Stoma Placement

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 62
   Posted 6/3/2008 4:46 PM (GMT -6)   
I visited with my prospective surgeon yesterday and the nurse identified the best spot for the stoma. Unfortunately, it is 2 inches below my belly button and almost 1 1/2 inches ABOVE my beltline. I am now quite confused. If I want my bag to sit under my pants, I will have to wear my pants at my belly button. I don't even know how the pants will stay there without falling down to my waste line.

Does this mean that I will always have my bag under my shirt? What do you do to hold up your pants?

I was 95% certain that I wanted the illeostomy and not the j-pouch. Thought the former suited my needs better ( 1 surgery, no need to map out every nearby bathroom etc.) but now I am confused.

Does anyone know what I can do?\\Thanks
54 yo male
First flare at age 49

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 6/3/2008 6:56 PM (GMT -6)   

I had similar confusion when they marked mine right before surgery.  It is two inches to the right and even with my belly button.  My waistline is just below my bellybutton so I asked the nurse just how that was going to work.  She pointed out that I had two major creases real close together lower than that so a lower placement wasn't going to work.  The suggestion she had was to wear the tail of the bag inside my pants with the rest above and occasionally redistribute contents to the lower part or place the bag sideways across my abdomen.  Both would have the bag up in my shirt region but I can just get looser fitting shirts to accommodate.  Right now I am only one week post op so I don't fasten anything just yet.  I have started to wear an undershirt to hold the bag in place then my looser over shirt does not show off the bag.  It works so far and I am willing to do what it takes to make this work.  Life without UC is already great just one week into it.  Hope this helps and I am sure many others with a lot more experience than I will chime in with even better suggestions.


Total Colectomy with End Ileostomy May 27th, 2008

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 739
   Posted 6/3/2008 9:05 PM (GMT -6)   
i've had mine 4 six months, its above my  waist line (well actually below because i have a high waist, but i wear my pants low almost on my hip, its not bad, it is under my shirt, but i dont have to go baggy, u can redistribute like slim said, i dont have a problem wearing most clothes, even when i do, it has to do with my own insecurities and comfortability, but my brother always swears he forgets its there, and i dont wear baggy clothing often...hope that helps a little

25 y/o female- crohns disease since 14
Ileostomy pending-very worried
Tried asacol,pentasa,prednisone,remicade,6mp,azasan, no avail
Seatons placed
Worst year ever!

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear....."
Where does mine come from?!
 Temp Ileostomy performed 1/29/08
Still Adusting has been my Godsend...Thank you

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 6/4/2008 5:11 PM (GMT -6)   


It is so funny that youposted this question, because I was about to post the exact same problem...!  I just went shopping today for many hours looking for pants that fit right...!

I had my ileostomy about 3 and a half weeks ago, and while my stoma is below my belly button, it is stil ABOVE where i would wear my pants.  I am having the same problem, and my solution (like the others said) is to just tuck the tail end of the bag into my pants and have the top above the waist line.  Right now, that is not very comfortable to do (My stoma is pretty new), but I am hoping with time that it will become more comfortable.

Sometimes if I have a longer shirt, I will just let the tail end of the bag hang outside of my pants (if I know it is hidden well below my shirt.

BTW, I am 27 and like to wear clothes that look nice on me..!  It is possible, but I admit it does take me much longer now to find things that look right on me...


Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 62
   Posted 6/4/2008 7:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all your suggestions. A friend said that I could call Hollister and they would offer some ideas.

I am meeting with a second surgeon tomorrow. The first one does not have any open dates until late July.

54 yo male
First flare at age 49

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2765
   Posted 6/4/2008 8:24 PM (GMT -6)   
The key to dressing with an ostomy can be summed up with one word: untuck

When a shirt hangs out over pants or jeans ~ it doesn't matter how low or high waisted they are, because the waist won't show and neither will the top of the bag.

I've noticed that people glance at your clothes, but really look at your face. Nobody knows what we have on under our clothes, for if they did, they would be super heroes with x-ray vision! cool

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 6/4/2008 10:33 PM (GMT -6)   
i tape the top of my bag to my tummy, and then tuck the end under my undies, taping the top keeps it against me and keeps it from bulging out at the top

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 62
   Posted 6/5/2008 5:11 AM (GMT -6)   
I was thinking that tape or a cummberbund would also work.
54 yo male
First flare at age 49

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 7/7/2008 2:34 AM (GMT -6)   
Speaking of placement, who decides this? My ostomy was an emergency so I didn't have a choice, neither did my brother who also had and emergency surgery. However, his is much higher than mine about 2 inches above his belly button. Is that weird? Mine is much lower, where most of yours are located.

By the way my brother uses a cummerbund-type device as well and it works really well for him.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 7/7/2008 9:59 PM (GMT -6)   
normally, you would go to an ET nurse and they would have you sit, stand, move around stuff like that and see where the best place to put your stoma is. They suggest your wear your normal clothes. I took my fav pair of pants with me so that i would be sure i could wear them after the surgery. And i could wear them, until i started eating milkshakes all the time, lol.
I have heard you can have stomas moved though. i think men's are higher most of the time.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 79
   Posted 7/8/2008 7:48 PM (GMT -6)   
My stoma is 2" right and 1" below my belly button. I fought with the how to wear my pants issue before returning to work 8 weeks post-op. Top half of the bag is under my shirt and the bottom half is below my waste line. The top half just fills up and bulges slightly and I occasionally throughout the day push it down to the lower half (if output is thick). When the lower half is full, I can feel the bulge, then it is time to empty. If output is more watery, then the bottom part of the pouch fills up automatically. I can notice the bulge under my shirt, but nobody else seems to. My stoma and belly were sore for about 3 months after surgery, not bad, but noticeable. I'm now 4 months post-op and have no pain at all.

I would just buy pants that are a size larger than what you wore before and wear a belt. I did buy the special ostomy support underwear, but don't waste your money. I just tuck the bag under my pants and on top of my regular underwear. Works fine for me. I also wear baggy cloths and shorts/pants when I'm not at work. At work, everyone knows my condition (over 500 people) so it doesn't bother me that they notice anything. At least nobody has said anything.
Age 0 to 30 - 100% healthy, no meds, no doctor visits, no hospital stays
Oct. 2006 - Symptoms of UC began
3/5/2007 - Diagnosed with UC - Pancolitis (entire colon involved)
20mg-40mg/day Prednisone, 4.8 g/day Asacol - didn't work at all
10/12/2007 - Steroid Induced Osteoporosis from Prednisone and Anemic
add Actonel (75mgx2 pills/month) and daily iron pills
2/12/2008 - open Subtotal Colectomy with Temporary Ileostomy Surgery
Off all meds including iron pills except Actonel and feel normal again
9/25/2008 - J-Pouch Surgery and possible Ileo Reversal Surgery Scheduled
"When life gives you lemons...make lemonade"

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