What people with IBD should know

I am often asked, “What would you tell someone recently diagnosed with IBD?” So, this is what I think you should know! Look out for clickable links in this blog, leading to more detailed information! For many, a definitive diagnosis is a massive relief after a long period of being unwell. This does not mean that acceptance is easy, after all, you have just been diagnosed with a chronic disease which has no cure. Do NOT panic, we’ve got this, life is not over! It is worth pointing out that no two IBD patients’ lives are the same. The disease does not always manifest in the same way, and the fact that a treatment works for one person does not mean it will work for another. This makes IBD notoriously difficult to treat. That said, some IBD patients may have one flare, find the right medication straight away and never have another, and that is fantastic! For the rest of us, being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis may mean some lifestyle changes and som

Dehydration with IBD, an ostomy or a Jpouch

Staying hydrated is really important. How much water you should drink is actually based on a number of factors such as your health, weight, the local climate and how physically active you are. Drinking too much water can actually flush out the electrolytes which you need to stay hydrated (but you would have to drink an awful lot to do this).
You don't need to rely solely on water to meet your fluid needs. Beverages such as juice and herbal teas are composed mostly of water and can contribute to your daily water intake. What you eat also provides a significant portion, so fruits and vegetables, particularly watermelon and spinach, are almost 100% water by weight. That said, water still IS your best bet.

Many people like to add fruit to water, which is fine, but be aware that drinking too much lemon water can actually dehydrate you (because lemon is a natural diuretic). It may also cause other problems such as heartburn and tooth erosion because of its high acid content.

Staying hydrated may be more difficult if you have had part of your intestine removed, especially during the summer months. If you have had your colon (large intestine) removed, you will need to increase your daily salt intake too. It can feel very confusing, so do quiz your IBD team about it if you feel the need – that is what they are there for! If you have a short bowel, high output stoma or a Jpouch, a homemade oral rehydration solution (ORS) will be beneficial when you’re feeling dehydrated. Check out this St. Mark’s PDF which includes the ORS recipe! Those that have their whole digestive system intact can use this recipe.

If you are dehydrated you may experience:
Dry, sticky mouth
Increased thirst
Light headedness or feeling dizzy especially when going from sitting to standing
Passing less urine which is dark or strong smelling
Muscle cramps

Your fluid intake is probably adequate if:
You rarely feel thirsty
Your urine is colourless or light yellow