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Gardening – with a stoma

Finally, the freezing cold winter months are behind us and we can start to look forward to the longer days and warmer weather of summer. One of the best things about the summer months is spending time out in the garden again, whether it’s mowing the lawn, putting in new plants, or just generally tidying up your outdoor space.

It may be tempting to grab the nearest shovel, put on a pair of gardening gloves and head out to the garden, however, as an ostomate, you need to make sure you look after yourself. Even though it’s not the most difficult of activities, it’s important to ensure you aren’t putting any pressure on your back and the area around your stoma.

At first, it’s a good idea to set your sight on an hour or so of easy gardening such as clearing leaves or weeding. You can then gradually build up the amount of time you spend gardening from there. It’s also important that you remember to take a break, whether it’s for a brew, watching a bit of TV or admiring your work in the garden.   

Protecting yourself from injury

The most important thing to ensure, as an ostomate, is to make sure the area around your stoma is well protected. Another thing to be very careful about is pulling a muscle the area of your stoma. The good news is, it’s easier than you think to get yourself prepared.

As with any form of physical activity, one of the best ways to avoid injury is to do a warm-up beforehand. Warming up speeds up the blood flow to the muscles around your body, which helps decrease the chances of straining yourself. Bear in mind that everyone is different and you may need to warm-up certain areas of your body more than others.

Key things to be aware of

Now that you’ve completed your warm-up and have chosen a product that best suits you, it’s almost time to go outside and enjoy the gorgeous spring weather! Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind before you get cracking in the garden.

Living

It’s so easy to forget that your garden is full of items that are a lot heavier than they look, and when you’re ‘in the zone’ you may not even realise. If you do need to lift or carry something heavy, remember that it’s not worth it if it’s going to result in you hurting yourself. If you’re not 100% confident about something, don’t worry: just ask a family member or friend to help you out!

Pushing

It’s extremely likely that once the sun is shining, your grass is going to need a trim. Even though you may not think it, pushing a lawnmower puts pressure on the muscle around your stomach, so if do have access to a rotary mower, give that a go! Always keep in mind that you can ask for help if you’re struggling with anything.

Stretching

If you can avoid stretching to reach something, then do. Stretching too much can put a lot of pressure on the area around your stoma and can also increase the likelihood of injury. One way around this could be to rearrange your garden so that you don’t need to lean as much to carry out the tasks you need to do. A simple example would be to create more space between your plants to make them easier to access and take away the need to stretch.

Bending

It’s near enough in possible to do gardening without having to bend down. This is fine, but you can bend down in a way that reduces the risk of injuring your stomach muscles and stoma area. For example, rather than bending over at your waist, try bending down slowly at your knees. Another way around this is to get someone to fit raised flower beds, this means you won’t need to spend as much time bending over.

Join a local gardening group

If you’re a lover of gardening, have you thought about joining your local gardening group? With hundreds of clubs throughout the UK, you’ll be able to find one near you. Members of these clubs all chip in to help each other out and they’re a great way to get some useful tips and advice in a social atmosphere. The Royal Horticultural Society website features a list of gardening clubs across the UK, so you can find one near you.

Oakmed bags, for comfort and security

Here at Oakmed, we offer a range of bags and stoma products that are both comfortable and secure, no matter what activity you’re carrying out.

Our Primo range would be a great option for carrying out activities such as gardening. This range of colostomy and ileostomy bags are designed by patients and healthcare professionals to offer the perfect fit with extra adhesion and assured security.

For Urostomates, our Urostomy bags feature a unique figure of eight shape for increased capacity and minimum bulk. Additionally, the new ‘anti-twist’ shape, paired with the soft bung closure, makes them the most comfortable urostomy bags available.

There’s no denying the fact that gardening can be hard work, but it’s also extremely enjoyable and rewarding. As long as you make sure you look after yourself, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your time in the garden this spring/summer.


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