Welcome to the FIRST of my series #UnderstandingUrostomies which will be every Friday. This series should help educate ALL ostomates about Urostomies and some very unique issues we may have. Please get in touch with me if there is anything specific you would like me to cover. I am having a few problems with my blog atm and my old post about Urostomies and Urinary Diversions is not showing but when this is sorted please check it out if you do not know what a Urostomy is.
Many of you reading this may have an Ileostomy or a Colostomy and are already aware that after surgery you are given information and leaflets to follow a low fibre diet plus a long list of foods you cannot eat for the first couple of months. However, in the long term eventually, you can technically eat whatever you want WITHIN REASON. Listen to your body try foods and find out what you can eat that doesn’t cause a blockage or pain. We are all different for example mushrooms are ok for me as long as I chew well but I cannot eat stilton cheese because it makes me really poorly.
So following on from this...This month on The IBD and Ostomy Support Show we are doing #maSTOMAchef to make people less scared of trying out new foods. Scroll down the page and find Stephies post explaining how this will work...should be very interesting! Each week we have a different food for all of us to try and see how we get on with it. This week is asparagus! For the first year post Ileostomy surgery, I was so strict with my food and I never went off the list but over the years I have become more adventurous. So this leads me perfectly on to the first topic of this series:
Do I need to change my diet with a Urostomy?
There is no reason why you would have to follow a special diet or have any diet restrictions after Urostomy surgery. However if the kidneys have been severely impaired then your medical professionals will monitor your protein and salt intake but generally, your kidney functions are not affected after this surgery.
If an Ileal Conduit is formed using a bit of the small intestine or sometimes large depending on your medical history, your digestive system will be shortened by only a few inches. This is not really a significant change unless you have ongoing bowel issue or a colostomy/ileostomy and normal digestion returns quickly. Although some people have told me it has taken them a few weeks for their bowel movements to return to what is normal for them.
While convalescing it is important to eat a healthy diet to build yourself up after major surgery. Sometimes it is hard to recognise how big this surgery is and how much it would have impacted on our body...so be kind to yourself!
Foods that may cause an increase in urine odour
It is important to be aware that certain foods will increase the odour of urine.
Foods that can increase the smell of urine are:
- Vegetables such as Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower
- Some cheeses (for me stilton is a no no for my Ileostomy but definitely makes my urine smellier)
- Some medications may change the odour
I have read that cranberry juice, yoghurt and parsley can help with urine odour, however, I have tried these and personally, I have not encountered this to be the case. I would like to add that from my blog Facebook page and the Facebook group Urostomy Awareness not everybody has trouble with the odour and find that drinking more water can help with this. Personally, mine is strong no matter what I do with it.
Foods that may cause colour of urine to change
I think if you have any type of stoma straight away I bet you have answered this straight away...yup...beetroot!!
This will make your urine pink and also your Ileostomy or Colostomy tinged with red. Many times I have thought I have been bleeding until I think...oh yeah had beetroot, just something to be aware of!
I would just like to briefly mention that sometimes urine crystals can form on the stoma due to the change in urine PH. Again I will cover this in detail in this series)
- Cranberry juice can help with this.
*Please be aware that if you are on blood thinning medication please do not drink cranberry juice without checking with your medical professionals. Sometimes cranberry juice can affect how these tablets work *
Increase Fluid Intake
The most important thing to consider when having a Urostomy is to increase fluids in order to prevent Urinary Tract Infections (I will cover this in more detail this month). Due to the nature of this surgery, your anatomy no longer has the natural defence to help prevent UTIs. Therefore it is important to drink up to 2-3litres a day to flush everything through. As mentioned cranberry juice and cranberry tablets are good for keeping UTIs at bay due to the fact there is an active ingredient called proanthocyanidins or PACS that keep bacteria from binding to the walls of the whole urinary tract and may help reduce mucus in your urine. Personally, I do not drink cranberry juice because I do not like the flavour but it works for some people.
So to briefly summarise most people with a Urostomy shouldn’t have to watch their diet unless their medical professionals have advised them differently. However, it is important to be aware that certain foods may increase the odour and colour of your urine. I love fish and eggs and even though my odour increases I still will not stop eating them. Again it is down to what is comfortable for you and there are some products you can use to help with the smells.
Fluid intake is probably more important for a Urostomate than diet to make sure the kidneys are flushed, mucus is not stagnant and a UTI does not come about.
I would love to hear from you if any other food causes changes for your Urostomy :)