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:

  1. Drinking, at the very least, one quart of liquids daily, such as tea, coffee, juice, soup, colas, water, etc. These should be decaffeinated preferably.
  2. Getting your urine tested every six months.
  3. Having an X-ray taken (IVP—intravenous pyelogram) of the kidneys once every two years.

Observations to be made:

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
From Philadelphia (Pa) Ostomy Association, via S. Alameda County (CA) Newsletter & S. Brevard (FL) Ostomy Newsletter
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