tradesmen or construction workers with ostomies

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 6/25/2011 12:25 PM (GMT -6)   
hello at the end of my rope with meds, remicade and others...the doctor has been mentioning a pemanent ostomy,iliestomy appliance for me for my crohns a 35 year old male, active, thin and usually 165 pounds when healthy and getting depressed...i have a great job in the construction field and am extremely worried about my career....i work outside in all weather conditions....i sweat alot in summer and wear lots of carharts and bibs in question to anybody out there who has an ostomy is and works outdoors is .....
Has this affected your career at all?
Have you had any problems with multiple layers of clothes on, IE carharts?
Has the hot summer weather and sweat caused you any problems?
Has the bag ever gotten in your way of performing your work?
Thanks everyone....

Another UC wife
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 2111
   Posted 6/25/2011 2:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Unbeknownst to my husband he worked with a guy in the maintenance division who was the head electrician and he definitely pulled his weight getting up and down ladders, crawl spaces, picking up and loading supplies etc. After he retired he told the guys that he has a permanent (ileostomy or colostomy - I forget which) and had it for about 15 years they all worked with him. For whatever reason he chose to keep it to himself while working with the guys....were they ever surprised to learn that fact afterwards.

He had some encouraging things to say to another guy to pass along to my husband when he learned of his upcoming surgery. That was also encouraging for my husband in addition to the many helpful pieces of info. I gather from this forum and another one.

We live in Florida but are retired so he isn't out and about a lot. Just started back golfing a month ago and it has been hot as h$ll and no problems. I'm sure others will chime in to give you a much better idea of the 8 hr workdays in your type of profession.

Good Luck
Wife of 64 yr old male suffered with UC & in May 06 had a severe flare & hospitalized 6 days...various prednisone treatments leading to steroid dependence and osteopenia, 12 asacol, 200 mg Imuran, failed remicade infusions Jan-May 2010 Dependence on pain meds. Made decision 6/10 to have surgery which was on 12/17/10 (total proctocolectomy & ileostomy - unable to have the j-pouch) & now pain free

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1054
   Posted 6/25/2011 2:58 PM (GMT -6)   
I worked as a dancer at disney world (in Florida) when I got my ostomy, and that is in the crazy summer heat, performing outside all day, at disney. You can't really sweat any more than that! It does decrease your wear time a bit, but not much. I could still get a good 5 days out of mine.

The only problems I've had are with some fungal infections caused by heat/sweat under my wafer, but that's not super common.

I don't know what those clothes are that you're describing, but as long as nothing is pressing right on your stoma, you should be fine. If you are worried about something harming your stoma, they have stoma guards you can wear over your stoma so it is safe.

You may have to do a little adjusting, but you should be fine :)
Stephanie, 29 years old

March 2000-Diagnosed Crohn's Colitis
(Tried every drug imaginable, but lived 10 years with daily diarrhea)
March 18, 2010-Total Proctocolectomy and Permanent Ileostomy! :)
(Now med free, 4 subsequent procedures to correct blockages at stoma site)

Stoma named Zoe...She's my best bud!! :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 422
   Posted 6/25/2011 3:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Paint -in -the-butt:

Not sure what detailed type of construction you do....

I am in construction management. The thing that concerns me (will ask my surgeon about it at next visit) is the wearing of a harness for work at heights...I don't believe I will be able to wear that anymore...partly because of where the harness will ride, but also in case it has to be used (e.g., fall down)...I'll see what the surgeon says...

As far as other equiment, you may need to look into a belt, or some accessory, that protects the stoma (e.g., a stoma guard) so in case somethine falls, it will hit the guard and not your stoma...

I don't have to wear all that heavy equipment as I'm not doing the "real" work...but if you can find the right stoma protection, and get equipment that can hang off of your shoulders. you should be okay (e.g., suspenders may be in the works for you instead of having your waist carry all that load).

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 6/25/2011 8:27 PM (GMT -6)   
thanks to all that replied... a pipefitter/utility worker we do underground and fitting work...never thought about the fall protection with the harnesses but will have to consider that when time comes....never heard of protection devices for stomas.....thanks

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 3332
   Posted 6/25/2011 8:40 PM (GMT -6)   
PIB, I don't know where you are, but the Crohn's and Colitis foundation in many places has a program where they can match you w/someone w/similar concerns. I am friends w/the woman who coordinates it in Boston, and I know that a while ago she had a police officer (or firefighter, can't remember which) call with similar concerns about doing his job w/an ostomy..... she called around to the people who run the other chapters and found someone for him to talk to. Might be worth it to contact them.....
48 years old, female.
2004 dx indeterminate colitis. Back and forth between Crohn's and UC dx. Many drugs, minimal success.
2010-11 Crazy skin and eye complications, high fevers, bad flaring. Out of good drug options, tired of scary drugs.
Feb 2011 -- proctocolectomy with permanent ileolostomy; abscess, blood clot. Still healing, still glad for the surgery

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 720
   Posted 6/25/2011 8:41 PM (GMT -6)   
I am 39 and had a permanent ileostomy in November. I am a park ranger (not law enforcement but education), and I lead hikes and nature programs for the public. For some of these I am out on the trails for 2-3 hours in all weather conditions carrying a pack. Often, I am presenting nature programs up on an outdoor amphitheater stage in front of an audience for multiple hours. Yesterday, I led a 5-hour training for volunteers in 85 degree temps, including an hour where I was in the river in waders demonstrating how to collect aquatic invertebrates. Talk about sweaty! The best part was, I didn't even think about going to the bathroom that whole time... I just emptied my pouch when I got back to the office. Not only am I constantly outside for work, I am into many outdoor adventure sports as well. My ileostomy and appliance have caused zero problems for me in my career so far. Construction might be more difficult lifting-wise, but perhaps there are some accommodations that can be made while you heal up and get strong again.

I did have some wound healing issues, and my body took about 4 months to heal instead of the normal two. Still, I was still able to go back to work at 2 months even with the wound. I just took it easy and asked my coworkers to help me with things. I did have some lifting restrictions for a while varying from 5 to 30 pounds (depending on the stage in my healing). Now at 7 months post-op I don't have any lifting restrictions, though I still do ask for help when lifting very heavy items. I also wear a hernia prevention belt from NU-Hope just in case. I was also fortunate in that my employer, supervisor and coworkers were very understanding of my situation.

My career was actually one of the reasons I chose a permanent ileo. My UC had become very severe and serious, and an infusion of Remicade gave me such bad joint pain that I couldn't even walk let alone do any of my outdoor work. I just wanted to have my colon out for good, learn to adapt to life with an appliance, and move ahead. The surgery has given me back everything I had hoped for: my health, my career and the ability to do the outdoor adventures I am so passionate for. I am so glad that I had the operation. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

You can check out my outdoor adventures post-op on my blog. It is listed in my profile.

Good luck!

-39 years old
-Officially diagnosed with UC in 2006, though had symptoms since 1999.
-Had mild/moderate symptoms continuously until severe flare in autumn 2010 which required 2-week hospital stay
-Took Asacol, Rowasa, Canasa and Prednisone to manage flares but meds stopped working
-Tried 1 dose of Remicade but had excruciating joint pain and discontinued
-Had permanent ileostomy surgery 11/8/2010

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 6/25/2011 8:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello, I'm a 43 year old man and I've had Poo Bear ( My bag) for only one month so far. I'm a garbage man and I had the same worries about my job as you do. I,ve been back to work now for three weeks on light duty. I go back to full strength on July 4th. I am now confident I'll be able to do my job without a problem. I look at it from two different angles. First, it will be one hundred times better then what I was going through with ulcerative colitis. Second, I know a guy who has had a bag for thirty years and he ran a dairy farm. It doesn't get much harder then that. You'll be just fine ma' boy.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 6/25/2011 10:43 PM (GMT -6)   
I think you will be fine! It might take you a few months to be able to get back to your full ability at work because of lifting at first but after you are fully healed you should be fine. I don't do construction but I am outside a lot doing random things and its hot here and have no problems!
UC for 8 years, before finally kicking its butt and having a permanent ileostomy April 17 2007!
-I have gone to find myself, if i get back before i return, keep me here-
No matter what kind of day you are having, take five minutes to sing loudly and dance like a fool!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1595
   Posted 6/27/2011 11:03 PM (GMT -6)   
One caution. My surgeon told me that 30% of people with an ileostomy come back with a hernia due to heavy lifting.

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