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Hydration after stoma surgery

Published 6th March 2019 by Sorin Tudorut

Being well hydrated is important for every single biological function of your body; it helps you stay alert, improves concentration and is vital for all aspects of your health and well-being. After bowel surgery, especially removal of the large bowel, the body’s ability to absorb water may be compromised, therefore it’s important to pay attention to your needs.

How much should I drink?

Everyone will have different needs. NHS guidelines recommend around 6-8 glasses of fluid (1.5-2 litres) per day but many people will need much more than that especially if you have a stoma, and especially if you exercise or are travelling somewhere hotter.

The best indicator of your hydration status is your urine colour. Aim for light straw coloured urine – this means you’re probably drinking enough. If your urine is darker in colour you need to drink more fluid. Get our free guide on Diet and Hydration here.  Or request the urine health chart from the me+ team on 0800 467 866 UK / 1800 721 721 ROI

Symptoms of dehydration

  • Headache
  • Thirst and dry mouth
  • Decreased urine output and a darker colour urine
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Low blood pressure and dizziness
  • Poor concentration

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, increase your intake of fluids, if symptoms persist contact your GP.

Tips for staying hydrated with a stoma

  • Always carry a water bottle with you and make sure you refill it whenever it is empty.
  • Sip fluids! Drinking slowly will help your system hydrate properly.
  • Eat before drinking to helps absorb fluids.
  • Vary what you drink, try infusing water with fruits or try smoothies.
  • If you only drink water you may need to add fluids with more electrolytes.
  • Ask your doctor about taking Imodium or Metamucil

If you have an ileostomy it’s even more important to stay hydrated, read more tips here.