Stomach Bug or Dehydration? Need Help!

Aug 12, 2022 1:42 pm

UPDATE: Please don't use this in any similar situation you find yourself in. I am not licensed in anything but driving.
That being said, my bag started slowing down yesterday afternoon. Dehydration seemed to be my biggest complaint at this point. Sodium retains water, so I ordered a pepperoni pizza with low sauce. It made me very thirsty, and there you go, I started drinking a lot and set an alarm on my phone through the night to sit up and have a drink. I feel so much better today. Hahaha Thank you all for your advice! I did take all into consideration and come up with this mind-blowing equation. Have a great day.

Hello friends,

I have been down for the past couple of days. Extremely tired, lower back pain (lower back pain is normal for me but not constantly), my ileostomy bag has been filling with the consistency of water. I slept all day and night the first night. With the exception of bag emptying 3 full bags of "water". The next day, I was exhausted and slept the same. I am still filling up bags with water-like consistency. I'm sure I am dehydrated. But is this what it's like to have a stomach bug? Diarrhea? I haven't felt like throwing up. What does being sick feel like? The endless bags of watery output? Thanks for your help. I'm going to a doctor not on my list, so I'm trying to feel you guys out.

I apologize for grammatical errors lol

Aug 12, 2022 2:35 pm

Hi Feb9HH, I don't know...knock on wood, I have not been sick since getting my colostomy (March 2020). Losing that much liquid would definitely make you dehydrated, and that, in turn, will make you tired. We have a hotline here to talk with a nurse about things like that. Since you don't want to go to the doctor, is there a way to talk to a nurse about it? Take care of yourself.

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Aug 12, 2022 3:03 pm

I hate to say it, Feb, but you do need to go to the hospital. I got the stomach flu in February and had the exact same thing happen to me. I let it take its course, not having my ileostomy for very long, and wound up with kidney problems from being dehydrated. Please don't wait too long. Not trying to worry you, everyone is different, but you shouldn't be emptying your ostomy that much. Fingers crossed for you!

Aug 12, 2022 3:05 pm
Reply to SallyK

I'm in the US. I used to visit Canada every summer growing up to spend time with my grandma. Beautiful there. I'd love to be back. I'm not sure we have something like that here. The only person I can call would make me an appointment. I start my new job 8/30 so without insurance not worth it. I was just curious who else has had this happen. Thank you for your response.

Aug 12, 2022 3:22 pm

If you're not able to go to a doctor right now and you're having that much liquid output, you have to replace that output. So, fluids and nutrients must go in. Eat and especially drink as much as you can. Your drinks don't have to be just water, drinking other things like milk, orange juice, Gatorade, Pedialyte, etc. will help get lost nutrients into your system. So, what's the new job? Good luck.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
Aug 12, 2022 3:30 pm
Reply to AlexT

I'll be working at my old job that I had to resign from when I got sick. TD Bank in the financial sector.
I was hoping this just happens sometimes and it wouldn't be anything to worry about. I'm gonna try to replenish. I almost have PTSD after the surgery and complications, so I will try everything first before I go there.
Hopefully, I can pull myself out of this. Thank you for always responding and your great advice.


Aug 12, 2022 3:42 pm
Reply to Feb9HH

You're welcome. I'm sure any of us would be concerned if our normal output changed drastically. None of us new ostomates are used to dealing with those types of things. Now, with our bags, we get to see up close what's coming out compared to before when we'd just run to the bathroom because we had a stomach bug and not pay much attention to how much we were losing.

Aug 12, 2022 4:21 pm

Hi Feb9HH,

I had something like that happen to me a couple of months back, but I was vomiting too. It was manageable at the time, so I went into work anyway. As soon as I got to work, it would not let up, so I called my boss to send in a replacement. An hour later, I was home again. My day starts early around 5am. Thankfully, it was short-lived, and things began to clear up around 9:30 am. But I did keep up fluid intake as best as I could (lost 5 pounds, mostly fluids, and have since gained them back). Turned out to be food poisoning from a restaurant the night before. My husband, with no digestive problems, had the same happen to him, but it lasted about a week. Anyway, keep up the fluid intake and try not to let nutrient intake slide.

Aug 12, 2022 4:24 pm
Reply to Feb9HH

Hopefully, you will get to visit again someday. I am sending you loads of love and positive vibes. I'm 2 years in but still coming to terms with everything myself, so I totally understand. Hugs

Aug 12, 2022 5:26 pm

I just went through that. Go to the emergency room and get fluids. NOW!!!!

Aug 12, 2022 8:15 pm

Hi, just to let you know I've had the same problem 3 times in the last 15 years, each time it's lasted about 5 days. I did get dehydrated and felt lightheaded/tired and had the shakes. I spoke to the stoma nurses and their advice was to ride it out for a few days as it was probably a stomach bug. If it continued after 4/5 days, go to the hospital. Fortunately, things started to return to normal after a few days. I continued to eat as normally as possible and was drinking a lot more than normal. Fortunately, I was not working at the time so was able to rest as much as possible. I'm sure in a week or so time when things are back to normal, you will look back on this situation and wonder why you ever worried about it. Best wishes.

Aug 13, 2022 3:10 am


Just out of curiosity, did you take a COVID test? I know tiredness is one symptom, and I know people who got pretty sick when they had COVID.

I wish you a speedy recovery. God bless

Aug 13, 2022 3:21 am

UTI infection?

ron in mich
Aug 13, 2022 12:58 pm

Hi Feb, it sounds like a stomach bug. What I do is use bouillon cubes for making broth and sip on them. Also, green tea with honey along with other fluids like Gatorade or V-8 juice. Good luck.

Aug 13, 2022 3:56 pm
Reply to elwick

Thank you. Last night was a lot better, I think. I only emptied 1 bag. Today's job is putting liquid and food back in. Almost forced because I don't feel like eating or drinking that much. You almost feel like you need to be a scientist to learn to balance it all out. Lol

Aug 13, 2022 4:46 pm
Reply to Feb9HH

Glad it's better. I don't really have the dehydration issue since I have a colostomy and not an ileostomy. But when it's this hot outside and I sweat so much at the lake, doing yard work, and being outside a lot at work, I've been adding a Halo Hydration packet to 1 bottle of water per day to help replenish some of the lost vitamins/minerals.

Aug 22, 2022 4:48 am
Reply to Hairdresser

No, I didn't even think about.