Craving Cold Drinks with an Ostomy?


Hi gang,

I ask that question because from the second I came around after surgery until present day I crave my drinks to be icy ice cold. I'm talking Slurpee cold! Doesn't matter if it's water, ORS or milk..........I got to have it cold! I don't drink coffee or alcohol, but if I did it would also have to be semi-frozen for me to enjoy. I'm thinking this is more caused by my being short-gutted, but figured I'd ask you ostomates if you're finding yourself in the same boat. When I asked one of my gastro's about it he just gave me that deer-in-the-headlights he has no clue. I'm pretty sure the continual thirst I have is from the short bowel predicament, but when I told the same gastro about that he just looked at me and asked me why I was so thirsty all the time. I said "you're the friggin' tell me. Apparently short bowel syndrome is rare, and many docs just aren't familiar with it. Needless to say I don't see that clown much anymore, although he is recognized as tops in his field. Maybe he's just the "oldest" in his field and not the smartest. But I digress.

My thirst is actually abating a bit starting this year, so maybe it will return to something somewhat normal fairly soon.........but I still crave the cold when it comes to drinks. I keep 3 pint bottles of ice water at the ready all the time. And if I don't see ice from the top to the bottom of the mix it goes back into the freezer until I do. Hmmm...........all this talk of ice water is making me gotta go! Let me know if you're in the same boat or not.




Hi Bob

I have had an ileostomy for the past 19 years and I am thirsty all the time.

Hope there is never a bottled water shortage. I drink and drink and drink water.

Whenever I have blood tests, the results are always that I am a bit dehydrated.... thus the thirst. The doc always tells me to drink a bit more....LOL..

I drink so much sometimes my stomach gurgles like a hot water bottle.

Gatorade is very good also as it helps keep our electrolytes balanced.

Take care and keep on a drinkin'



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Hi Angela,

Thanks for the reply. Glad to know I'm not alone!! What you're saying about the dehydration makes sense if you drink mostly water. With an ileostomy, your colon is disconnected, and that's where plain water would be absorbed into your body. With that no longer doing what it's supposed to do, your small bowel has to do the rehydrating, which it wasn't really designed to do. That's not to say it doesn't absorb water, but only when that water is accompanied by the correct ratio of sodium and, salt and sugar. Plain water doesn't have those key ingredients, so the only time you absorb plain water is when you drink it with something salty and sweet. Or during a meal when those two things are also present. So that's where the Oral Rehydration Solutions come in.........they're a mixture of sodium, glucose, and water in the right ratios for your small bowel to absorb. Sports drinks like Gatorade almost always have too much sugar and not enough salt. But you can make ORS easily from regular Gatorade (not the zero-calorie stuff) by pouring half the quart into another empty quart bottle, filling both with water, and adding a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each. That gets you a half gallon of ORS on the cheap that your body will actually absorb. If you start drinking that regularly, you'll see your hydration increase back to normal levels. There are lots of other recipes for ORS out there, just know that most are for the older World Health Organization (WHO) formula for ORS, and there's a newer formula that uses less salt (about half). You'll see all that when you Google it or check the WHO website.




WOW!! Thanks so much for replying, Bob. I honestly had no clue about water hydration. I never use much salt.

But once in awhile, my body seems to crave it, so I buy salty chips....pig out on them and feel much better.

The Gatorade I drink is G2, which has a lot less sugar. Thanks again for this awesome info. I will definitely check the WHO website.




Hi Angela,

Yeah, from what I'm reading on this forum, I don't think most ostomates know how we absorb liquids, which parts of the bowel absorb what, and how to deal with hydration when part of our bowels are removed. I sure didn't know anything about it.........I thought hydration meant drinking water! And it sort of does when you have a fully intact colon. Then I got short gutted and had to learn quickly. I find the Lemonade flavored Gatorade (regular, not the sugar free) to be the best tasting when you cut it in half with another liter of plain water, but that's because I find all the regular Gatorades to be too sweet. I never liked the taste of the sugar free Gatorade (G2?) and you have to add additional sugar if you are using it for an ORS. But if that works for you, that's fine. That's the cool part about can be made with anything as long as you only have the right ratio of sugar and sodium (salt) per liter. I currently make all my ORS with Coke, seltzer, and Diet Coke. I actually use the local Weis supermarket brand of Cola and Diet Cola because I like the taste better than Coke products, but to each his own. And I put my liter bottle of ORS in the freezer for 10 or 15 minutes before using it to get ice to start forming inside...........cuz I like it COLD!! I won't drag this subject on..........if you need any more info on ORS just shout.

Take care,


How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
ron in mich

Hi all, I get the powder Gatorade and make it to my taste. The premade stuff is too sweet like Bob said. I've tried other powdered sports drinks, but most of them taste like chemicals, so I stick to Gatorade brand.

looking forward

Hi, I have had an ileostomy for less than a year. I drink but never get dehydrated. I was thin before I started this, now I cannot lose any weight.


I'm a new ostomate..6 months...and I stay thirsty...I cannot get enough to drink. And I couldn't drink cold drinks for 5 months during chemo. I've just gotten back to drinking cold drinks again. And eating ice cream. I really missed that during chemo. But I feel like I'm always dehydrated. Just my 2 cents worth. Lol



Hi Lori,

I've discussed the constant thirst thing with my docs and they really have no clue. What I've been trying to figure out is what exactly triggers your brain to say "drink something", meaning how does the body detect hydration level in real-time and where are those sensors located. Using the old skin pull test I'm rarely if ever dehydrated, yet my thirst is there. Maybe it's more of a craving for the ice cold sensation of drinking more than a hydration warning, but so far I'm having no luck in understanding the process. I've also been trying to better understand how the stomach changes the rate at which it dumps its contents into the small bowel based on composition of what's being digested........but I'm finding doctors don't have a real good understanding of that either. Seems the more I try to learn about the human body the more I find doctors don't know very much. Go figure. Will shout back later, I got to let the chickens out and get to work. You have a great day!




During chemotherapy, I couldn't drink anything cold (or even room temperature), it had to be hot. So, I drank hot water or hot chocolate for 4-5 months. Once I got done with chemotherapy and the cold sensitivity wore off, a cold drink never tasted so good and ice cream was like a gift from God. I haven't had a hot drink since.


Hi, I suffer from short bowel syndrome. I can't get any help. I am continually thirsty... but lose liquid from the amount of times I have to empty my stoma and ileostomy bag.

Reply to AlexT

Hi Alex,

Wow... that must have sucked!! There aren't many warm drinks I like... tea and hot chocolate every now and then come to mind... but that's about it. Can't imagine going through what you went through. Sucks just thinking about it. Welcome back to the real (cold) world!!!



Reply to Iliyana

Hi Iliyana

You have to get the book entitled "A Patient's Guide to Managing a Short Bowel (4th Edition)" by Carol Rees Parish. It's the "Bible" for us short gutters. You can get it free from a number of places, it's even online. It explains in there all the things you're puzzled about with short gut. It gets a little technical at times, but the takeaways are what you're looking for. You can get it at the link below when you sign up for the site (also free), or just Google that title and it'll pop up.

PM me if you have any questions, in case I miss them on the forum.




It's understandable that after surgery, you have a strong craving for icy cold drinks. While I can't speak for other ostomates, it's possible that your preference for extremely cold beverages is related to your specific condition and the adjustments your body has undergone. Your continual thirst could be attributed to short bowel syndrome, which can affect fluid absorption.

It's unfortunate that some doctors may not be familiar with or fully understand short bowel syndrome, which could lead to a lack of proper guidance or answers for your specific concerns. It's important to find a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about your condition and can provide you with the support and information you need.

In the meantime, it's great that you keep icy cold water readily available to satisfy your craving. Staying hydrated is crucial, and if cold beverages help you meet that need, it can be a suitable preference for you. Remember to listen to your body and seek medical advice if you have any persistent concerns or changes in symptoms.

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