Staying Hydrated As An Ostomate

Katie Hydration

As soon as the sun’s out, you will catch me in the garden soaking up that Vitamin D - and not just because I’m deficient in it! But as the warmer weather comes, it’s important as ostomates to keep on top of our hydration. Please note that these are the things that work for me personally and may not apply to you – especially if you have been advised otherwise by your Stoma Care Nurse or medical team.

The large bowel is where you re-absorb a lot of water back into your body so when you have an ileostomy, it can be difficult. However, keeping hydrated with a stoma doesn't have to be a chore. With a bit of planning, it can be quite easy… most of the time! 

Top tips for keeping hydrated with a stoma: 

Make sure you’ve got your water bottle with you.

One of the easiest ways to keep hydrated is to make sure you always have water with you. Pretty simple, right? 

Even if I’m just sitting in the garden, I always make sure my bottle’s there (and in the shade!). I also really like using metal insulated cups when I’m in the garden, with lots of ice, so it stays cooler for longer. 

Keep your salt and sugar levels ‘normal’.

Dehydration causes your salt and sugar levels to change, but there are lots of ways to keep that in check. I opt for hydration sachets. If I’ve been in the sun all day, I often have one to be on the safe side. They don’t taste great, but they do the job. Another option if you’re feeling dehydrated is to drink a Lucozade or other sports drink and eat a packet of crisps. It’s my favourite solution for obvious reasons!

I’ve also tried the following homemade recipe before which I found online. It definitely helped: you’ll need 200ml of concentrated squash or fruit juice (the non-sugar-free kind) and one level teaspoon of salt. Mix this with a litre of water and sip throughout the day. 

Eat foods with higher water content.

Foods which have a high water content help you to better absorb fluids. Some of these foods you might not be able to digest with a stoma but hopefully others will work for you! 

  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples/applesauce
  • Cucumbers
  • Yoghurt
  • Smoothies
  • Jelly 

There are also foods which don't have a high water content BUT they do help with absorption. Some of these foods are:

  • Potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Bread
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels

Keep switching up your drinks.

A key thing to remember is to keep switching up your drinks. Mainly because if you’ve only had water and nothing else, you can still feel dehydrated due to a lack of salts and sugars!

Also, I don't know about you, but one thing I struggle with sometimes is that I get bored of drinking water all the time! Because fruit has a high water content, making a smoothie might be an option for you. Plus, smoothies are a lot easier to digest that actual fruit. If smoothies aren't your thing, pop some strawberries or lemon slices into your water to give it a bit of a fruity taste. This is something I LOVE to do just to mix up the taste a bit!

If you are struggling with dehydration or would like more professional advice, please contact your Stoma Care Nurse. Take a look at SecuriCare’s diet and nutrition advice.

“One of the easiest ways to keep hydrated is to make sure you always have water with you.” - @katieemay1

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by Katie May Chesworth

Katie May Chesworth

About the author

Katie May is a health and wellness advocate living with a stoma, IBD and arthritis. You can follow her on Instagram for regular updates related to both her health and travels.

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