What is a urostomy?

A urostomy, also known as an ileal conduit, is where a new exit route for urine to flow from the body is created through a stoma (opening in the abdomen) and pouch. To understand how a urostomy changes your urinary system, it’s important to understand how it normally works.

How the urinary system normally works

Diagram of the urinary system

When the body carries out its normal functions, waste materials collect in the blood. The blood is continuously filtered by the kidneys to remove the waste matter.

This produces urine, which moves from the kidneys via the ureters to the bladder where it is stored. Urine is passed from the bladder via the urethra.

Diagram of the urinary system works with a urostomy

With a Urostomy

Instead of being passed via the bladder, urine comes down the ureters from the kidneys and is diverted to come out of an opening (stoma) in the abdomen. A watertight urostomy pouch is fitted over the stoma to collect the urine.

How a stoma is formed

How the stoma is formed

The surgeon takes a small piece of the ileum (part of the small intestine) and uses it to create a tube or spout (called an 'ileal conduit').

The rest of the ileum is rejoined so that your digestive system works just as it did before.

The two ureters are diverted from the bladder and are ‘plumbed’ into the ileal conduit, which then opens onto the abdomen.

How does a urostomy bag work?

A urostomy bag collects the fluid output from your stoma throughout the day and holds it until it is emptied, from a tap or valve found at the base of the bag. 

There are many different designs of urostomy bag to suit your lifestyle and personal preference. A one piece bag has both the flange (the adhesive connection between the bag and skin) permanently attached to the bag. This keeps the urostomy bag as secure as possible. To reduce the number of changes which have to occur, a two piece bag where the flange remains on the body for 2 – 3 days and the bag is changed more regularly is also a popular option. 

You can order urostomy bag supplies and samples from SecuriCare, over the phone or through your online account once you have registered.

Click here for information and tips on your recovery after surgery. 

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