What is a Urostomy?

What is a Stoma?
The word Stoma derives from the Greek word meaning mouth or opening.

The reasons why a stoma is created, is to treat serious (often life threatening) disease or medical conditions such as:

  • Bowel or bladder cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease)
  • Diverticular disease
  • Congenital abnormalities or injury
  • Fistulas or bladder disease
  • Many will be temporary but generally those with bladder disease will have a permanent stoma.

    There are two categories of stoma:
    Input stomas - this is when an opening is created in order to assist those who are unable to eat by mouth.
    Output stomas - this is when an opening is created surgically onto the abdomen to enable waste to be discharged. This is necessary when disease or trauma has compromised the body's natural elimination process.

    Types of Outputs
    There are three main types of output stoma, they are:

  • Colostomy - coming from the colon (large bowel)
  • Ileostomy - coming from the ileum (small bowel)
  • Urostomy - coming from the kidneys and draining urine.

  • For some patients having either a colostomy or ileostomy the stoma may be temporary, allowing the bowel to heal before the stoma may be reversed. The length of time before reversal varies but most are not reversed before three months. Normally the surgeon will have already discussed with you whether it is likely to be temporary.

    What is a Urostomy?
    A Urostomy is the name given to the procedure to divert the flow of urine from the usual route when long term drainage of urine though the bladder and urethra is not possible. During surgery a Urostomy is formed by part of the small bowel being removed from the digestive system, and then attached to the ureters. This section of the bowel is then directed through the surface of the abdomen, the hole is known as a stoma.

    As it is passed through the stoma, the urine is collected in a waterproof appliance that is worn on the abdomen, over the Urostomy. These appliances are usually referred to as stoma bags or pouches. Urine will continue to pass through the stoma; completely bypassing the bladder and be collected in the appliance. In some cases depending upon the reason for the surgery the bladder may be completely removed. A Urostomy is permanent and not reversible where as some Ileostomies and Colostomies are reversible.

    The flow of urine is continuous and a Urostomy bag with a tap must be worn and will need emptying several times per day. The Urostomy bag can be attached by a small pipe at night to a night drainage bag on a stand at the bedside and in some cases a larger leg bag can be used during the day to increase the time between emptying if going out for example.

    A Urostomy operation might be done due to:

  • Cancer
  • Congenital disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Injury

  • Living with a Urostomy
    If you need a Urostomy, you may initially be concerned that your day-to-day activities will be restricted and that others will notice you are using a pouch or bag.

    Pouches and bags are both discreet and secure and there is no reason why you should not be able to take part in activities that you enjoyed before having your operation.

    Adjusting to life after having a Urostomy can be challenging and for some people it can also be distressing. However, most people become accustomed to it over time without experiencing the symptoms that made it necessary in the first place.

    It is important to follow the recommendations given to you by the stoma nurse about the use of equipment to avoid problems and possible complications.