Welcome to my second segment of #UnderstandingUrostomies Series.
Today I am talking about what your ideal pH urinary level should be with a Urostomy, how we can achieve this and why it is important!
Urine pH balance
This is a measure of how acidic (pH 1-6), neutral (pH 7) or alkaline (pH8-14) your urine is.
When the food you eat is burned in the body it produces mineral residue called ‘ash’. This can be acidic or alkaline depending on what food is digested and whether it contains mostly acidic or alkaline ions. Most fruit and vegetables actually give off an alkaline ash and tend to make the urine more alkaline. Foods that present a more acidic ash are meat, cereals, fish, and eggs and the urine will be more acidic.
A dipstick test is used to indicate infections but also this test will show your pH level of your urine. I personally have a tube of dipsticks that I had back when I had my Supa-pubic Catheter which can be helpful sometimes.
What should my pH be with a Urostomy?
Significant variations of urinary pH levels can cause problems for anybody who doesn’t have a Urostomy. For example, a more acidic urinary pH may indicate kidney stones, dehydration or diarrhea. In a more alkaline Urinary pH level may show Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) or kidney failure.
The general population should strive for a more alkaline pH EXCEPT for Urostomates. Urostomy complications tend to be related to a more alkaline urinary pH including hyperkeratosis (https://www.drugs.com/health-guide/hyperkeratosis.html), stoma bleeding, incrustation, stoma stenosis (http://rocking2stomas.co.uk/blog/25-what-is-stoma-stenosis), UTI, Odour and urinary calculi (http://www.msdmanuals.com/en-gb/professional/genitourinary-disorders/urinary-calculi/urinary-calculi).
Therefore it is advised if you have a Urostomy to maintain a more ACIDIC urinary pH level which helps prevent infection. Acidic urine is desired because it keeps bacteria growth in check, therefore, diminishing the chances of urinary infections. Acidic urine also reduces salt buildup around the stoma sparing the peristomal skin (skin surrounding the stoma) from rashes and irritation As part of the #UnderstandingUrostomiesseries in a few weeks, I will cover Urinary crystals and how this can affect your Urostomy.
If your pH level is between 8 and 9 then you are not drinking enough water and it is important to increase this to prevent infection and other complications associated with alkaline urine.
How to maintain an Acidic urinary pH level?
Our bodies do tend to make urine more acidic normally but we can induce acidity (lowering the pH) by doing the following:
- Increase your daily fluids to 8 to 10 (oz) glasses of water a day.
- Drinking cranberry juice or cranberry capsules may help assist the acidiclevels.
*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*
- Reducing citric juices, fizzy drinks and maybe trying blueberry juice or prune juice.
- Eat high-protein foods with acid residues like meat, eggs, fish, and cauliflower
- Bio or live yogurt
- Limit foods that have alkaline residue oranges, lemons, pears, pineapple
- If approved by your physician taking regular vitamin c supplement is another alternative to lower the pH level to an acidic state. *Be aware too much Vitamin C can induce diarrhea so caution is required if you have colostomy or ileostomy and ask your physician)
The optimum pH level of urine for the general population should be alkaline HOWEVER for people with a Urostomy alkaline urine can cause a lot of complications. In order to prevent these complications and Urinary Tract Infections, the urine for a Urostomate should be ACIDIC. One of the most important rules with a Urostomy is to drink plenty of water which will help reduce UTIs.
I hope you have found this post interesting and informative. If anybody has anything to add please let me know.