Going Back to Work After Stoma Surgery

With a little preparation, returning to work after stoma surgery should go smoothly. Get tips for making your return to work easier. 


Learn hints and tips for going back to work with a stoma.

It’s natural to be a little anxious about returning to work after stoma surgery. Once you’re recovered and are ready to return to your job, all you need to do is take a few simple and practical steps to make sure you are prepared and can protect your stoma at work.

When to return to work

Seek advice from your stoma care nurse on when it would be most appropriate for you to return to work following stoma surgery. Before returning to work, you may want to talk to your employer about the possibility of starting work on a part-time basis for the first two to four weeks. Most employers are happy to help if they can.

General tips on working with a stoma

Having a stoma should not restrict you in the type or choice of work you do. It makes sense, however, to follow some simple, common-sense guidelines:

  • Eat and drink regularly during the work day
  • If you do heavy lifting at work, consider wearing an abdominal support belt
  • If you work on a building or construction site, you may want to wear a protective shield over your stoma 
  • Keep a spare pouch change kit at work

Ask your stoma care nurse about belts, shields, and other products that may be helpful in your particular work environment.

Talking to your work coworkers about your stoma

If you’re anxious or worried about talking to your colleagues when returning to work after stoma surgery, don’t be. Sharing information about your stoma surgery is a personal choice. No one at work needs to know about your stoma if you don’t want them to. If you wish to tell some of your coworkers about your surgery, decide whom you wish to tell and how much you want them to know.