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Vesicostomy for Children: What to Expect at Home

Your Child's Recovery

Vesicostomy is surgery to make an opening through the skin on the belly to the bladder so that urine can drain out of the body. This surgery is done when a problem prevents urine from draining out of the bladder. A vesicostomy usually is temporary. Your doctor will talk to you about how long your child will need it.

Your child may be more tired than usual for several days. Your child's belly may be sore where the doctor made the opening (stoma) between the bladder and the belly. The soreness usually goes away in a few days.

Most children can go back to school or daycare in about 1 week.

Your child will need to wear a diaper that covers the stoma to absorb the urine. Your doctor or a nurse who specializes in taking care of stomas will teach you how to care for your child's stoma.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for your child to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to help your child get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for your child at home?


  • Allow your child to slowly become more active. Have him or her rest as much as needed. Make sure your child gets enough sleep at night.
  • If your child is old enough to walk, have him or her try to walk each day. Bit by bit, increase the amount your child walks. Your child may climb stairs. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
  • Your child may shower. Pat the stoma dry. Your child should not take baths unless the doctor says it is okay.
  • Do not allow your child to swim or go in hot tubs unless the doctor says it is okay.
  • If your child goes to school or daycare, he or she may return when he or she is ready. This is usually in about 1 week.
  • Do not allow your child to do strenuous activity for about 4 to 6 weeks, or until your doctor says it is okay. This includes riding bikes, playing running games, wrestling, and taking part in gym class.
  • Your child may ride in the car with the car seat straps in their usual position.


  • Your child can eat his or her normal diet. If your child's stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Have your child drink plenty of fluids.
  • You may notice a change in your child's bowel habits right after surgery. This is common. If your child has not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, call your doctor or nurse advice line.


  • Your doctor will tell you if and when your child can restart his or her medicines. The doctor will also give you instructions about your child taking any new medicines.
  • The doctor may give your child medicine for bladder spasms. Have your child take it as directed.
  • Make sure that your child takes pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think pain medicine is making your child sick to his or her stomach:
    • Give your child the medicine after meals (unless the doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your child's doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Have your child take them as directed. Do not stop giving them to your child just because he or she feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.

Stoma care

  • Wash the area around the stoma daily with warm, soapy water, and pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
  • Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Your doctor or nurse will give you instructions about how to care for the stoma.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's 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 your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or coughs up blood.
  • Your child has severe trouble breathing.

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

  • No urine has drained from your child's stoma in over 2 hours.
  • Your child is sick to his or her stomach or cannot keep down liquids.
  • Your child has pain that does not get better after he or she takes pain medicine.
  • Your child has a fever of 38°C or higher.
  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • Swollen lymph nodes in his or her neck, armpits, or groin.
    • A fever.
  • Your child's stoma pulls inward, or the edges separate from the skin.
  • Your child's stoma bulges out, or there is a bulge under the skin around the stoma.
  • Your child has new back pain. The pain may be just below the rib cage, on one side. This is called flank pain.
  • Your child's urine smells bad or looks cloudy or discoloured.

Watch closely for any changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child refuses to drink fluids.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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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.