What is a Urostomy?

Originally published on: July 20th, 2021. Last modified on September 1st, 2021

What is a Urostomy?

A urostomy or ileal conduit is the most common type of non-continent urinary diversion operation. 

During the operation, the surgeon will make a hole in your abdominal wall. This hole is known as a urinary stoma. An ileal conduit is formed by detaching the ureters from your bladder and joining them onto a short length of the small bowel (ileum). One end of this length of ileum is sealed off and the other is brought to the surface, pulled through the hole in your abdomen – slightly protruding, to form the urinary stoma. 

This system allows urine to drain directly from your kidneys, down the conduit and out into an external collecting system called a stoma appliance or bag which you wear on your abdomen over the stoma. Urine will drain out of this stoma continually. 

Living with a Urostomy

Generally, your stoma will be pink and moist (like the inside of your mouth) and a little swollen after your operation. This will reduce over a period of between six to eight weeks but may take a little longer. 

There are no nerves in your stoma so there will not be any sensation when you touch it. Everyone’s stoma is different in shape and size, but is roughly the size of a 50p coin. A flat, adhesive water-proof pouch called an ostomy bag is then connected to the skin around the stoma to collect the urine, which continuously drains into the bag

This pouch will then be regularly changed 2-3 times a week. The pouch will act like an external bladder and store urine until you empty the pouch which may be every 2-3 hourly in the daytime depending on how much you drink. It is especially important to drink plenty of fluids [1 ½ to 2l per day]. At night times a night drainage bag may be used to connect to your pouch for extra capacity and reduce disturbed nights.

The Bladder & Bowel Home Delivery service can provide all of your urostomy, wound care and prescription medications delivered right to your front door – find out more.

Further Information

You can browse further articles and more information about urinary diversion on our site, as well as urinary diversion complications.

If you at all concerned about your urostomy and it is starting to affect your day to day life make an appointment to see your doctor. You can find out more general information about Urinary Diversion in our Surgical information.