Having an ostomy can change how you live your life, but it’s up to you whether you want to be public about it or not. You may also become comfortable with it over time and decide to wear the pouch outside of your clothing, especially in situations where you would otherwise be exposed to your abdomen.
Patients usually drain their pouching systems more frequently right after surgery as their stoma (surgically-created hole) shrinks. They should empty their appliance when it is about one-third full and change the bag every three or four days.
Many cancer patients find that living with an ostomy has changed their lives in positive ways. They may feel less pain and have more energy. They may be able to travel more or take part in activities that they were not able to before their surgery. For some patients, an ostomy is permanent and for others, it is temporary to protect a new connection or give a diseased colon time to heal.