Hydration is cool

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.

water bottle hydrate hydration liquid h2o drink stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd blogOnce 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!

*Electrolyte mixes are a great way to help with dehydration. Check out DripDrop & Nuun.*

11 thoughts on “Hydration is cool

  1. Vegan Ostomy

    Awesome post. I knew hydration would be important before getting my ileostomy, so I purchased a 40oz kleen kanteen and keep it next to me at all times.

    But what really helps me is to lightly flavor the water. So I’ll add a squirt of lemon juice or make a cold tea using hibiscus leaves and then I have no problem consuming large amounts of water throughout the day.

    In regards to keeping hydrated while running, do you recommend a particular bottle or do you have a favorite one that you carry with you on your runs?

    1. Stephanie Hughes Post author

      I probably should try flavoring my water more, but for some reason I haven’t done it much. For running, I have a fuel belt with the 2 little water bottles on it. If I’m running under about 5 miles, I will keep one of them and just carry it or put it in my pocket. (I actually like running in my triathlon tops because they have pockets on the back!) If I’m running longer distances, I wear the belt. I don’t like carrying big bottles, so those little ones work really well for me.

  2. Molly B

    For years I have been good about my ongoing glass of water at my desk. We have the nice water coolers and ice too which helps. So it is now a habit. I did however have a stupid boss once say you must drink alot of water you are always going to the bathroom! Can you fathom saying that to an employee!? Drink up! 🙂

  3. Ted

    Try an electrolyte mix and you might not need so much water. Skratch Labs is all natural and made wih real fruit – no neon colors here! It’s a fave for pro cyclists and triathletes – they even make an “every day” mix. Great stuff.

  4. Carol Katte

    Forgive the intrusion – but water is not a good hydrator. It is less concentrated than the fluid in your gut and so ‘pulls’ water and electrolytes out of your body and out into your gut and therefore bag (osmosis). You need a drink that’s more concentrated than the fluid in your gut (oral rehydration solution) in order to ‘push’ water and electrolytes back into your body. A simple recipe is 200 ml squash concentrate (not low sugar or sugar free, salt needs carbohydrate with it to be absorbed), a level teaspoon table salt, made up to 1000 ml and chilled. Recommended fluud intake for ileostomists is 1500 ml daily (which may include ORS.

        1. veganostomy

          Hi Angie, you should be able to find them at any health food store, supermarket, or even through Amazon. Many sporting stores carry them too, as runners/athletes use them regularly.


        2. Stephanie Hughes Post author

          Angie, I just added some links to the blog post to purchase them online. You can also find them in most pharmacies.

  5. Lynn

    Ice. A whole glass full! Suck on ice so your body obsorbs the water. Drinking water just goes right thru you. Freeze Gatorade. Great slushy! I add salt to mine. Pancreas will suffer along with your kidney’s if you don’t get a proper fluids in. I know 1st hand as many of you do as well.


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