Ostomy Community
390 Members
Avatar universal

long plane flights and sci

I am a paraplegic with an ileostomy. I use a wafer and detachable bag system. I want to do a 12 hour plane flight. It is not possible for me to do unaided transfers from the plane seat to aisle chair. Most flights are overnight and I need to empty gag 3 or more times during the time that I'm trapped in my seat. I assume that I will have fellow passengers, who are complete strangers pressed against my elbows on either side.
Airlines require assisted passengers to sign a declaration that they will not engage in any activity that may cause offence to fellow passengers, that includes bad smells.
I do not know how I can empty the ostomy bag (messy and smelly) or change bag (messy and smelly) while imprisoned in an tiny aircraft seat during a long flight.
Has anybody solved this problem?
3 Responses
1974283 tn?1425612724
The best I can think of is having assistance to the washroom. I don't know how you would manage that.. I had an ostomy on a 6hr flight and I had to empty (a lot. I had the stomach flu) and no one complained about a smell. I also didn't have to change my bag on the plane though. I recommend putting a new bag on shorty before you go on your trip.. That always helps me (I'm prone to leaks).

I wish I could be more helpful! I'm sorry.
612876 tn?1355518095
Check with your health insurance about coverage for a "flight nurse." That's an RN that your insurance pays to meet you at the airport and fly with you. They do many types of skilled nursing tasks such as monitoring feeding pumps, running IVs, administering medication, etc. It's *possible* that they also can do toileting care, which in your case would be bag changes and/or assisting with transfers. If your personal health insurance does not cover flight nursing, you can also look into your options for travel insurance. I know one of my relatives had a flight nurse covered by travel insurance to accompany her in travel home from overseas after her release from that country's hospital with a badly broken leg.

The only other thing that I can think of is to discuss the issue with your physician. It's unlikely, but I suppose possible, that they might have an idea for something that would either "clear you out" like they do for colonoscopy before the flight so you'd have minimal if any stool output or (perhaps more likely?) could give you something to constipate you intentionally just for 12-24 hours. I know when I had a fecal microbiota transplant, the hospital gave me something to stay constipated for 24 hours so I wouldn't "lose" my transplant before it "took." I can't say whether they would be willing to do something of that nature for travel purposes or not for sure, but it never hurts to ask your doctor/surgeon's advice!
Avatar universal
Thanks for your very thoughtful suggestions. I think that I'm moving towards a solution for a long flight. Slowing down the digestion was suggested by my gastric surgeon, also I've heard of extensions which can be added to a standard bag - sort of long range tanks! In my neck of the woods, travelling with an RN can be tax deductible. No harm in trying the health insurance  folk although if it was a holiday trip I don't think they would be interested!
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Learn which OTC medications can help relieve your digestive troubles.
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
Discover common causes of and remedies for heartburn.
This common yet mysterious bowel condition plagues millions of Americans
Don't get burned again. Banish nighttime heartburn with these quick tips
Get answers to your top questions about this pervasive digestive problem