How do I tell others about my ostomy?

Jul 12, 2021

It can be difficult to share the news about your ostomy – I know!  I was able to talk generally about “my condition” until a sportswriter “leaked” (no pun intended) the reality of my ostomy.  At first, I was mortified. But it actually turned out to be a gift as it got everything out in the open.   No one is going to be able to tell that you have an ostomy by looking at you, and I completely understand your hesitancy but trust me – listen to my friend Jearlean Taylor who is a double ostomate (colostomy and ileostomy) as well as a fashion model who is beautiful both inside and out!  I want you to hear what she has to say about one of her greatest fears – what other people would think about her after ostomy surgery. says in her video below, you will be pleasantly surprised when you find out “what people really think!”   Here are some tips for sharing your ostomy journey with others: 

  1. Your surgery was a result of a very serious condition and saved your life.   
  2. Most people have no idea what an ostomy is and a simple way to explain it is to say the surgery created an alternate route for you to empty your bladder or your bowels.  That may be enough information and If that opens the door to questions, feel confident explaining as much as you are comfortable with sharing.  At any point, feel free to say, “Thank you so much for taking an interest in my life but that’s all I’m comfortable sharing right now.” 
  3. Even though you are likely nervous, being positive will help put the listener at ease. 
  4. Remind yourself throughout the conversation that your ostomy doesn’t define you and it doesn’t change who you are.  Trust that the listener has a genuine concern for you and wants to help.