Working with a stoma

Returning to work after stoma surgery means adjusting to a new routine and managing a few extra things during the day. Depending on the type of surgery you had, you’ll be back at it in about 8 to 12 weeks – plenty of time to plan your smooth return.

Here are a few tips to help you ease back into the workweek:


  • Have a chat with your employer about a return-to-work plan. It could involve part-time hours or lighter duties to help you slide back into your role smoothly.
  • You don’t have to spill the beans to your colleagues about your stoma. Everyone’s different, so navigate your stoma work journey your way.
  • It’s a good idea to let at least one person at work know about your stoma. That way, if you run into any issues, need a hand, or just want someone to chat with, you’ve got a trusted ally.
  • Give yourself some trial runs – you might find that your new morning routine takes a bit longer than expected.
  • Think about your work clothing or uniform – you may want or need a different size or fit after your surgery.
  • Scope out the facilities at work to make sure you’re prepared for changing your bag during the day.
  • Get a changing bag that you can discreetly take to the toilet with you.
  • Stash some stoma care supplies at work for those unexpected emergencies.
  • Think about wearing a support belt if your job involves heavy lifting – it can help you steer clear of injury and even prevent a hernia from developing around your stoma.