working out -going to the gym with an ileostomy

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 7/14/2009 11:23 PM (GMT -7)   
I was really into lifting weights before my surgery and i want to go back to gym starting this week. For the last 10 years I lifted a lot of heavy weight to maintain a muscular build but I'm afraid of hernias etc. Since my surgery I lost 30 lbs and 15 of which was muscle so I want to put some of that weight back on. Does anyone with an ileostomy currently have a regular strenuous workout routine? If so have you ever had a bad experience you would like to share? like the bag rupturing or a hernia?
31 years old + married with children.
Ulcerative Colitis cause: In early 2003 I took Accutane for 4 months, permanent side effect resulted in 1 year of abdominal cramping and bloody stools.
May 2004: Diagnosed with Left sided UC (should have never taken the dangerous drug known as Accutane).
May 2004- May 2009: Prednisone, Asacol and others meds that did not work well-Remicade was great for 16 months then stopped working.
May 8th-June 24 2009: Pancolitis- active chronic 2 month flare up.
June 24th 2009: elective colectomy/ileostomy at Barnes/Washington University.
August 2009: planned rectum removal and j-pouch construction.
October-November 2009: planned Reversal.
Summary: 5 years of suffering from Ulcerative Colitis, Anxiety and depression.

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 7/15/2009 3:33 AM (GMT -7)   
You will have to adjust your routine to take into account your ostomy...but you can work with weights. How long ago was your surgery...June 24th? I wouldn't start for a couple haven't healed yet and you would be asking for a hernia imo!

Take it slow, your recovery now sets you up for a healthy happy life:)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 7/15/2009 7:24 AM (GMT -7)   
i was going to the gym regularly. And i was lifting weights. Of course, i am a girl and not very big, so i was only doing between 60-90lbs depending on the machine. But i didnt have any problems.
One thing i did that really helped was i made sure my bag was emptied alot and i wore one of my bands, that way it didnt move around when i was on the treadmill

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 629
   Posted 7/15/2009 7:32 AM (GMT -7)   
I waited about 6 months after my surgery before I hit the gym. I didn't hold back, went to muscle failure every time. Just take it easy at first until you know your limits-note I didn't work the abs directly very hard. I too would make sure the bag is kind of empty before hitting a cardio machine and bouncing around on it

Dec 2006: Proctocolectomy/permanent ileostomy
Since 1991: Indeterminate crohn's/ulserative colitis

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 511
   Posted 7/15/2009 8:25 AM (GMT -7)   

My UC prevented me from working out or doing anything strenuous, I could barely lift my son from his crib.  shakehead

So.  When I nixed the UC I could not wait to start working out and lose all this weight that has accumulated.  It's not cool.  Anyway, I started a pump class and working out as much as possible two months or so after my surgery.  It really wasn't a good idea.  My stoma site and abdominal area began hurting super bad.

Maybe you could start with a much lighter weight than normal, and build your cardio with an exercise bike or elipitical?  I understand your need to get back into your routine, so please do it with caution.  You'll be back up and bulked up smilewinkgrin   in no time!

Good luck!!!!


: )  Robin
29 year old Mommy of an amazing 1 year old and Wife for 2 years!
Dx-May 2007 Moderate/Severe Pancolitis - failed all medications
Proctocolectomy w/ permanent ileostomy on 02/06/09!!!
"Your mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is open."  -Unknown

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 7/16/2009 7:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Milkman
You need to wait at least 12 weeks after surgery to lift weights and don't lift more
than 20lbs tops for a while. you might try resistance bands for now you can increase
reps to get more of a workout or do sets super slow and than regular. Walking is good
no crunches. Water exercise is great. Like everyone said make sure you empty your bag
and wear some kind of support band or underwear that will keep your bag from flopping
around. I am a trainer and I teach boot camp. I had my colon removed two years ago
and wear a bag. I am not comfortable laying on my stomach so I avoid doing exercises
like that but I do pushups which are good for both your upperbody and core. Take it slow
at first and drink plenty of water. good Luck, Fruitcake

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/18/2012 2:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Fruitcake.

I hope you don't mind me asking a question out of the blue here...

I have an ileostomy, from large intestine removal in 2000. I've been heading to gym for a couple of years now. I normally just wear a stoma support belt, (cut in half for reduced heat), for my workouts. I obviously keep it empty as much as possible. I have graduated to higher weights, and am looking to continue this trend, (I'm 189pounds).

I hurt my back about a month ago, due to my stomach muscles not being strong enough, and my physio recommended that I wear a weight belt. Both my gym partners wear them, and they haven't had 23 surgeries! I have bought myself a belt, and tried it a couple of times, but the problem is that if my stoma works at all, the belt doesn't fit properly, especially if I'm doing squats, as the belt has to be very tight! Meaning I have to duck off to the bathroom, (3 times the other day), while my gym partners stand there and wonder and sometimes ask questions that I have to deflect...

Anyways. I was hoping you would have some advice on this weight belt issue.
Thanks for any time you can spare.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 776
   Posted 9/18/2012 6:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi and welcome.. so ironic I was just talking to a friend about accutane this morning. So sorry it's affected you and you're now in this situation :-( Anyway I'm a fitness trainer and work with a UK charity on fitness post surgery and have an ileo. On a personal level, I have some boring ongoing obstruction/motility issues so I'm not working out as much as I'd like, but as far as your situation is concerned, I'd say given you were so fit before, you're young and know your body and how to train, I can't see any reason why you eventually can't get back to that and train pretty much how you used to.

But.. like the others have said, you've been through a major surgery not to mention the weight loss, so it's going to take some time and you have to be patient. It could take as much as a year to get back to where you were before. You're 8 weeks out now though, so you should be able to get back in the gym and do some light weights, core work and CV stuff... just listen to your body and do what you feel comfortable with. You've also got more surgery looming, so you need to just do what you can, get a little stronger and be prepared that it could take a while after each procedure to rebuild. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. I know it's frustrating, but just take it steady.

I'm mainly a runner and found that the muscle loss, postural changes and imbalances due to surgery, multiple bed rests and just changes in the way I walk, sit, sleep, stand etc affected my running hugely and I was being plagued with niggles and knee injuries. The key seems to be developing good core stability first and that should also prevent parastomal hernias.

There is a heap of research that people with weak abdominal muscles are more prone to hernia. So work on your abdominals, low back, hips, glutes etc and get strong and balanced. Then progress to building up your weights slowly and gradually, listening to your body and stop if you get pain around your stoma or incision. If you had open surgery, you'll need more time as the abdominals will have had more trauma than with lapro surgery.

This is a useful booklet produced by Dansac. I think someone else posted a separate thread about abdominal exercises last week too.

Like the others have said, keep hydrated and just listen to your body. Good luck.
Sarah - 40 year old mum of 2 boys, runner/triathlete from UK
June 2010 - Emergency partial colectomy for peritonitis/perforated diverticulitis. Temporary ileo, reversed Oct 2010.
Reversal failed due to bowel inertia/dysmotility
July 2011 - End Ileostomy - elective
Ongoing dysmotility/adhesions/issues.. but for the most part much better
Follow my blog -

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 768
   Posted 9/18/2012 11:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Ironmum- I manaed to qualify for Worlds (Sprint distanace) in London next year. Do you know a site that would have the schedule of races? I want to know I won't be racing on Sunday if I pay all the money and get there safely.

Mikeman- WElcome! Everyone has given great advice, I second. Get recovered first and then-go.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 9/18/2012 11:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Trigirl and Sarah and HLM,
You replied to a very old post from 2009.
HLM welcome to the forum. To avoid this confusion in the future it is best to start your new post then replying to an old one. I don't recall seeing mikeman on this forum in the last few months/ years.
Sorry can't help with your question reg belt. I'm not into weight lifting. Start a new post and you will get more replies.
39 yr female living in the UK, originally from Austria
diagnosed in 2002 with Crohns,meds: Pentasa Pred humira which all stopped working, battling with flare and fissures until temp ileostomy on 7/19,QOL improved - I can eat what I like- but still having fevers due to active colitis, proctocolectomy may31.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 776
   Posted 9/18/2012 3:16 PM (GMT -7)   
blimey thanks lovetoski! didn't notice that. well hopefully it helped someone out there.

Trigirl.. congrats on your qualification! that's awesome. I did duathlon age group stuff a few years ago and would love to get back to that one day.. anyway the website is as follows but doens't look like they have confirmed the schedule yet. You could always try emailing someone at British Triathlon
Sarah - 40 year old mum of 2 boys, runner/triathlete from UK
June 2010 - Emergency partial colectomy for peritonitis/perforated diverticulitis. Temporary ileo, reversed Oct 2010.
Reversal failed due to bowel inertia/dysmotility
July 2011 - End Ileostomy - elective
Ongoing dysmotility/adhesions/issues.. but for the most part much better
Follow my blog -
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Friday, December 15, 2017 6:54 PM (GMT -7)
There are a total of 2,905,972 posts in 318,906 threads.
View Active Threads

Who's Online
This forum has 158250 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, 4som1.
344 Guest(s), 10 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
MD23, js100, 1000Daisies, The Dude Abides, Skypilot56, Mickey Childress, WalkingbyFaith, TroubledTurds, momem3, Goat0724