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Urostomy: Care Instructions

What is a urostomy?

A urostomy is a procedure to create an opening in the belly that allows urine to flow to the outside of the body. It is usually done during a surgery to remove a diseased or damaged bladder. The urostomy creates an opening called a stoma.

There are two kinds of urostomies.

  • A standard urostomy, also called an ileal conduit, uses a piece of your small intestine to make a tube. The doctor connects one end of the tube to a stoma that's made in your belly. The other end attaches to the two ducts (ureters) that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The urine passes through the tube and out through the stoma. There is no muscle around the stoma. This means that you can't control when urine passes out of your body. A plastic pouch (ostomy pouch) surrounds the stoma. This pouch collects the urine. The pouch is attached to your skin.
  • A continent reservoir uses a piece of your bowel to make a storage pouch inside your body. It acts like a new bladder. The storage pouch connects your ureters to the stoma in your belly. A valve in the pouch stops urine from flowing out. You will learn to recognize how it feels when the pouch is full. You put a thin plastic tube called a catheter through the stoma to let out the urine.

Learning how to care for your urostomy will help you live comfortably with it. An ostomy nurse is a great support. They will help you learn to manage your urostomy so you can get back to a normal life. You'll learn how a pouch system works and how to replace your urostomy pouch. Your nurse will also give you tips on how to treat and prevent common problems, such as irritated skin.

It takes time to adjust to having a urostomy. But with time, you'll be able to work and enjoy physical activities, including sex.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Follow your doctor's or ostomy nurse's instructions for changing your urostomy pouch and caring for your stoma and skin.
  • If the skin under your pouch is red, irritated, or itchy, you need to treat your skin. Follow these steps:
    • Gently remove the pouch.
    • Clean the skin under the pouch with a wet face cloth.
    • Dry the skin.
    • Sprinkle ostomy protective powder on the skin, and then blot it off.
    • Reattach or replace the pouch.
  • If you are using a catheter instead of a pouch, keep it and the skin around the stoma clean.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as red streaks or pus around your stoma.
  • Little or no urine is leaving your body.
  • Your stoma turns pale or dark purple.
  • Your stoma swells or bleeds.
  • You have symptoms of a urinary tract infection. For example:
    • You have blood or pus in your urine.
    • You have pain in your back just below your rib cage. This is called flank pain.
    • You have a fever, chills, or body aches.
    • You have groin or belly pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.