Before I started looking into stomas before my surgery I had only heard of ileostomies (because I should have had one) and colostomies (which at the time I honestly thought only the elderly had them, I soon found out how outdated and wrong that was!) but I came across a urostomy and thought what the heck is that!
Since having my stoma and meeting different people from all walks of life I met Rachel from Rocking2Stomas and she has both an ileostomy that has prolapsed beyond repair and a urostomy; I asked her to tell me what a urostomy is in case you also didn’t know about them.
A urostomy is a type of urinary diversion where a surgical procedure creates an artificial opening called a stoma that re-directs urine away from the bladder that may be removed or bypassed. The urostomy allows urine to flow out of the body and into a pouch that is worn to collect urine; much like the colostomy and ileostomy but the urostomy pouches often have a tap.
The medical term for a urostomy is an ‘ileal conduit’ to create the conduit the surgeon would remove a short piece of small intestine (in most cases) which is used as a conduit for urine to flow out of the body. This is closed at one end, the ureters are inserted onto it and the open end is brought to the surface of the abdominal wall. An opening is made and the piece of small intestine is sewn to it where the urine will flow into an external pouch to collect it. The pouch may have a tap or a bung to empty the contents.
During night-time a 2-litre bag can be attached to the pouch so there is no need to get up in the middle of the night and empty. It is advisable to use a night drainage system to avoid reflux back to the kidneys at night although not all urostomates use this.
A urostomy is performed not just for cancer but for, neurological conditions, birth defects, Interstitial cystitis, overactive bladder, fowler’s syndrome trauma, radiation damage or hospital malpractice. Rachel from Rocking2Stomas did a poll to find out why different people have a urostomy, where 225 people took part.
Rachel has done an outstanding job with raising awareness and is working alongside the Urostomy Association to show that you can have a your bladder removed without being older or just from cancer. She made an awareness poster this year that blew up on social media with the funny tag #weebagsunite