Tag Archives: water

Long, hot summer (and staying hydrated with an ostomy)

I’ve been having a bit of a rough summer. Actually, that’s probably even too strong of a word for it. I honestly don’t really know how to describe it. I’ve been feeling fine, I haven’t had any Crohn’s or ostomy issues. I’ve just been pretty tired. Too tired to wake up in the morning and go for a run. Too tired to do a whole lot of extra activities. Every morning it’s a fight against my alarm.

I don’t know if this is the case, but I feel like it’s related to my hydration, which has been… pretty dismal. I’ve written on here before that I’ve been having hard time staying hydrated recently. It is always a struggle for me, but for some reason, over the past few months it’s been even harder. I do my best to drink 3 liters a day, but that is a really hard thing to do every single day. And honestly, I probably need to be drinking even more than that, but haven’t worked up to it yet. But even on the days I do drink that much, I still wake up in the morning feeling dried up and often dealing with a headache, which is another reason getting out of bed has been hard.

water bottle hydrate hydration liquid h2o drink stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd blog ostomy ileostomy stomaI wish I knew of a way to fix it. Believe me, I have tried lots of stuff. I flavor my water, I try to spread it out during the day. I have an alarm that goes off every hour to remind me to drink 8 oz. I drink electrolyte drinks–not the sugary ones, I stick to ones that have the good stuff with out all of the sugar (DripDrop or Nuun are good options). They definitely help and I would drink more of those but it starts getting really expensive after a while. And still, it just seems like no matter how much I drink during the day, it’s never enough. And I not only have to worry about my everyday health and all of the things in your body that require water, but I’ve mentioned before that my ostomy output is very thick and if I don’t stay hydrated, I can easily get leaks or blockages.

And that’s not even taking in to considering how annoying it is to have to run to the bathroom every 15 minutes. I finally had gotten away from having to run to the bathroom all of the time when I got my ostomy, but apparently I have not. It’s just really inconvenient when you constantly feel like you have to pee.

I have to believe a large part of my issue is due to the weather this year. I live in the South, so I’m used to the heat. In fact, it’s been a fairly mild summer compared to years past, but oh my gosh, the humidity this year has been insane. And I think it’s just hit me hard.

Unfortunately, I feel like the only thing I can really do is just keep trying. Even though I feel like it’s not getting me anywhere. And I am someone who really loves the summer and the warmth and the sun and I hate to feel like I’m wishing it away… but I’m kind of ready for the air to dry up around here.

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.*