I’ve had my stoma for exactly one year today and up until two weeks ago everything had gone smoothly. I had no issues at all. Then I began to feel unwell.
The symptoms of a kidney infection
I started first of all feeling a little lethargic, then I started to get a dull aching pain in my lower back. Soon after I developed a temperature and began sweating profusely. I knew something wasn’t right and had heard from fellow ostomates that these were the stereotypical symptoms of a kidney infection. I knew I needed to get a urine sample to my Dr as soon as possible.
Getting a urine sample
Now this would be the first time I had attempted to get a urine sample direct from my stoma. You “cannot” take a sample of urine direct from your “bag” as it will always test positive for infection due to a part of the bowel being used to make your stoma. So how was I going to get a sample? I needed to get the sample directly from my stoma.
So I drank about a pint of water. I waited around fifteen minutes and got a small plastic measuring jug that I had previously sterilized with boiling water and I headed to the bathroom. I removed my bag and got into the shower. I gently pressed around the stoma area and hey ho my little “Winnie” began to pee. The urine was collected directly into the jug and I could then pour into the sample bottle to take to the Doctors for “testing”. I felt quite pleased with myself that I had got a “sample” with relative ease.
I put the “sample” into my Doctors for analysis and would await the results in a couple of days time. It was a day later that I began to get terrible stomach pains and feelings of wanting to vomit. Now this feeling of sickness terrified me as I had as yet, never been ill whilst having a stoma. I had heard that you needed to be very careful not to “wrench” around the stoma area as this could cause a hernia. I began to think “what could I do to protect my little stoma?” if indeed I began to vomit. Well I did vomit and the pain around the stoma area was quite intense.
Using a hernia belt
Then I remembered right after my Cystectomy surgery I was advised by my stoma nurse to order a “hernia belt”. This could be used if I wanted to do any lifting or in the event that I got a stomach upset or a bad cough, as this would provide comfort and support to my stoma. I immediately went to the wardrobe and pulled out the box containing the belt. It’s a wide piece of stretchy, firm fabric that is adjustable in tightness and fastened with Velcro. From the moment I put it around my abdomen I felt my stoma was supported and protected. I would wear this for the next 2/3 days. I felt much “safer” wearing the hernia belt and it also helped lessen the stomach pain around the stoma area when vomiting.
The urine test results came back and I did indeed have a kidney infection. Antibiotics were issued and the infection cleared up in about a week. The use of the hernia belt did protect my stoma and I would highly recommend anyone with a stoma to purchase one, as you never know when you may need it.