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January 16, 2017

The Essentials of Feeling “Inner Good”: Drink Water!

It’s happening again.  You have a building headache.  Can’t focus.  You’re feeling sluggish and don’t have energy for your everyday tasks.  And your kids or significant other is growing increasingly irritating.  What’s wrong with you?  Why does this keep occurring?  

What if the answer is as simple as this: you are dehydrated.  You don’t have enough water in your system.  Of course, fixes for the problems described above aren’t always so easy.  Or are they?

As an ostomate, this might be more likely than you think.  Water doesn’t stay in your body as long as it does for others.  The colon is the part of the digestive system which is responsible for absorbing fluid.  So people with various types of ostomies don’t reabsorb the same amount of liquid as they did pre-surgery.  

This means that you need more water than the average person.  If you notice that you have a dry mouth, or have your thoughts interrupted by the sensation of thirst, you are already way behind your body’s ideal requirements, probably by as much as half a liter.  So start drinking!    

Ostomate-specific Tips for Staying Hydrated

1. Develop a useful hydrating habit.  

Drink a glass of water every time you empty your pouch.  This will help you reach the recommended amount of 10-12 glasses of fluid per day.  

 

2. Sip it regularly.

It’s always better to drink small amounts consistently than to gulp large amounts every now and then.  Your body can absorb and utilize the regular sips more effectively.

 

3. Have it with you all the time.  

In order to do #1, you need to have a water container with you constantly.  Extra bottles in your vehicle or at work will help with this.    

 

4. Not all drinks are created equal.

North Americans consume a lot of coffee, energy drinks, tea, and other caffeine-containing beverages every day. While these beverages may have their own benefits, the caffeine in them has a mild diuretic/dehydrating effect (translation: it causes the urge to urinate).  Plain old water is still best when it comes to staying hydrated.      

 

5. Limit gas-causing drinks.

Carbonated beverages – mineral water, alcoholic drinks, and pop – will cause gas to build up more quickly in your pouch.  You may want to avoid these more often than not.  

 

6. Avoid swallowing air.  

No, this does not mean you should avoid breathing!  What it does mean is that you should avoid taking extra, unnecessary air into your digestive system (This tip was mentioned in our post on how to avoid gas build up in your ostomy). People who drink through straws or drink too quickly are taking in extra air which will need to be released from their system at some point.  In your case, this means more gas in your ostomy pouch. 

So start drinking more water.  It’s a simple action that, when done consistently, can have a dramatic effect on your ability to achieve a growing measure of “inner good”. Be sure to signup for our newsletter to stay in to loop and to get 15% off on your first order, including our Dietary Supplements, Ostomy Supplies and Wound Care Products.       

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