From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook October 1997:

Bacteria and Your Pouch

from Ottawa (Ont) Ostomy News; via Metro Halifax (NS) News

Many patients having ostomy surgery worry about bacteria. Those with colostomies and ileostomies ask if their stomas will become infected with the discharge of stool. This is a myth! The stoma is accustomed to the normal bacteria in the intestine. Keep the skin around the area clean and be careful of adjacent wounds. You may want to keep fecal drainage away from the incision. Don't worry about the ostomy becoming infected from normal discharge. Nature has provided well. Our bodies are accustomed to certain bacteria.

The urinary ostomy patient is more likely to be susceptible to infection than the other types of ostomies. Urine is usually sterile. It is important to keep the urinary pouch very clean. On days that it isn't changed, it should be rinsed with a solution of 1/3 white vinegar to 2/3 tap water. This can be allowed to run up over the stoma and will also help prevent crystals. The vinegar produces an acid environment in your pouch. Bacteria cannot multiply as readily in an acid condition.

Your night drainage pouch should be cleansed daily. White vinegar and water can be used for this too. Perhaps some of you use a special disinfectant or diluted Lysol solution. When the drainage bag has sediment that cannot be removed by cleaning, it should be discarded.

Drinking plenty of fluids is important for all ostomates, but especially for the urostomy patient. Many urologists also prescribe vitamin C to help keep the urine acid and less susceptible to infection (Check with your doctor first, as some persons have reasons that would be exceptions to this). Cranberry juice helps to keep the urine acidic.

Ostomy patients should strive to live a normal life, keep fit nutritionally (this helps prevent infection), drink sufficient fluids. Don't live in fear of infection.

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Content last revised 1997-10-18