When you have an ostomy, going to bed isn’t quite as simple as it is for most people. There are a number of factors that you have to consider: What way should I lay? Is sleeping like this going to cause my bag to leak? Will I wake up if my bag gets full? Even a year out from surgery, these thoughts still go through my head fairly often.
And the truth is, I have leaks more often while I am sleeping then when I am awake, so I know it can be an issue for ostomates. In my experience, these are the things to take into account before hitting the sheets:
When you eat your last meal of the day. I try to be done eating any meal by 7:30 on normal weekdays when I’m in bed earlier. I would actually prefer to be done by 6:30, but that doesn’t always happen. If you eat too close to bedtime, you will find a very full bag in the morning or sometime in the middle of the night. Something I have realized recently is that, for me, it actually helps if I eat just a little something small about a half-hour before I go to bed. When you eat, it triggers your digestive system to continue moving things through, so eating a little something can help move some things out of your system before going to bed.
What you eat before bed. I realize this is going to be very different for different people, but I can tell you about my experience. I have issues with anything that will significantly thicken my output. For me, thick output + laying down = leak. Rice and nuts are the most difficult for me. I’m fine in small quantities, but eating a lot before bed usually doesn’t end well. Alcohol can also cause issues. Now, if I’m having a few drinks, I make sure that I drink at least the same amount of water as alcoholic drinks. Just a few weeks ago, I had two glasses of wine, but didn’t follow it up with water. My output was so thick that night that I ended up with a pretty bad leak. (And waking up in the middle of the night to change your bag after drinking the night before is not fun…)