If you have just had ostomy surgery and wonder what kind of foods you can or should eat, you are not alone. It is natural to feel concerned about how the foods you eat will digest with your new ostomy. You don’t have to modify your diet much, but you do need to be aware of how the foods and beverages you consume affect your stoma output.
We have some tips that can hopefully be useful when managing the introduction of foods with an ostomy. We will also provide some post-surgery ostomy supplies that can help manage output.
Post Ostomy Surgery Foods
For the first four to six weeks after ostomy surgery, your doctor will suggest sticking to a low residue, low fiber diet. This diet will help the gastrointestinal tract rest as it recovers from the new diversion. Foods that are low in fiber are easier on the digestive system and produce less gas buildup.
Dehydration can be significantly reduced with a low residue, low fiber diet. Some examples of this type of diet include foods like:
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Plain white pasta
- White bread
- White rice
- Non-dairy milk like almond and coconut milk
While on a low residue diet, it is recommended to avoid foods like:
- Fruit juice, like prune juice
- Leafy vegetables
- Bran cereals
- Nuts and seeds
If you have had ileostomy surgery, you are more likely to become dehydrated. No matter the type of ostomy surgery you had, it is critical to stay well hydrated. However, this is imperative for ileostomy patients since the output will be more liquid. There may be a risk of dehydration due to the inability to absorb fluids, nutrients, and electrolytes.
Some of the recommended fluids to stay hydrated are:
- Vegetable juice
- Diluted fruit juice
If you notice darker colored urine, are experiencing frequent headaches, or notice that you are feeling thirsty more often, you may be dehydrated.
Chew Foods Thoroughly
One of the most important tips to remember is to thoroughly chew your food until it is as close to a liquid form as possible. Food will be easier to digest and cause fewer potential blockages. The more food is broken down by chewing, the easier it is on the gastrointestinal tract. As your body adjusts to your ostomy, you will be able to chew food as you previously did.
Take It Small and Slow
As with chewing your food into a smoothie form, make sure to eat slowly and start with small portions. Make sure you take your time when eating. If you find yourself in a rush, you might risk not thoroughly chewing your food. Start with small portions, observe your output, and slowly build up to larger portions. You will better understand how certain foods cause blockages or liquid output.
Some of the signs that you may have a stoma blockage include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Watery stool
- Not producing stool
- Abdominal distention
- Pressure at the stoma site but no output
If you feel you have a stoma blockage, it is critical to contact your doctor immediately.
Keep a Food Journal
Keeping track of how certain foods affect your output can help you remember what you eat and recognize what foods might be problematic. If you are experiencing persistent gas or liquid output, a food journal can help you see patterns related to the foods and beverages you consume. A food journal can also be helpful to share with your doctor about which foods work well and which ones do not. Your doctor may need to create a plan specific to your needs.
Download and print your FREE Food Journal.
Two-Piece Ostomy Systems
Using a two-piece ostomy system where the skin barrier stays in place as the pouch is replaced is often a choice for convenience. If your output is liquid or very loose, a drainable, two-piece pouching system such as the SUR-FIT Natura High Output Pouch is an excellent choice.
Barrier Wipes & Sprays
Prepping the skin before applying a skin barrier with barrier wipes or sprays helps guard against skin irritations. Ostomy supplies like barrier wipes and sprays provide a thin barrier film layer and help reduce pain and friction related to removing tapes and films.
Once you are finished using your wafer or skin barrier, ostomy supplies like adhesive removers make the removal process less painful. Adhesive remover wipes and sprays are great for gently removing skin barriers. Adhesive residue left behind can irritate your skin and affect your product’s wear time.
Ostomy Support Belt
Ostomy Support Belts are ostomy supplies for post ostomy surgery and provide support and protection for the abdominal wall. An ostomy belt can add a sense of security to an ostomy pouching system. An ostomy belt can help pull the ostomy system toward the skin, increasing the tension on the skin barrier, helping flatten skin folds, and preventing leakage.
Everyone is an individual, and experiences with food and beverages often differ from person to person after ostomy surgery. As always, follow your doctor’s instructions for diet following your surgery. You may be able to gradually return to the diet you enjoyed before surgery. However, in some cases, dietary adjustments might be needed.
For questions or assistance finding the ostomy supplies for your unique needs, our Product Experts are here to help. Just give us a call!
Some helpful resources include:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: www.eatright.org
American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org
American College of Gastroenterology: www.gi.org/patients/
American Institute of Cancer Research: www.aicr.org/
Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN): www.bcan.org/
Colorectal Cancer Alliance: www.ccalliance.org/
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation: www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/
International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD): www.iffgd.org
- Visit their dietitian locator at www.iffgd.org/dietitian-listing.html
- And their sister organization for information on kids and nutrition at www.aboutkidsgi.org
National Association for Homecare & Hospice: www.nahc.org
National Organization for Rare Disorders: www.rarediseases.org/
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: www.niddk.nih.gov/
Ostomy Associations of America: www.ostomy.org
Short Bowel Syndrome: www.shortbowelsyndrome.com