As the sun climbs higher and the days grow longer, we’re all looking forward to enjoying the warm weather. However, for individuals living with a stoma, the temperature rise can bring a unique set of challenges.

In this article, we’ll explore how hot weather impacts those with a stoma and provide tips for managing these effects. From staying hydrated to choosing the right clothing, we’ll cover the essential strategies that can help make the summer months more comfortable for people with a stoma. Whether you’re planning a day at the beach or just trying to keep cool at home, understanding how to adapt to the heat can make all the difference.

Hydration

When the temperature rises, people with a stoma may face several issues that can affect their comfort and health. One of the main concerns is dehydration. Since the body loses more fluids through sweat on hot days, it’s crucial for those with a stoma to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to thickened output from the stoma, which can cause blockages and discomfort. Here are some tips on how to stay hydrated:

  • Drink plenty of water: Make sure you drink water throughout the day, not just when you’re thirsty. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder.
  • Eat water-rich foods: Add cucumbers, pineapples, oranges, and watermelons to your diet for a boost of vitamins and minerals. Watermelons are especially beneficial as they are over 90% water.
  • Avoid too much caffeine: Drinks like coffee and some sodas have caffeine, which might make you lose more fluids as caffeine is a diuretic (which causes the body to pass more urine). Try to limit the amount of coffee you have, about two and a half cups a day.
  • Take breaks in the shade: When you’re outside on a sunny day, find some shade to rest in now and then to avoid sweating too much. Taking a break to check your stoma output and making sure there are facilities nearby, should you need to change your stoma is always beneficial.
  • Check your pee: If your urine is dark yellow, that’s a sign you need to drink more water. Aim for light yellow.
  • Listen to your body: If you’re feeling dizzy, tired, or have a headache, you might be dehydrated. Drink water if you notice these signs and take a break. If the symptoms persist you should call 111.
  • Limit sugary drinks: Sodas, energy drinks and fruit juices can be high in sugar and might not hydrate you as well as water. Instead, add an electrolyte tablet to your water to help your body absorb more water.

Skin Irritation

Another issue is skin irritation. The area around the stoma, known as the peristomal skin, can become irritated from increased sweating. This moisture can break down the skin barrier, leading to soreness and potential infection. It’s important to keep the skin clean and dry and to change the ostomy pouch more frequently if necessary. I opt for an aloe vera-infused stoma ring, it’s gentle on the skin and has soothing qualities which help against irritation and sores. I also use the Pelican Platinum film spray, an adhesive remover enriched with vitamin E which helps moisturise and nourish the skin with every use.

The heat can also affect the adhesive on ostomy appliances, causing them to lose their stickiness and potentially leading to leaks. To combat this, you might need to use products specifically designed for hot weather, like extended-wear wafers or stoma powder, to absorb extra moisture and ensure a secure seal. You can also use Respond’s RENEW Protective Powder for a stronger seal which is kinder to your skin.

Bad Odours

Lastly, the summer heat can make some people with a stoma self-conscious about odours. While modern ostomy pouches are designed to contain smells, the worry about odour can be stressful. Using neutralising sprays is an effective way of combating bad odours. With Respond’s NEUTRALISE range, spray once into the pouch and you’ll have a fragrance bursting with sweet scents and aromas. You can also find an adhesive remover which combines a deodorant, like the PEEL Adhesive Remover, from Respond’s The CARE Range, to tackle 2 birds with one stone. I personally favour the apple-scented PEEL spray.

By understanding these impacts and taking steps to address them, you can still enjoy the sunny days and warm weather while maintaining your health and confidence. It is always best to speak with your Stoma Nurse about any issues or concerns you may have and you can also request samples of certain products from Respond through their website.

Mohammad
@colon_cancer_and_me

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