The lowdown on ostomy bag waistbands and support belts

I’m a big advocate of wearing a waistband as part of everyday clothing if you have an ostomy and so below I’ve provided a comprehensive summary of the different ones available for you to try out.

I realise some people don’t like wearing a waistband – as they perhaps don’t like the feel of them on the skin – but the pros far outweigh the cons for me and you soon get use to the feel of wearing a waistband, most of which are very comfortable, lightweight and breathable.

The majority of waistbands are quick and easy to put on, although there are some ‘advanced’ waistbands now available such as the Stealth Belt which take a little getting used to.

The benefits of a waistband are numerous in my experience:

  • It 100% helps keep the bag flatter and more disguised under clothes
  • It can help muffle stoma noises and bag ruffling sounds
  • It reduces hernia risk
  • It can make you feel more confident about your ostomy in general and more secure, which is priceless

I personally wear a waistband everyday, but do take it off at night as it’s nice to have a little break from it. Obviously, I don’t shower in my waistband but most are waterproof so there is nothing stopping you from doing so.

There are different ways and personal preferences involved in how you chose to wear your waistband – for instance, you could either tuck your waistband underneath your trousers, or alternatively wear it over the top of your trousers with your ostomy bag also free to dangle over your trouser line. The choice is your’s.

For me, I wear waistbands (and my ostomy bag) over the top of my trousers to avoid my ostomy bag being constricted/strangled by my trouser belt, as when this happens waste can’t properly get to the bottom of the bag, causing it to bulge out more. But everyone is different and I appreciate you may not have this problem.

For the guys reading this, you may have heard about men’s ostomy boxer shorts as well. In my experience these are not as comfortable to wear as waistbands. But if you want to try them out then the best ones you can get in the UK are offered by the White Rose Collection.

I hope you all find the below list useful and I will do a follow up article soon on hernia preventing support belts (however some of the waistbands I mention below do provide lightweight anti-hernia support).

Comfizz Waistband

These are available free on the NHS and come in numerous colours (white, black and beige). This used to be my number one choice of waistband as it’s very quick and easy to put on and wear. Overall, they are comfortable and have stretchy material, but I find the material is quite thick for a waistband and so not the best when it comes to breathability and concealability under clothing. My Score – 6/10.

Pelican Waistband

This is a bit more of an advanced waistband, also available free on the NHS, and features a little pocket to tuck the end of your ostomy bag into. It is actually quite tricky at first to figure out how to put it on as it involves pushing your bag through a hole in the waistband and then folding the waistband down. Please watch this video to see what I mean. Once you’ve mastered how to wear it, I find it’s a really good everyday waistband that is more comfortable than the Comfizz equivalent as the material seems better quality and it does a better job of flattening your bag under clothing. My Score – 7/10.

Stealth Belt Vertical Stingray

Now, for me the Stealth Belts are simply brilliant, revolutionary and the best! But first the downside – they cost around £100 and if you live in the UK there is a shipping cost as well to factor in to import them from America. But it is worth it.

Here is a video of me wearing my Stealth Belt ‘Vertical Stingray’ and as the name suggests it is more of a belt type design than a typical waistband. This makes it well suited for wearing when you need to tuck your shirt into your trousers (at work for instance).

It also involves a zippered compartment for the bag to be placed. This front end I find I can wear tucked into my trousers without it constricting/strangling my ostomy bag at all, which is a big bonus and plus point!

Overall, this belt’s material is very comfortable, lightweight and it does a better job than any other waistband in concealing my ostomy under clothing. So that’s a massive bonus and worth the money alone in my opinion. My score – 10/10.

Stealth Belt also offers a belt for those than prefer to where their ostomy bag horizontally (madness, I hear you say!). Obviously, this is only an option for people that wear a two-piece system that actually allows for it to move into a horizontal position. But in my experience, the vertical belt is better anyway as it is less of a faff, you don’t have to wear a two-piece system, and it conceals under clothing better.

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The Stealth Belt ‘vertical stingray’ is more of a belt than a wrap, and is what I wear everyday.

Support X Waistband

This also doubles up as a level 3 hernia support so is very good for wearing when exercising. ‘Level 3’ simply means it provides ‘light support’ so you would need something more heavy duty if weight lifting, for instance. But for light exercise, this belt or tube as they refer to it, is great.

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The Support X ostomy tube is really good quality.

It is a really high quality belt, but to get one – for free I should add – you actually have to make an appointment for one of their consultants to come round and speak to you at home first. And there is also a 4-5 week waiting time before you will receive the ‘tube’. There is also a limit of three tubes per year that you can request.

But once you have been through the admin hurdles, this waistband features excellent elastic grip and support. It is designed to wear a little tighter than regular waistbands to help support abdominal muscles, perfect for the gym. My Score 9/10.

Glico Italy

As the name suggest, this is an Italian ostomy clothing maker, so these waistbands are not available on the NHS. However, they are a great option to buy if you want a waistband featuring a funky design or bright colour, perfect for the beach for instance, which Italians get to enjoy more than us Brits! It’s Sea-line range include numerous different coloured and designed ostomy wraps. It’s worth following them on Instagram too to check out their latest releases. My Score – 8/10.

Vanilla Blush

Vanilla Blush is a very popular ostomy clothing maker and produces excellent quality women’s wear, but in my experience it’s not so good for men. They don’t do a men’s standard waistband. Instead they do men’s ostomy boxer shorts, which I have tried and unfortunately they are not very good quality and uncomfortable. My Score – N/A

3 comments on this article

  1. Gary cure

    Helpful article Tom…I think I need to buy the stealth. I’ve looked on the website and NB note that I need the stingray. I’m confused with the flange options, can you help?

    Thanks

    Gary

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