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Crohn's Disease Forum » Surgery » Stoma Subforum » Flying and Illeostomy


02-14-2013, 06:44 AM   #1
gracifer
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Flying and Illeostomy

I know I keep perhaps asking stupid questions, but I was wondering if it's ok to fly with an illeostomy? I was thinking it would be OK and then talking to a none-stoma friend, who brought up the whole fact that she thought if you flew, what with high altitude and whatnot the bag could blow up, now I cant stop thinking about it.. Is it true or am I just being slightly necrotic?

Last edited by gracifer; 02-14-2013 at 09:55 AM.
02-14-2013, 06:51 AM   #2
annawato
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Gracifer firstly there are NO silly questions on this forum. Ask what you like.
secondly it is perfectly safe flying with an ileostomy. Lots of people here have done it. Just make sure you have with you everything you need to do a bag change in the unlikely event you spring a leak. But flying will not cause a leak. Make sure your bag/wafer is precut cos you won't be able to take scissors onto the plane. In fact take two pre cut bags plus your usual wipes etc. Everything you usually use when you change everything. Other people here may have more advice - I haven't flown yet with an ileo but am hoping to at the end of Feb if my wound is all better.
Where are you off too? Is it a holiday?
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02-14-2013, 07:47 AM   #3
PsychoJane
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Hi Gracifer!

No worries for the flying part! All Anna's advices are good. To be honest, when I fly, I am more worried about blood clots than I am about my bag and well, I just take time to shake my legs and walk around and everything is fine. I had to change my appliance once on a plane. I had invested too much faith in the fact my bag would survive another day... This is not to be advised, turbulence are somewhat annoying when you try to stick everything together but really, it is still possible.

I would suggest you to make sure you are wearing a new bag that has a filter. That way, the blowing effect is smoother cause yes, you can sometime see it blowing. Nothing to do with a risk of exploding everywhere though. If you aver carried a bag of chip on board, you notice how it can get blown, well... it goes the same, but way milder.

So yeah, just enjoy the flight, don't worry too much and have everything ready just in case =)
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02-14-2013, 10:39 AM   #4
2thFairy
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Anna and Jane, good advice. Add that to the Good Advice sticky.
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02-14-2013, 11:52 AM   #5
Nyx
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I fly on a monthly basis and have never had a problem beyond security at the airport. For some reason (and it's not because I have an ostomy) I get patted down by security almost every time and they always ask what the bulge in my pants is...lol The last time I flew I actually got taken into the back room for a more thorough examination and they actually wanted to see my "medical device". The funny part was when the girl touched it and I freaked her out by saying "you know you just touched my intestine, right?" LOL The look on her face was priceless and well worth the side trip to the little room in the back!

But anyway, as for the flight itself, I can't add any more advice to what's already been given here. I've never had my bag blow up, or had to change on the plane (like Jane mentioned, I always make sure I have a fresh appliance on the day I fly). It's easy peasy.
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02-14-2013, 02:35 PM   #6
Misty-Eyed
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I LOVE flying with mine! No pain, no needing to fart, no making sure I've been to the loo 100 times before I get on the plane! And my bag didn't inflate at all! Although as a hint, put some toilet paper in the toilet to empty your bag out onto. Helps with the flushing
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02-14-2013, 10:52 PM   #7
Susan2
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I, too, have flown lots of times since I've had my stoma and mine are long trips because it takes ages to get from Australia to anywhere else.

As others have said, put on a new bag before you fly and empty just before you get on the plane. I always ask for an aisle seat just in case I need to get out in a hurry. My bag has never inflated, except with output and I take a Imodium or two before I fly so the output is not too liquid.

The only time that I was questioned after being patted down was in Jordan (not getting onto a plane, but going into a shopping complex - they are very security conscious). There they take ladies into a separate room to be patted down and the woman who did it was very interested in my stoma bag.

Very good advice from Michelle using toilet paper. I only discovered that from experience when the flushing had little or no effect.
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02-15-2013, 06:34 AM   #8
gracifer
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Thanks everyone you've all kind of put my mind at rest!! I've only had 'the mollusk' for 2 months so it's getting a bit getting used to, especially with some things!! I just had images of the high altitude making it blow up and explode.. which would be very embarrassing lol.
Anna - I'm going to Milan, for a birthday treat with the parentals (turning 23 - ARGH!) but it will only be like an hour and a half plane journey! (Not that great with flying but still..)
Thanks for the tip on using toilet paper!! Hopefully it will be such a short flight that I won't need to empty it and can just wait until I arrive.
02-15-2013, 07:24 AM   #9
annawato
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Have a fabulous time and Happy 23rd birthday. Enjoy.
Wish I was 23 again!
anna
02-15-2013, 09:48 AM   #10
Nyx
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Happy Birthday! Have a great time in Milan
02-15-2013, 01:35 PM   #11
Crohn'sFor Life
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I have an ileostomy and never have had a problem flying. I travel all the time now.

I definitely had problems pre-ostomy. I would always be running to the toilet. In fact, I was afraid to eat and or drink anything while on the plane.

As for the TSA, they always check my ostomy for explosives, and they question me about my scissors in my carry-on.
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02-15-2013, 01:45 PM   #12
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happy birthday and have a great holiday x
02-15-2013, 01:54 PM   #13
Hobbes650
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Hi gracifer! I'm sorry, but I had a good laugh at your question. That's the first I've heard of anyone worried that their ostomy bag would explode. That would be pretty cool and i can only envision the look on the face of the passenger next to you when that happens.

I fly quite a bit and never had a problem. For some reason though, on long flights EVERYONE wants to use the bathroom at the same time, so I try to make sure I empty mine before the line starts. Happy birthday, have a great time and don't worry!
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Ulcerative Colitis 1986
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02-15-2013, 01:57 PM   #14
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Happy birthday hope you have a great holiday
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02-15-2013, 04:57 PM   #15
Susan2
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... For some reason though, on long flights EVERYONE wants to use the bathroom at the same time, so I try to make sure I empty mine before the line starts...
You're right about that. I try to get the flight attendants to take my tray before the tea and coffee so that I can get out and go to the bathroom before the rush starts. And you get good at judging when to go.

Unfortunately, there are things that you can't foresee. I have been caught in the bathroom a couple of times when I had just started emptying my bag and we flew into some disturbance. There was the announcement about returning to your seats, then the flight attendant started banging on the door, with me calling out "I can't come yet. Just wait"...
02-18-2013, 04:45 AM   #16
robbo87
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Gracifer I had the same reservations when I first flew with my Ileostomy last year. But it was fine.

I got a little travel certificate online that simply explains about me having an ostomy on my stomach in a few different languages but I never needed it. I did get patted down at the airport on the way out but I just quietly said that I had a bag on my stomach, and he was fine. I would imagine it is something that they see quite a lot so they know how to deal with it.
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02-18-2013, 11:15 AM   #17
mbishop
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Gracifer,

The flight altitude for commercial airlines doesn't make a huge difference. They all have pressurized cabins that keep the effective altitude anywhere between 5000 and 7000 feet. The only time you would ever have a rapid depressurization would be if the plane experienced a major issue. If that happens, the plane will descend very rapidly (to below 12,500 feet) to keep everyone safe (other issues, like hypoxia can occur in that situation also - hence the emergency oxygen masks).

On general aviation planes, they may go up to 14,000 or so without pressurization (practically speaking, most stay below 10,000 to avoid O2 requirements and for performance reasons). Because the pressurization and depressurization on these planes is more rapid (and can be a greater differential), you can have pressure-related issues from GI symptoms to bag expansion. Just make sure the bag is bled of any excess gas prior to takeoff and you should be fine even on higher GA flights.
02-22-2013, 07:01 PM   #18
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Hi there, I use to worry but never had a problem except for the time I waited too long before headed to the BR and the plane started its approach. I had to stay put and I bounced around a bit but everything stayed where it belonged. I enjoy flying now that I don't have to get a seat right next to the on board BR. Take care Bob E from the foot Hills of Maine
03-03-2013, 06:24 AM   #19
Jaano711
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Hi gracifier

Have a great trip.
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