The importance of Hydration
If you are post ileostomy surgery, please read this… it may seem like an obvious point but it is unfortunately a factor that is often easily forgotten about and can have a nasty effect.
Dehydration can be a high risk for those of us living with an ileostomy.
Dehydration can occur after ileostomy surgery, as the purpose of the large intestine is to absorb water from the indigestible waste and then expel the waste material from the body through bowel movements.
During ileostomy surgery, a part or all of the large intestines is removed, which prevents the body from absorbing water from the waste before it is excreted from the body.
Post surgery it is important to drink plenty of fluids to replace the fluids lost as the waste moves through the stoma and into the attached bag. You should be drinking 8-10 (8 oz.) glasses per day, which can be of any liquid containing water (juice is fine) to help meet your daily requirement.
Dehydration can also upset your electrolyte balance (especially potassium and sodium) when the colon (large intestine) is removed. There is a greater risk for electrolyte imbalance, diarrhoea, excessive perspiration and vomiting can also increase this risk.
It is important to know the signs and symptoms of dehydration electrolyte imbalance as well as preventative measures.
Symptoms can include:
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth
- Dry skin
- Decreased urine output
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Leg cramping (which may indicate sodium depletion)
- Muscle weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased sensation in arms and legs
- Feeling gassy/bloated
Your diet should include fluids and foods rich in sodium and potassium.
The following foods are high sources of salt and recommended for sodium loss:
- Canned food
The following foods are high sources of salt and recommended for potassium loss:
Sports drinks are a good source of minerals to combat these signs in an emergency. The ideal sports drink should be non-caffeinated and contain some carbohydrates, sodium, and potassium; a sports drink helps replace carbohydrates and electrolytes and is better at minimising the possibility of dehydration than water alone.
Try to be more vigilant when the weather is warm, when you are on holiday or if you have been drinking alcohol.
If the symptoms continue you should contact your GP or Stoma Nurse for further advice.