The Importance of Staying Hydrated with a Urostomy

March 07,2023 |
Man drinking a bottle of water at the gym.

There are several different types of ostomy surgeries performed across the world. While a colostomy and ileostomy divert solid waste out and away from the body, a urostomy diverts the flow of urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. It’s a surgical procedure in which the bladder is removed, and the ureters are attached to a stoma—an opening created in the abdomen. This allows urine to drain directly from the kidneys into a pouch outside of the body. This urostomy pouch is affixed to the stoma opening and needs to be regularly emptied throughout the day. It’s important to understand that urostomy surgeries are typically only performed in situations where the bladder is non-functional, making them lifesaving procedures. If you or a loved one has recently undergone a urostomy, consider the following information regarding the importance of staying hydrated.


Why Is Hydration Important When Living with a Urostomy?

Since your bladder is removed in a urostomy, urine is stored outside of the body. This can make many people who have undergone a urostomy hesitant to drink enough water to stay hydrated. The more water you drink, the more urine output there is, and the more often you have to change your ostomy pouching system. However, hydration is essential for healthy living, especially for individuals with an ostomy.

Drinking enough water helps prevent dehydration, maintains kidney function, and regulates the concentration and flow of urine. Adequate hydration can also prevent urine from becoming too concentrated and causing skin irritation or discomfort around the stoma.

Depending on your activity level, where you live, and your health, it’s recommended to drink at least six to eight glasses of fluid per day. This might increase if you live in a particularly warm area, during summers, or are getting a lot of exercise each day. It’s also recommended to avoid drinks that can contribute to dehydration, such as caffeine and alcohol. These can still be enjoyed in moderation, but balancing their intake with water is important. You will also want to be mindful of timing when drinking fluids, as too much right before bedtime may increase your risk of overnight leaks.

Benefits of Staying Hydrated with a Urostomy

People with a urostomy don’t have a complete urinary system, making hydration especially important. As mentioned, water can help keep your kidneys functioning their best. It helps flush out waste products and encourages healthy kidney function without putting too much strain on your system. Hydration also helps regulate the flow and concentration of urine, reducing the risk of complications such as kidney stones or infections.

Another key benefit of staying hydrated with a urostomy is the reduction in odor. Proper hydration can reduce the odor of urine and improve the overall smell of a urostomy bag. There are also several products that can help with this if you’re struggling. Finally, adequate hydration is essential for overall health and can improve energy levels, skin health, and digestion.


How to Stay Hydrated with a Urostomy

While it might seem fairly straightforward, many people go through their days dehydrated without even realizing it. To help you take a proactive approach, consider some of the following tips for staying hydrated with a urostomy.

Track Fluid Intake

Keeping a record of the amount of fluid you drink can help you ensure you are getting enough. Luckily, there are several ways that you can do this. One of the easiest ways is to use one of the many apps that are available on your smartphone. Every time you drink something, just enter the oz or ml into the app and it will track it for you. You can also track water intake using a journal, if you prefer to use paper. You can also choose to carry around a large water bottle that fits your recommended daily intake so you can visually see how much more you need to drink to remain hydrated.

Keep a Water Bottle on Hand

Carrying a water bottle with you can remind you to drink regularly. Having something on hand at all times just makes it a lot more convenient to stay hydrated. By having a bottle readily available, you’re more likely to take sips when you’re thirsty, rather than waiting until you feel dehydrated. For even more hydration, have a water bottle with a built-in straw which can cause individuals to drink more water throughout the day.

Choose the Right Beverages

Water is the best thing to drink for hydration, but sometimes that can get a little boring. The most hydrating beverages aside from plain water are electrolyte-infused water, coconut water, and even herbal teas. Sports drinks can be good too, as long as they don’t have excessive amounts of added sugars. These beverages help replace fluid and electrolytes lost through sweating and other bodily functions, promoting hydration.

Other beverages, such as fruit juices, soft drinks, and tea can also contribute to hydration. However, they may contain added sugars or caffeine which can have a diuretic effect, leading to dehydration in the long run.

Add Flavor to Your Water

There are also several ways you can add flavor to your water, making it more enjoyable to drink. Some of the best options include adding fruit slices or herbs. Add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or other fruits to a pitcher or bottle of water for a refreshing boost. You can also incorporate soaked fruits, herbs, or spices. To get the most out of these, leave them overnight to infuse the water with flavor. Additionally, you may benefit from some of the naturally flavored carbonated waters available in stores, especially if you need some variety in your beverage intake.

Eat Hydrating Fruits and Vegetables

You can also boost hydration by choosing your fruits and vegetables wisely. Many have very high water content, which does actually make a difference in your daily hydration. For example, watermelon and strawberries are both over 90% water, cucumbers are almost entirely water, and even bell peppers have high water content. Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables to get the most out of your hydration efforts.

Don’t Forget About Electrolytes

Electrolytes also play an important role in hydration because they regulate the balance of fluids in the body. Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium that help control various bodily functions. When you’re dehydrated, the balance of electrolytes in your body can become disrupted, which can lead to symptoms such as muscle cramps, fatigue, and dizziness. Therefore, focus on foods and drinks that help replenish your electrolytes, such as bananas, oranges, potatoes, spinach, yogurts, salmon, coconut water, electrolyte-enhanced water, and low-sugar sports drinks.

Limit Dehydrating Beverages

There are also some beverages that may actually have a dehydrating effect on the body. Although you can enjoy these in moderation, try to limit them as much as you can. This includes alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and drinks that are high in sugar. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, meaning they increase urine production and can contribute to dehydration. Drinks high in sugar pull water from the body into the intestines to help digest the sugar, which results in dehydration.

Check Urine Output

Another way to gauge how hydrated you are is to regularly inspect the color of your urine in your ostomy pouch. Ideally, the output should be a very pale or translucent yellowish color. If it’s any darker than this, you should increase fluid intake. Always talk to your doctor if you have any questions about urine color or notice anything strange.

Talk to Your Doctor

At the end of the day, staying hydrated may be easier for some people than it is for others. You might feel like you’re unable to drink enough fluid without causing disruptions to your day. However, hydration is essential, so although it may take some getting used to, you should continue drinking plenty of fluids. If you have any concerns about hydration or fluid intake, speak with your doctor or ostomy nurse for personalized advice.

Byram Healthcare is dedicated to enhancing the daily lives of those with ostomies by providing easy access to high-quality ostomy supplies. Our comprehensive ostomy product catalog and convenient delivery options ensure that you always have the necessary supplies to change your pouch, no matter where you are. To learn more about how Byram is committed to doing our part to improve the lives of those living with ostomies, reach out to us today.