Keeping hydrated with an ostomy

Keeping hydrated with an ostomy

Without a large intestine, your body is severely hampered in its job to absorb salt or liquid from body waste. Your smaller intestine will over time take on some part of this, but it will never be as it was.

This means that an Ostomist will need to stay hydrated and be aware of the need to drink more.

Being hydrated helps digestion and flush waste from our systems. Not being hydrated leads to serious health issues.

Symptoms of being dehydrated range from dizziness, not urinating often (and a darker colour urine output when you do), sleepiness, sunken eyes and fainting.  Note that you need not feel thirsty to be dehydrated.

You can become dehydrated in several ways – ileostomists are naturally susceptible, but you can also gain it by vomiting, excess sweating, or just by not drinking enough.

Drinking plenty of water however does not necessarily make you hydrated. Drinking too much plain water could actually make dehydration worse. This is because water alone does not contain the salts and sugars necessary for hydration

To hydrate successfully you need a solution which are very concentrated in sugars and salt.

As a quick fix, you may have been told to eat salted crisps and drink a can of normal flat cola – this can be brought from any corner shop. You can also buy off the shelf drinks such as isotonic.

There are however two well known home-made solutions that are easy to produce – both should be chilled prior to drinking, and can be flavoured in any way you want …. Just sip through the day.

Oxford Solution

200ml Squash concentrate (avoid sugar free or low sugar)

5ml salt

Make up to 1 litre with water, and thoroughly stir.

St. Marks Solution

6 x 5ml glucose powder 

5ml Salt

2.5ml Sodium bicarb

Make up to 1 litre with water, and thoroughly stir.

Whenever I am on the treadmill at home (a rarity in itself!), I always make up some Oxford Solution – I’ve not suffered from dehydration whilst doing so, despite some energetic workouts.

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