Stay Hydrated With an Ostomy

Maintaining good hydration is important for everyone. Proper water balance in your body allows it to operate properly with good joint lubrication, proper blood chemistry, to prevent constipation, and allows the body to transport nutrition from your intestinal system to where it is needed. When you have an ostomy some of this function is compromised, so proper hydration is more important than ever.

When you have an ostomy procedure either part of the large or small intestine is diverted to an opening in the skin to remove waste products from your body. Depending on where the ostomy is performed determines how much functionality remains to help keep you hydrated.

If a colostomy is performed, the large intestine is diverted to the ostomy opening. This limits water absorption to the small intestine.
If an ileostomy is performed, the last portion of the small intestine is diverted. This further compromises the body’s ability to absorb water for hydration since only the first sections of the small intestine are available for water absorption.

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In either case, it becomes most important for the ostomy patient to keep hydrated by consuming higher quantities of electrolyte solutions to avoid the symptoms of dehydration that can include a dry mouth, dizziness, headaches, and muscle problems. Electrolytes are minerals including sodium, potassium, and chlorides that help the body operate properly. They are critical for heart function, control of your body temperature, muscle control, and other functions. You may have heard of muscle cramps when someone is dehydrated — this is a sure symptom that your electrolytes are out of balance.

Some liquids and foods can help with hydration:


  • V8 or other vegetable juices
  • Coconut water
  • Low-sugar electrolyte drinks
  • Pedialyte

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Watermelon
  • Yogurt
  • Jell-o
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Fruit or vegetable smoothies

If you have an ostomy and are having problems maintaining proper hydration, please consult your doctor promptly to avoid further complications. They can help determine what additional fluids or electrolytes may be needed ongoing.

Sarasota Medical Products produces wound care products, ostomy products, and laminates both as private label products and through sites including and For more information on our products or services please call 941-377-1451.