Urostomates, ileostomates and transverse colostomates have one thing in common: continuous output with a loss of fluids. If the liquid intake does not exceed the output, these ostomates may be dehydrating their bodies, making themselves prone to a condition called "urolithiasis," which refers to the presence of stones in the urinary system.
These stones may be found anywhere from the kidney to the bladder. They vary in size from mere granular deposits, called sand or gravel, to bladder stones the size of an orange. In the majority of stones, 90% are composed of calcium, with 5-8% uric acid and 1-3% cystine accounting for the rest.
Conditions which predispose to stone formation are: (1) infection, (2) periods of immobility, (3) concentrated urine, (4) abnormally high concentration of calcium in the blood, (5) heredity and (6) dehydration.
If you were to develop urolithiasis, the symptoms you may experience are: (1) low back pain and/or severe, sharp pain in the lower back radiating to the groin; (2) chills, fever; (3) difficulty or burning with urination; (4) blood in the urine; (5) nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. See your physician as soon as possible if any of the above symptoms appear.
Measures to prevent stone formation are: drink 2 to 3 liters (quarts) of fluid daily--preferably water and juices. Include acidic juices such as cranberry to maintain acid urine which helps prevent infection. Urinate during the night if necessary. Exercise daily. Use caution with foods containing calcium. Since a certain level of calcium is required for good health, restrict your diet only with the advice of a physician.
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Content last revised 2002-01-13