What is a Urostomy?

M. DePietro
M. DePietro

Urine is made in the kidneys and stored in the bladder until it is expelled from the body through the ureters. If there is damage to the bladder, or in the case of certain illnesses, the bladder may need to be removed. An urostomy is a surgical procedure which creates an alternative way for urine to leave the body.

In a urostomy the bladder may be removed or bypassed. A small part of the bowel is used to create a route for the urine to travel from the kidneys to an opening in the abdominal wall. The opening in the abdominal wall is called a stoma. A pouch is attached to the stoma to collect the urine on the outside of the body.

Various types of conditions and illnesses may cause the need for a urostomy. The most common cause is bladder cancer. Injuries to the bladder, caused by a trauma, may also require a temporary urostomy. Individuals who have a spinal cord injury may also need the surgery.

Patients who undergo an urostomy will require education on caring for the stoma. Most hospitals will have a doctor or nurse educator who is an expert in urostomy, provide education to the patient while he or she is still in the hospital. Nurses will discuss supplies needed, such as pouches, adhesives and leak proof seals.

Complications after the procedure can occur, such as stoma retractions, which occurs when the stoma recedes into the body and is no longer at skin level. This may occur with weight gain. Individuals will also need to be taught to watch for signs of infections, such as redness to the skin surrounding the stoma and pain.

It’s important patients understand how to use a urostomy pouch to prevent leakage from occurring. There are different types of pouches, such as reusable and pre-cut pouches. Pouches are attached to the stoma through different types of adhesives.

Most patients will be able to return to work and their regular lifestyle. How soon patients can resume activities depends on the underlying cause of the surgery. Although it’s essential to follow a doctors recommendations, most people are able to resume activities, including sports after the surgery.

The surgery presents not only a physical adjustment, but an emotional one as well. Some people may become self-conscious and have problems with their self-esteem. Hospital nurse educators may have information on support groups for people who have undergone the same surgery. Having the support of others who have undergone the same procedure and are dealing with the same issues may help ease concerns.

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