Salt or sugar, something we as humans crave. When it comes to food especially junk food, you either love those salty foods such as chips, popcorn or pretzels or you tend to have a sweet tooth and choose foods that are sugary and sweet such as cakes, candy or cookies. I use to be more of a sugary person. Gummy candies were my favorite. However things have changed and I crave salt like crazy. I simply can't get enough.
To put into perspective how bad my salt consumption and cravings have become, when I got married, I bought a big salt grinder. I'm currently on my second salt grinder. I may have a problem considering that my husband doesn't use any salt from those grinders.
Before my colectomy, I didn't crave salt. However post colectomy, I noticed that I was craving salt. After my ileostomy surgery, my cravings became very intense especially after my clean outs. The colon is responsible for removing any waste from our bodies made up from food, nutrients, salt and water. Since I have an ileostomy and my remaining eight inches of colon isn't connected to my small intestines, my GI tract doesn't function as it should. Since I have Gastroparesis, I have a hard time absorbing my nutrients. Throw in several clean outs a week and it just complicates things even more. Gastroparesis and ostomy patients can dehydrate quickly especially in heat. For me, output of more than 1000cc/ml per day will dehydrate me. On a day when I am cleaning out I may have anywhere between 3000 - 4000 cc/ml per day. It all just depends on how effective and well my clean out is going. On really "good" clean out day when I have a high output, I will become so dehydrated that I will begin to throw up. A few clean outs ago, almost every time I got up and moved, I threw up. The nausea was horrible. It was all from being too dehydrated. What is bad for me personally is once I get to that point, I can't rehydrate myself quick enough. I get horrible headaches from this. I hardly got off the couch the next day. This all could have been avoided if I would have not been so stubborn and just went to the ER and got an IV.
So the after effect of all of this is that I crave salt. The last time I talked to my doctor about this, they were fine with it. My blood pressure is perfectly fine. When you crave salt, it can mean many things such as dehydration, a lack in minerals in your body or under active adrenal glands. In my case, it is a combination of both needing hydration and minerals due to my GP diet and lifestyle.
After a clean out, a way I rehydrate and replenish myself is by drinking a lot of liquids as well as eating salty foods that go along with my GP diet. (I put salt on almost everything. I know, it's horrible.) To give an idea of how much liquid I drink (which is mostly water), the other night at dinner I drank 32 ounces of water over an hour or so. I felt huge and bloated but I need that amount of liquid with my meals in an attempt to keep everything moving in between clean outs as well as for my hydration. As I said, I drink a lot of liquids. Before my ileostomy surgery, I could not have tolerated this much liquid due to my GP. I still have a hard time but I have just learned how to pace myself and drink, drink, drink all in the name of my ostomy. (Smiling...)
There are all different types of products out there to help with hydration. Sports drinks help balance your electrolytes but they have higher sugar contents and I personally have to watch those. Smart water claims to have electrolytes in their water to help balance your electrolytes. Certain foods naturally contain water such as celery, cucumber and watermelon which aren't all necessarily GP friendly. It just depends on your GI tract and diet and what works best for you. When all else fails, there is always the ER where you can get an IV for hydration.
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