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Urostomy Care

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Topic Overview

A 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. The urostomy (or ostomy) creates an opening that is called a stoma.

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 an ostomy nurse after your surgery.

It takes time to adjust to having a urostomy. But with time after surgery, you will be able to work, participate in sports and physical activities, be intimate with your partner, and resume your social life.

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. With your pouch in place, you can still swim, hike, camp, and play tennis. Contact sports may cause injury to the stoma or may cause the pouch to slip. But check with your doctor about how to be safe while being active, whether it is playing sports or doing your exercise routine.

As your strength returns, you will likely be able to return to work. 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. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids each day to help reduce the chance of kidney infection.

A urostomy can affect a man's ability to have sex (usually just for a short time). Usually a woman's sexual ability isn't affected. If you are concerned about sex, your body image, and what others think, talk to your doctor, counselor, or a therapist. He or she can help you cope with problems concerning intimacy or your self-image.

You will probably be able to wear much of your same clothing. You'll want to avoid tight clothing that might cause problems with the drainage tube. And wearing looser pants can make it easier to conceal the pouch. Cotton knit or stretch underpants can provide support and keep the pouch secure. Your ostomy nurse will be able to help you with more clothing ideas.

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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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