What is a Urostomy?
A urostomy is an opening in the stomach or abdominal wall that has been made so urine can be re-directed away from the bladder. The small opening is called a stoma, which will look like a colostomy or ileostomy stoma. This procedure is done when the bladder has been damaged due to disease, accident, or an issue at birth. The bladder would be removed or bypassed and the urostomy would serve to remove urine from the body. A urostomy pouch
will need to be worn. Urostomy pouches differ from ostomy pouches
, instead of a wide mouth opening a urostomy pouch has a drain valve that can be connected to tubing in order to connect to another urinary leg bag
or a night drainage bag
. The additional tubing and urinary bags would be used when you need to go a longer period of time between emptying your pouch, like when you are sleeping or traveling.
What are Urinary Crystals?
Urinary crystals on the stoma or skin around the stoma happen when the urine is alkaline. The crystals look like white particles that feel gritty. They can lead to your stoma becoming irritated and can sometimes cause bleeding. By maintaining acidic urine you can cut down on urinary crystals.
What is acidic and/or alkaline urine?
Alkaline means base and for the most part, you want your urine to be more acidic in order to avoid urinary crystals. The number one way to maintain a healthy pH balance is to drink plenty of water, the standard 8 to 10 glasses a day is an easy number to think of but if it is very hot and you are sweating a lot, or you are sick, you may need more than the usual amount of clear fluids in order to stay hydrated.
When the food you eat is burned in the body, it yields a mineral residue called “ash.” This ash can be either acidic or basic (alkaline) depending on whether the food that is “burned” contains mostly acidic or basic ions. Most fruits and vegetables actually give an alkalized ash and tend to alkaline the urine. Meats and cereals will usually produce an acidic ash residue. Some of the acid ash foods include: most meats, breads and cereals, cheese, corn, cranberries, eggs, macaroni, nuts, pasta, prunes, fish and poultry. Also, instead of drinking orange juice, switch to cranberry juice since it tends to help the urine pH stay acidic. These foods added to your diet can help but nothing works as well as drinking plenty of water.
Treat urinary crystals that have formed on or around the stoma:
- Make a compress of 1 part warm water and 1 part white vinegar
- Carefully remove the urostomy pouch
- This is easier if done in the shower, rinse the area around your stoma with warm water to remove any adhesive or skin prep residue
- Apply the vinegar compress to the stoma for a few minutes
- The vinegar will work to dissolve and rid the area of urinary crystals
- Rinse with warm water and then proceed with your normal pouching routine
How to Clean Urinary Crystals from Your Urostomy Pouch:
By using a product specially designed for cleaning urostomy pouches you can rid your pouch of crystal build up. Hollister's m9 Cleaner and DeCrystallizer cleans, deodorizes, and helps break down and remove uric crystal build up. The m9 cleanser helps to eliminate odors and it comes with a convenient cleaning bottle. The cleaning bottle is clearly marked with a fill line so you know exactly how much warm water to use before adding only one cap of cleanser to your cleaning bottle. The clear and easy to follow directions are printed clearly on the side of the box. Each box comes with one 16 oz bottle of m9 concentrate and one empty cleansing bottle. The cleanser can be used on night drainage bottles as well as tubing. Do not use to clean the stoma or as a wound cleanser. This is an appliance cleanser only.