Hello Monday and happy new week! Sorry I have been MIA but what a couple of weeks! Unfortunately Ste has been taken into hospital with a line infection. I also picked up the boys on Friday 13th for the first two weeks of the Summer holidays so have been busy keeping them entertained.
Last week I did an Instagram live about hydration. Keeping hydrated with an ostomy is really important as you can become dangerously dehydrated, very quickly. In the UK recently we have been having some extremely warm and humid weather (which we are definitely not used to) which has been making this even more important to think about.
In a Facebook poll I carried out, 69% of the respondent ostomates said they were struggling to stay hydrated in the warm weather.
“Wahhh I’m finding it so hard. I keep going into hibernation mode”
I’m struggling. I’m usually on the ball but being pregnant really doesn’t help”
Struggling. I’m on High 5 Zero which seems to be helping”
Graham from G-Mans Bag For Life
On the ball with the re-hydration sachets but still struggling as so bloody thirsty all the time”
Louise from CrohnsFighting
The Science Bit
During ileostomy surgery you will have either had your large intestine entirely removed or disconnected. This is the place where we absorb the majority of the fluid our body needs. Ileostomies are renowned for being ‘troublesome’ – they often like to flush through what we eat and drink, giving our bodies a shorter time to absorb the good stuff. This makes what we drink important, not just the sheer volume of what we drink as we want to make sure our bodies have time to extract everything it needs.
My Top Tips
As I have said before – I am not medically trained. These tips have been researched or given by my medical team to me. If you are struggling it is ALWAYS best to go and see your stoma nurse or GP.
However, I like to think my blogging and writing skills have come on inn the past year and I am always learning new things. Therefore an updated post is never a bad idea! I didn’t get much information about this when I first got my stoma so I hope this is helpful for anyone in the same situation.
Water, Water Everywhere….
But actually, drinking large amounts of plain water is not the best thing for ostomates. Water tends to travel quickly through the digestive system, not getting absorbed and taking vital electrolytes with it!
Try adding some squash to it – I use the fruit and barley ones which are really tasty and will help ‘slow it down’ a little.
It is recommended that the average person drinks around 2 litres of fluid a day. This includes all forms and can include the water in tea and coffee – although as tea is a diuretic and both normally contain caffeine these should be kept to a minimum).
An ostomate should be drinking at least 2.7 litres a day, and male ostomates possibly as much as 3.7 litres.
To help me monitor my daily fluid intake I bought a 2l bottle from B&M which I believe cost me £3.99. It is strong and sturdy and I fill it every morning, then make all my drinks from that. I will also have fresh juice, fizzy drinks and milkshakes as extra, so know if I do the whole bottle and have drank other things throughout the day, I should be hitting that limit easily. Definitely easier to remember than how many glasses I have drank!
Lucozade is great for ostomates but does contain a lot of sugar which can cause further issues and also not make it quite so effective. Many ostomates struggle with fizzy drinks blowing up their bag too.
Diarolyte is another idea to help re-hydrate and replace those vital electrolytes and salts etc needed. You should dissolve 2 sachets into the amount of water it suggests for 1 to get the best benefit from it when you have an ostomy. I often buy the shops own brands which are cheaper and contain just as much of the stuff we need, and very often more per sachet.
The best re-hydration solution though is St Marks Solution. This is super easy to make yourself and contains all the things in the perfect amounts your body needs it in.
To Make 1L Of St Marks Solution
In 1 litre of boiling water, add 5 tablespoons of sugar, 1.5 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of sda. Leave to cool then keep in the frideg and drink as needed.
I try and drink a glass inn the morning and one inn the evening when it is hot like this. It is also good for after exercise. It doesn’t taste great and I mix in some dilute juice to try and make it a little more palatable! Make sure you give it a stir every time you pour a glass to make sure it hasn’t settled.
“I was struggling but I’m drinking St Marks Solution and feel on top of it now”
Last year Convatec produced a great guide called ‘Healthy Hydration’ and it was in this that they talked about the hydrating power of milk. You can use this in a lovely hot chocolate in the Winter or a cool milkshake in the Summer. You can also add fruit, ice cream and even protein powder if you need a boost!
You can order your ‘Healthy’ Hydration’ pack containing a drinks bottle, urine chart and guide by clicking here
I find a great way to stay on top of anything is to make habits out of them – whether that be taking my medication, staying on top of work or keeping hydrated. I always take a sports bottle to bed with me which I drink while I read or watch television in bed and take my bedtime tablets with. If there is any left I will take my morning tablets with it and finish it off so I know I am starting the day with a good bit of fluid.
You could also aim to drink a full glass of juice every time you take your tablets. If that is 4 times a day, you will have had 4 full glasses towards your daily allowance. There are also bottles available with markings on which give you times of where your fill line should be throughout the day to help you ensure you are drinking consistently and enough.
I hope that these tips are of use to you and give you some different ideas to try. What are your go to hydration favourites? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for everybody who took part in the poll and replied with comments.