From what I can work out, it's a very good idea to do some abdominal work especially for those of us who have an ileo.. although I guess it will depend on the individual, the type of surgery you've had and the condition you were in prior to surgery.
I'm NOT talking about traditional sit ups and crunches though, rather more physio based pelvic tilts and stability exercises (planks etc) using a fitball etc - simple engagement of the deep transverse abs and also pelvic floor too. At this early stage post surgery it's very basic and gentle. I'm being very cautious as after 4 surgeries and 16 months out of training, my stomach is in tatters too! It's very important though to take it VERY easy especially at this stage.
Monika - if you get in touch with the IA in the UK they will provide you with a 'post operation' sheet to start some basic exercises.
From what I can see, this is a very misunderstood area and there is very little information for any of us after surgery to get back to health and fitness. I think doctors sometimes err on the side of caution and tell us to avoid exercise when in fact, the right type of exercises will help.
Immediately post surgery it's just about engaging the abdominals and core stability muscles and be very aware of posture, keeping your tummy muscles engaged and strong even when you're just walking about. After about 6 weeks you can start to think about gentle strengthening and to progress a bit more - try a gentle plank on the knees (google it) for 10 seconds, rest, then repeat. It all depends on the individual, the surgery you've had and the condition you were in prior to surgery.. so please be careful.
Abdominal and core work is so important - even more so after we've all had surgery - to not only strengthen the stomach, but also keep the body in balance and prevent back pain and other injuries caused by weak abdominals. There's a big research study in Ireland about back pain in ileostomates and it seems mainly due to lack of abdominal strength.
I like the comfizz pants that blueheron uses too and find they offer more support especially when running. I guess it cant' hurt to wear a belt, so if you find one works for you and it helps you feel more secure then great. Most of my running and cycling kit is pretty tight so offers some sort of support.
Just go easy and get advice from a good physio or personal trainer who knows what they're talking about and perhaps check with your surgeon or nurse first. Of course if I end up with a hernia after all this I shall eat my words ;-)
Sarah - 39 year old mum of 2 boys, runner/triathlete, health and fitness writer from UK
June 2010 - Peritonitis caused by perforated diverticulitis. Emergency surgery.
August 2010 - Sigmoid colectomy and temp loop ileostomy
October 2010 - Ileostomy reversal - but didn't go well and after 10 months diagnosed colonic dysmotility due to surgery/nerve damage
July 2011 - Permanent end Ileostomy