Nutritional Guidelines

Dietary Considerations considering the following situations:

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalance

Dehydration can result from prolonged diarrhea, vomiting and excessive sweating from fever, hot weather, or exercise. If your large bowel has been removed and you have an ileostomy, you are more susceptible to dehydration because the body is no longer able to absorb the same amount of fluids and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) as when the large intestine was functional. Dehydration occurs when an insufficient intake of fluids is combined with excessive fluid loss. It is very important for you to recognize the symptoms of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance as well as what to do for them.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalance:

  • Dry mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Low urine output
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sunken eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cramping or tingling sensation in hands / legs
  • Urine is low volume and more yellowish or darker than normal
  • Poor skin elasticity (skin slow to go back to normal position when pinched)

What to Do:

  • Increase fluid intake, especially fluids that contain sodium and potassium such as PowerAde, Gatorade, Pedialyte, Electrolyte Plus, Ceralyte, soups, broth, bouillon, or tea
  • Eat bananas to replace potassium
  • Tomato juice, orange juice, apricot nectar also replace potassium
  • Use a little extra salt on your food to replace sodium.
  • Contact your physician who may want to start you on anti-diarrheal medications.