12. Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalance (Ileostomy)


Patient is able to identify potential complications, preventive measures for, and management of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance (as related to an ileostomy)

The patient should be aware of the signs and symptoms of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can occur more commonly in a patient with an ileostomy as opposed to a colostomy.


Increased thirst, dry mouth, dry skin, decreased urine output, fatigue, shortness of breath, stomach cramps.

Sodium Loss

Loss of appetite, stomach cramps, cold arms, and/or legs, fatigue, feeling faint.

Potassium Loss

Fatigue, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, decreased sensation in arms and legs, and a gassy bloated feeling.

Be aware of treatment measures for dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.


Increase fluids of any kind.

Sodium Loss

The highest sources of salt include:

  • boullion, instant powder soups, canned soups
  • salted crackers, pretzels
  • pickles
  • tomato juices
  • smoked meats, ham, wieners

Cottage cheese, cheeses, milk and drinks such as Gastrolyte, club soda, or Gatorade are lower sources of salt.

Potassium Loss

High sources of potassium in the fruits and vegetable family include:

  • tomatoes
  • V-8 juice
  • potatoes
  • squash, carrots
  • vegetable and cream soups
  • salad greens
  • oranges, grapefruits, bananas, melon and avocado

High sources of potassium in other foods:

  • smooth peanut butter
  • nuts
  • butter
  • tea and coffee

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