How Do You Sleep With a Colostomy Bag?

Getting a good night’s sleep with an ostomy can seem like a daunting task at first. Fortunately, there are many ways to make sure you get the restful sleep you deserve and need.

Depending on your ostomy type, there are also a variety of supplies and accessories that can make life with an ostomy easier. Here are six tips to help you feel more comfortable while sleeping with a colostomy bag:

Empty the Bag Before Going to Bed

It’s always a good idea to empty your ostomy pouch before you go to bed. This helps prevent the bag from becoming overly full overnight, which can disturb your sleep and cause leaks.

Sleep Positions That Work For You

The most common position for ostomates to sleep in is on their back, but you’ll quickly discover that your body will naturally want to sleep in different positions as the stoma heals and you become more used to it. Try experimenting with positions such as laying on your side or using pillows to support the stoma and see which works best for you.

Avoid Clothes That Cut Off the Output

One of the most frustrating things about sleeping with an ostomy is having to worry about clothes cutting off your output. You may not have been thinking about this in the past, but the clothes you choose to wear can be key to preventing leaks.

For example, wearing a long skirt or trousers will cut off the flow of your output and could lead to leaks if you don’t change your pouch often enough. If you’re not able to find clothes that don’t cut off the flow of your output, try a wrap or ostomy belt to hold your pouch securely in place during the night.

A good way to keep your stoma clean is to wipe it every day with warm water. This will help reduce the risk of infection.

During the first few weeks after your surgery, you’ll probably be sore in your abdominal muscles and on the skin around your stoma, but it is important to remember that these areas will continue to heal as time goes on. Once the area is healed, you can experiment with different sleep positions and use pillows to keep your stoma comfortable during the night.

Set an Alarm to Empty Your Stoma Bag

If you have a high-output ostomy, it can be hard to remember to empty your stoma bag in the middle of the night. As a 180 Medical Community member Darlene found, setting an alarm is a great way to avoid leaks and other problems during the night.

It’s a good idea to empty your bag before you go to bed and to stop eating and drinking a few hours before you plan on going to bed. Eating and drinking right before bed can make your stoma more active overnight, causing it to fill up and cause leaks.

Consider Using Drainable Bags

If your stoma is more active in the night, it’s important to change your stoma bag regularly. There are closed bags that can be changed a few times a day, and there are drainable bags that need to be replaced every 2 or 3 days.