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How to talk about your ostomy and dealing with mixed emotions

How to talk about your ostomy and dealing with mixed emotions

Written & provided by: Coloplast Canada


It’s not unusual to be emotionally affected or even depressed after having an ostomy. Talking to others about your ostomy may help with mixed emotions, but it may be difficult to initially start the conversation.

Reading through this blog post by Coloplast Canada you will learn some strategies for dealing with those emotions and tips on talking about your ostomy

Dealing with Negative emotions:

Going through the changes you have been through is not just a physical, but an emotional challenge as well.

Adjusting to a new life situation can be challenging. This is true for most everyone – not just for people with an ostomy. Most people see their body as their physical identity, and when that changes radically, as with ostomy surgery, it can shake up your understanding of who you are overall.

Allow yourself time to grieve

A physical change like having an ostomy can create feelings of alienation, and most people will have some level of struggle with accepting the ostomy as a part of them.

With time the feeling of alienation should go away, but until it does, it is important that you allow yourself to grieve over what you have lost. Grief can be a positive and necessary part of the process – and not something you need to suppress or fear.

How can I be myself again?

When you are going through the emotional healing process, it is very normal to begin to worry if you will ever be able to free yourself from negative thoughts.

Try to allow yourself some mental rest by not putting pressure on yourself to feel a certain way or expect to feel like yourself again in a particular time frame. But just as the physical healing process after your surgery took its time, so does the emotional healing.

Are you making progress?

If you feel you are not making progress, you should consider seeking professional medical support. Your doctor or clinician can help point you in the right direction.

If you are experiencing extreme stress or a feeling of hopelessness, you should seek professional help immediately. If you are unsure of what to do, call your doctor or clinician and let them know as honestly as possible how you feel.

Talk to others

Talking to others about your ostomy helps with healing and accepting the changes your body has been through. Also, talking to others about your ostomy can be difficult for many reasons. We put together some ostomy conversation tips to help make talking about your ostomy easier.

  1. Keep a positive attitude

How you act and how you say what you want to say will greatly influence the outcome of the conversation. So even though you're nervous, take a deep breath and remain positive. Your listener will most likely be positive and feel more relaxed.

A bit of humor or lightheartedness can also help ease the tension for both you and your surroundings and help you control the tone of the conversation.


  1. Choose who you wish to share with

When discussing your ostomy surgery with others, you put yourself in a somewhat vulnerable position.

If someone is not giving you the opportunity to express your thoughts and feelings but rather just giving you advice, you may wish to end that conversation.


  1. What to say to children

If there are young children or grandchildren in your life, your first thought might be that they are too young to understand. However, not telling them can make them think a situation is more serious than it really is, and children tend to cope well if they are given the information in a simple and honest way.


  1. How to tell teenagers

It is not uncommon for teenagers or even older children that they react with anger or withdrawal when confronted with a parent's health condition or surgery.

Some parents choose to tell their teenagers only key points about their surgery, but remember that despite the unfavorable reactions, it is still important for them to hear your open and honest answers to their questions. Also, keep in mind that any anger is likely concern for you and based on their worry over your health and safety.


Talking about your emotions and your ostomy are difficult conversations to have. In a safe environment and with people you trust it can also be rewarding. These tips are designed to help you start a conversation about your ostomy and deal with negative emotions. Just a reminder if you are experiencing extreme stress or feelings of hopelessness, you should seek professional help immediately.

If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to visit for great resources and tools.

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