The risk of urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common. In people with urostomies, it affects the upper part of the urinary system: the ureters and kidneys.

Signs and symptoms of a UTI:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • High temperature
  • Pain in back and sides
  • Shivering
  • Chills
  • Cloudy and/or smelly urine

Treatment of a UTI

It is important that you contact your GP or Stoma Care Nurse if you experience any of the above symptoms. They will need a sample of your urine and will advise you when to take a sample, as the urine should be as fresh as possible.

Ideally your Stoma Care Nurse will take a urine sample using a catheter which is inserted into your stoma. However, it is also acceptable to obtain a urine sample from a clean stoma without a bag on. You can do this by obtaining a sample pot from your Stoma Care Nurse or GP and holding it directly underneath your stoma, allowing the urine to collect in the pot. It is important to ensure the pot does not touch your stoma or skin, and your fingers should not come into contact with the inside of the pot. Be aware this may take some time and you will need to fill at least a quarter of the sample pot.

A UTI that is causing symptoms is usually treated by a short course of antibiotics, following collection of a urine sample.

Tips to avoid a UTI:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Ensure the tube of your night drainage bag is kept clean
  • Drink cranberry juice or take cranberry tablets
  • If you experience recurring UTIs speak to your Stoma Care Nurse as you may need to change your urostomy bag and night drainage bag more frequently.