Living with an Urinary Diversion

After surgery, patients need time to feel well again and to regain their strength. There will be a need for physical, psychological and social rehabilitation. Not only is the goal of the surgery to cure or eliminate the disease or defect, but to enable patients to enjoy life and go back to their work and hobbies.
 
There may be times after surgery when patients feel discouraged or depressed. These are common feelings after this type of surgery. Discussing these feelings with family and friends may help patients overcome these emotions and return to “normal” living again soon. In addition, support groups are available for patients who have urinary diversion. Your City of Hope doctor can provide a referral.
 
As with all changes in life, there will be an adjustment period for patients with a urinary diversion. Patience and acceptance for the diversion will help this period to pass quickly. Patients should refer any and all questions regarding the urinary diversion to their doctors or the doctors’ assistants; no question is too small or insignificant. The goal is for the individual to return to his or her accepted lifestyle as soon as possible.
 
Talking about a Urinary Diversion
Patients may wonder how other people will accept them after they find out that they have a urinary diversion. It is a normal concern to wonder how to explain the surgery to others. Patients can tell their friends and family as much as they want them to know. Patients do not have to explain the surgery to everyone who asks.
 
If a patient is considering marriage or a long-term relationship, thorough discussions with the future partner about life with a urinary diversion and its effect on sex, children and family acceptance are in order. Open discussions with the doctor and other couples, in which one partner has a urinary diversion, can help to clarify the situation.
 
True friendships and relationships are built on trust and understanding, and a person’s ability to be in such a relationship does not change due to a urinary diversion.
 
Working and Maintaining an Active Lifestyle
People with urinary diversions can do most jobs; however, there are job hazards, heavy lifting can cause a stoma to herniate or protrude. A sudden blow near the stoma could also cause damage. Patients should check with their doctors about their type of work and any type of job hazards they should be aware of or try to avoid.
 
People with urinary diversions can be as active as they were before surgery. Whatever activity a patient enjoyed before surgery can be enjoyed again, once the post-operative course is completed. People with urinary diversions can continue to participate in sports, though they should consult their doctors regarding sporting hazards and protective equipment for their individualized needs.
 
Dietary Restrictions
There are no eating restrictions due to a urinary diversion. The urinary and digestive tracts are entirely separate. If there is a special dietary concern, the doctor will discuss it with the patient. Patients are encouraged to drink ample amount of fluids.
 
Travel
All types of travel and vacation are open for people with urinary diversions. Patients should make sure to take enough supplies, as there may not be a place to purchase needed items. Patients should pack supplies in a cool environment, and travel fully prepared!