the ostomy bag. With this garment, a patient can enjoy many water-related activities.

With a growing number of online retailers dedicated to selling ostomy clothing, finding the best garments for one's needs is constantly becoming easier. A patient can choose from many sizes and designs. If one is new to shopping for this type of clothing, visiting a medical supply store may prove useful, as the store might carry some examples of ostomy garments.

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