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Hydration with an Ostomy

Dehydration can sneak up on us rather quickly, and it can be obnoxious if you don’t pay attention to it. I tend to ignore mild dehydration (which is a terrible plan), so when I finally realize I need fluids, I’m pretty dizzy and unsteady. When I can’t stand up without blacking out for a second, it’s time to work on hydration. That standard is terrible. I feel so much better when I keep up with fluids!

Special Concerns:

  • Weather and Exercise: This may sound obvious, but you need to take special caution with exercise, long trips, and being out in warm weather. It’s easy to lose track of your fluid intake when you’re distracted.
  • Ileostomates should consume small amounts of food along with fluids. Otherwise, your drinks will move through your small intestine too quickly with very little absorption.
  • Electrolyte loss can happen more rapidly in ostomates and people with IBD than in our healthy-gutted counterparts. Different nutrients are absorbed at different points in our intestines, so your body’s ability to utilize nutrients will be affected by which parts of your guts are problematic or missing.

Here are some ideas you can try out. With a little time and experimentation, you can develop a simple routine that will become second nature.

  • Keep starchy snacks on hand when you’re out and about
  • Invest in a good reusable water bottle (and clean it regularly!)
  • Some sports drinks have a ton of sugar and taste syrupy, so try diluting them with water
  • Many grocery stores carry electrolyte water, which can be a useful substitute for sports drinks
  • Powdered drink mixes are great because you can mix them in your reusable water bottle, adjust the strength of your drink to taste, and minimize unnecessary plastic waste
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