Living with a urostomy – advice

Living with a urostomy – advice

Everyday life

What diet should a person with a urostomy follow?

Having a urostomy does not mean you need a special diet – first of all, you should eat healthy and varied foods. However, in order to guarantee the proper functioning of your urostomy, try to observe the following recommendations in your daily diet:

• drink at least 2 litres of fluids a day to prevent urine concentration (which increases the risk of developing urinary stones and has a negative effect on the catheter patency),
• limit the consumption of oxalates and red meat, which promote the formation of urolithiasis,
• control calcium in the diet – excess amounts are associated with the risk of urolithiasis, while its deficiency is the cause of osteoporosis,
• reduce the amount of salt due to the risk of developing hypertensive disease, especially in older people,
• in the case of metabolic disorders, use alkalising substances (e.g. sodium bicarbonate – baking soda, potassium citrate with citric acid – Potacytrin, sodium citrate with citric acid – Cytrolit, Uralit),
• introduce a urine alkalising diet – dairy products, carrots, lettuce, beets, celery, nuts, cauliflower, alkaline mineral water,
• control the colour and appearance of the urine, remember that certain foods may naturally alter the colour of the urine, e.g. beets, iron preparations, some medicines,
• your diet should include foods that lower the urinary pH such as eggs, poultry, fish, meat, cereal products, cheese, plums, blueberries, cranberries, raisins (due to the content of benzoic acid). Take vitamin C, methionine. This will acidify the urine,
• alcohol can be consumed only in small amounts.

Can i still do sports and physical exercises?

After the first phase of the convalescence period, i.e., on average, 3 months from surgery, you can return to the sports that you did before surgery – except for strength and contact sports. Avoid work requiring heavy physical effort and frequent bending. It is recommended to perform abdominal muscle exercises, and the selection of appropriate movement exercises should be made in consultation with a doctor or a physiotherapist. You can ride a bike, go for long walks, dance, play social games, take care of the garden, practice Nordic walking or skiing. You can swim with stoma equipment – both in a swimming pool and in the open water. Women are advised to wear patterned one-piece swimming costumes, which should hide small bumps at the site of the urostomy, men can use shorts with a slightly elevated waist or so-called boxer shorts. Loose t-shirts greatly cover up the urostomy accessories. Your activity may be just the same as before surgery!

Can i use bathtub, shower, swimming pool?

Of course you can. Properly selected high quality urostomy supplies do not spontaneously detach in contact with water under the shower, in the bathtub or when using the swimming pool.

Who should i inform about my urostomy?

It is worth informing the people closest to you, but there is no strict rule – it is entirely up to you, and it is your personal decision. Properly selected high quality urostomy supplies will not limit social or family contacts.

Can i travel?

If you use carefully selected high quality stoma supplies, having a urostomy should not be an obstacle in travel, including foreign travel. You should take a set of spare urostomy supplies and pouches for day and night collection of urine with you as well as containers for used supplies. Take skin protective / skin care products with you to take care of the skin around your urostomy: swabs or a spray for washing the skin, swabs or spray that provide a protective barrier for the skin, sealing and healing rings / half-rings, non-alcoholic sealing paste. Always have a soft bag with the urostomy supplies at hand. In the case of travel abroad, take enough supplies for the entire stay. In countries with a hot climate, due to the increased sweating, it is worth keeping in mind that it will be necessary to replace the urostomy pouches more often. Store urostomy supplies and accessories at room temperature in a shaded place. During the summer and on hot days, do not leave the urostomy supplies in the car – high temperatures can reduce the adhesion of urostomy pouches to the skin. Make sure to follow an appropriate diet and take the right amount of fluids. Having a urostomy does not limit the way you dress or use swimming pools or bathing areas.

What about my intimate life?

Having a urostomy should not be an obstacle to maintaining a sexual life within a proper period after the creation of the fistula. There are no contraindications for partners to show affection to each other with mutual understanding of the changed body image. Acceptance of the fistula may initially be a difficult subject for both partners and require an appropriate approach – the earlier, the better. Some men and women, in their own perception, partially lose some of their attractiveness, and it also depends on the partner how quickly they will become accustomed to this situation.

After bladder surgery, temporary problems may occur, for example with impotence in men, and the blood supply to the reproductive organs in women. If there are any doubts or problems regarding this matter, ask your urologist/sexologist.

Functioning of a urostomy

How often should you change urostomy pouch?

The urostomy pouch should be emptied of the collected urine several times during a day – using a drain valve in its lower part. Replacing the pouch with a new one is recommended for hygienic reasons once a day.

I think I have a urinary tract infection. What should i do?

Symptoms of urinary tract infection may include: altered, strong or unpleasant odour of the urine, decreased urine output or increased amount of mucus, elevated body temperature, general weakness and pain in the renal area. If you notice any of the above symptoms or have any doubts about your health, please contact your doctor or nurse immediately. In order to obtain a urine sample, replace the urostomy pouch and take a urine sample from the first filling of the new pouch or directly from the catheter.

Can urostomy equipment leak?

When selecting the right urostomy equipment and after its correct attachment, leakage should not take place. It depends on the correct manner of adhesion and cutting out the right hole size in the adhesive tape. Remember that the urostomy supplies are manufactured in varied systems and sizes so that you can choose the most suitable urostomy equipment for your expectations and needs.

What can i do to avoid problems related to my urostomy in the future?

The most common tips and recommendations for patients with a urostomy include:
• continuous exploration of knowledge about the care, attachment and replacement of urostomy equipment, self-catheterisation and the use of other urological supplies,
• skilful use of appropriately selected products to facilitate skin adhesion. Remember to use Cortmed Aurega products, which are perfect for any unevenness and skin folds, postoperative scars and peristomal skin lesions,
• systematic removal of hair around the stoma with special caution to avoid injury,
• replacement of catheters in the following types of stoma: nephrostomy, cystostomy, ureterocutaneostomy,
• always collect urine sample for testing from a newly attached urostomy bag or directly from the catheter,
• proper handling of used materials (all waste should be disposed of in one rubbish bag and sealed before being discarded),
• one of the possible problems you may encounter is the possibility of urinary tract infection. To avoid this, drink lots of fluids: at least 2 litres a day. This will help in the proper functioning and rinsing of the urinary tract. It is advisable to eat cranberries or drink cranberry juice (however, avoid cranberry juice if you are taking Warfarin),
• Keep in touch with your Urologic Clinic.