Can you pee with an ileostomy?

Can you pee with an ileostomy?


Unless you have had an operation to form a urostomy (where a stoma is formed to divert urine out of the body via the abdomen), you will pee as normal with an ileostomy & the same goes with a colostomy. 

Both surgeries to form an ileostomy or colostomy divert bowel waste from the body, not urine. It is also possible for people to have stomas for both urine (urostomy) and bowel waste (ileostomy or colostomy) at once. 

Do you urinate less with an ileostomy?

One study has suggested that you do urinate less with an ileostomy, but frequency of urination goes hand in hand with how hydrated you are.

I've just had surgery & my ileostomy output is watery - should I be concerned?

After surgery, you may find that your ileostomy output is watery & that you are quite gassy. This is normal and your medical team usually monitor and measure your output in ml during the immediate recovery period. This might mean you urinate less if you struggle to keep on top of your hydration.

As your body starts to adapt to your new stoma, your output should start to thicken up to more of a honey or apple sauce consistency. There is also medication that can be prescribed to help slow down watery output and also foods in your diet that can both thin and thicken ileostomy output.

 

Bottom of stomach with a scar and staples through the tummy button vertically and an ostomy bag to the left

 

As you move through your recovery, you will find that having an ostomy is a big learning curve but you will start to learn what affects your stoma output and what foods and drinks to avoid if you want less gas or less liquid output, for example.

Having said this, Amy, who works here at Comfizz, said "I am still learning new things with my stoma over 10 years on from my surgery and sometimes my output can be watery for no obvious rhyme or reason. It's not always because of diet either. Your stoma output can be affected by so many things such as stress, medication, illness & partial or full blockages (which can be medical emergencies) & more. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow (literally) and use a bit of trial and error!"

How much ileostomy output is ideal?

The average ileostomy output for an adult is from around 800ml to 1200ml. If you pass more than 1500ml in a 24-hour period, this is known as high ileostomy output. High ileostomy output means you are at increased risk of dehydration so it is important to keep an eye on output and know when to intervene.

A clear measuring jug, measuring up to 300ml

You can pour your output into a measuring jug when emptying your bag if you want to record your ileostomy output and write it down with the time and output in ML and anything else you want to note such as consistency and/or symptoms you are experiencing.

You can also do the same with your urine to keep track of your hydration and see if there is any correlation between this and your ileostomy output. It is usually advisable to record it over 24-hour periods.

Keeping a record isn't just useful for yourself, but it can be very useful to medical professionals such as your stoma nurse or doctor too.

What are the signs of dehydration?

Dry, sore lips on the left and normal, healthy lips on the right

Symptoms of dehydration can include (but aren't limited to):

  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness and feeling light headed
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry & sore lips
  • Increased thirst
  • Decreased urination and/or dark urine
  • Being confused
  • Increased fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Rehydration solutions

You can buy pre-made rehydration solutions such as ORS tablets, Dioralyte & most chemists also offer their own brand of rehydration solution too.

You can also make rehydration solution at home using St. Mark's recipe.

If you are experiencing high ileostomy output, the following is advised (disclaimer - nothing in this post is intended as nor should be taken as medical advice. Always seek medical advice if you are worried and are having problems):

Which drinks should I avoid if I am concerned about dehydration?

Typically, drinks which are high in sugar can be known to increase ileostomy output. As with most things with ileostomy life, not every one is the same, so everything in this blog post should be taken with that in mind. These drinks typically include juice, regular fizzy drinks, smoothies, milkshakes and also medical supplements and shakes. 

Hand on the left pushing away a glass of whisky being offered from the right

Alcohol can also increase output (and gas, especially if carbonated) such as beer, wine and liquor. Amy, who is a member of the Comfizz team, finds that wine makes her ileostomy very active and she finds it very hard to get on top of before it spirals into making her ill and dehydrated. 

Drinks which have caffeine in them can also make ileostomy output increase such as coffee or tea, as can milk or lactose drinks or foods.

Which foods help to decrease ileostomy output?

There are certain foods which can help to thicken and slow down your ileostomy output such as bananas, porridge, smooth peanut butter, mash potato, white bread and rice, marshmallows and jelly sweets. Again, this differs from person to person. 

Eat small & often & sip on drinks

Eating smaller meals every 2-3 hours is advisable rather than having nothing for a good few hours then a large meal. Chewing food well and eating slowly can help your digestion and will also help your stomach to absorb nutrients more regularly. Empty stomachs can also encourage gas which then can cause watery output, which is sometimes accompanied by bile (which usually causes green output).

Porridge bowel with porridge, banana slices and honey

It is also advised to have a drink at least 30 minutes after a meal. Gulping fluids and having more than a few sips with a meal can actually wash food straight through the system, therefore not absorbing the nutrients and again, contributing to watery output. It is then likely that rehydration and sports drinks (in moderation as they have a lot of sugar) will be needed to replace electrolytes and fluids lost. 

Unless medically advised to do so, it is important not to limit the amount of foods and drinks you are having to try combat high output. This can cause more problems such as weight loss and can add to dehydration also.

Always seek medical advice if you are worried and/or feel like you may be becoming more dehydrated and struggling to get on top of it. From experience, we know of people who have become very dehydrated before to the point of needing medical intervention with intravenous fluids. Symptoms they have experienced at this extent were sickness, extreme drowsiness, shivers, dry mouth and muscle aches.

Other posts written on diet can be found below:

 


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