Hydration is really important, especially for people with an ostomy. But you know what else hydration is? Something I am not very good at.
We all know the whole 8 8-oz glasses of water a day, even though Mayo Clinic actually says women should drink closer to 75 oz of water a day and 100 oz for men. And that’s for people who still have a colon (which, if you don’t know, has the main purpose of absorbing water into the body). I figure that I probably should plan to double that and drink 150 oz a day, or about 4.5 liters. But since that is a lofty goal, I currently try to get down 3 liters every day. But let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Especially during the winter.
Once you start drinking that amount of water, you realize that you have to do it constantly. It feels like you can never stop thinking about drinking water. Especially when I first started trying to get into the habit of it, it was always on my mind. I actually have little reminders that go off at the top of every hour just to bring it back to the forefront. And I’m sure chugging bottles of water is not the best way to go about it.
And then of course… there are the trips to the bathroom. I always laugh that when I drink a lot of water, I spend more time in the bathroom than I did when I had active Crohn’s! Plus, when I’m at work, I always feel like everybody is staring at me as I constantly have to walk to the bathroom…
In all seriousness, it’s such an important thing and it’s really frustrating that it’s so difficult to do. I have had times that I am really good at drinking my 3 liters a day, but other times — like now — when I am not so good at it. And it causes a lot of other issues when you don’t hydrate enough. It makes it difficult when running and I get really bad cramps. It makes my output really thick, which for me, causes leaks. Plus, it puts your electrolytes out of balance, can make you feel tired and is not good for your skin.
Even beyond having to think about it constantly and making repeated trips to the bathroom, there’s a mental battle going on. You are just not always thirsty. And sometimes, drinking more water seems like the worst thing in the world. It’s really all about making a commitment to do it and being willing to drink the amount of water necessary, even when it sounds horrible. See? I know all of this, but that doesn’t always make it easier. And I have had hydration problems even before getting an ostomy.
Like I said, I know it’s not easy to drink high amounts of water every day, but it is important just for your overall health, much less for those of us living without a colon. And I should say that it might be a good idea to speak with your doctor about the proper amount of water to drink, because there is such a thing as drinking too much. This can leads to lowered sodium levels with can be fatal if not dealt with. Granted, so much of our food these days are super high in sodium, but especially if you eat a more natural diet, be sure that you are getting enough of it if you are drinking a lot of water.
Alright, time to grab another jug. Cheers!