The urinary ostomy requires three kinds of preventive attention: care of the stoma; care of the skin around it; and care of the kidneys. Your routine care of kidney functions includes:
- Drinking, at the very least, one quart of liquids daily, such as tea, coffee, juice, soup, colas, water, etc. These should be decaffeinated preferably.
- Getting your urine tested every six months.
- Having an X-ray taken (IVP—intravenous pyelogram) of the kidneys once every two years.
Observations to be made:
- Stoma, changes in size: After initial healing is complete (about six months), measure with paper measuring gauge every six months; change to equipment with correct opening. Appearance of stoma: does it appear different from usual (color, shape, little white or red spots, etc?). Look for this at each change of appliance, and show to your surgeon or ET nurse.
- Signs of irritation: Are there pink spots, tiny pimples, reactions to adhesive, etc? Look for this at each change of appliance; learn methods of dealing with routine minor irritations. If you experience soreness, raw or infected area, do not delay; see a doctor or ET nurse right away. At each change of appliance, look for white deposits or whitish appearance of skin around the base of the stoma. Drink at least 8 oz. of cranberry juice daily. There are also cranberry supplements. Soak appliance in water/vinegar solution (3 parts water to 1 part vinegar) to keep your equipment clean. If there is no improvement in two weeks, call your urologist or GU clinic.
- Kidneys, nature of urine: Look at it every day. Is it dark? Drink more liquids. Is it gritty? Tell your urologist. Is there some mucus? This is normal. Is there a persistent unpleasant odor? This is a sign of infection and must be treated by your urologist. Your urologist and his/her staff can help you find a medical supply store that will have the medical supplies you need to care for your ostomy.