What if you get a urinary tract infection?

What is a urinary tract infection?

Your urinary tract consists of your kidneys, ureters (which are the tubes draining urine from your kidneys) and your stoma. A urinary tract infection can occur in any part, or all of this system.

What can cause a urinary tract infection?

The piece of bowel used to make your stoma will discharge mucus. Mucus is a natural bowel lubricant and is normal, however if it is not flushed out into your stoma pouch, it can cause a UTI. Contamination from unwashed hands can also cause a UTI.

What are the signs of a urinary tract infection?

  • Flu like symptoms.
  • Cloudy, offensive smelling urine.
  • Pain or discomfort around your stoma or kidney area.

Hints and tips

  • Always wash your hands before changing your pouch or attaching your night drainage bag.
  • Keep the tube connecting your stoma pouch to the night drainage bag clean.
  • Vitamin C drinks and in particular cranberry juice will help keep your urine clear. If you do not like cranberry juice, you can buy cranberry tablets from health food shops.
  • Do not take cranberry juice or cranberry tablets if you have been prescribed Warfarin.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (about 2-3 litres a day). This will dilute your urine and help to flush away the mucus.
  • If symptoms persist, make an appointment to see your doctor. He may suggest testing your urine and prescribe you a course of antibiotics.

How to obtain a urine sample

Wash your stoma and surrounding skin and apply a clean pouch. The urine that has collected in the pouch can be used for the test. Or wash your stoma and surrounding skin, then hold a clean sample bottle under your stoma and let urine drip into the bottle. Do not allow anyone to take a sample of urine from a pouch you have been wearing for some time, or from your night drainage bag. If your doctor requests a sterile urine sample, contact your stoma care nurse as this will have to be collected using a sterile technique.

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