DAN Medical Frequently Asked Questions

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Crohns Disease and Diving

I have a new student with a history of Crohn's disease who has had a colostomy for 20 years. This student is in excellent health, has had no further surgery and is on no medications. Would having this in any way restrict this individual from participating in scuba diving?

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the digestive tract, which can lead to bowel obstruction, perforation, bleeding, and other complications. Surgery is sometimes necessary to remove the affected area of bowel and a colostomy (surgical formation of an artificial colon opening) is sometimes performed.
Individuals who are free of any symptoms of Crohn's disease should be able to dive without difficulty. An individual with an ostomy (an artificial opening) is at no greater risk for injury while scuba diving than any other diver. However, the Koch pouch, which is airtight and requires a catheter to relieve pressure, is a contraindication to diving.