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urostomy is an opening in the abdomen created by a surgical procedure (radical cystectomy) to allow urine
to flow to the outside of the body. This may be needed when a diseased or damaged bladder has to be removed. Part of
the ureters may also be removed. A small segment of the small or large
intestine is used to create the channel (a urinary diversion).
Wound, ostomy, and continence nurses (WOCNs) are available in some
medical centers to help you learn how to care for your ostomy. Talk with your
surgeon about meeting with a WOCN after your surgery.
It takes time to adjust to having a urostomy. But you will be
able to work, participate in sports and physical activities, be intimate with
your partner, and resume your social life after surgery.
Immediately after your surgery, activities such as driving and
lifting will be restricted to allow the stoma to heal. After 2 to 3 weeks, you
should be able to resume normal activities. Noncontact activities, such as
swimming, hiking, camping, and tennis, should be no problem. If you had an
exercise routine, talk to your doctor about when you can restart
it and whether it is possible to participate in contact sports, such as
football, karate, and basketball, which could result in injury to the
Your work should not be affected. The only types of work that you may
not be able to perform are those that require heavy lifting or physical
contact. Talk with your doctor to learn about any occupational
limitations you may need to know about.
Usually you will have no dietary restrictions and foods can be
enjoyed as before. You should drink 8 to 10 glasses of fluid each day to help
decrease the chance of kidney infection.
Many of the problems relating to intimacy may be more emotional than
physical. You may be concerned with ability, body image, and what others think.
Talk to your doctor, counselor, or a therapist for help coping with
any problems concerning intimacy or your self-image.
You will probably be able to wear the same clothing. Tight clothes
will not hurt your stoma. If you have trouble hiding your ostomy pouch, or if
it shows through your clothing, your WOCN may have suggestions.
You can continue to travel. Empty or change your ostomy pouch before
beginning your trip. When traveling by plane, bring extra ostomy supplies in
your carry-on baggage, not checked baggage. If traveling by car, store your
supplies in a cool place.
You want to keep your quality of life, and understanding how to
care for your ostomy will help you live comfortably with it.
When you have an ostomy, urine leaves your body through the stoma
instead of the urethra. Since there is no muscle around the stoma, you are not
able to control when urine passes out of your body. An odor-proof plastic pouch
(ostomy pouch) surrounds the stoma to collect the urine and is held to your
skin with an adhesive. Pouching systems may be one-piece or two-piece.
Both two-piece and one-piece pouches can be either drainable or
closed. These systems also contain a special valve or spout that adapts either
to a leg bag or to a night drain tube connected to a special drainable bag or
If you have a drainable pouch, you usually need to replace it
every 4 to 7 days or whenever there is a leak in the pouch or itching or
burning under the barrier. If you have a closed pouch, replace it when it is
one-third to one-half full.
The stoma is normally pink to red. Call your doctor if your stoma:
If the skin under your pouch is red, irritated, or itchy, you
need to treat your skin. Follow these steps:
Ostomy accessories may include:
May 2, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
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