Nutritional advice and diet tips

Food is just one of the many things that can affect stoma output. There are no set dietary rules for people with stomas.

Having a stoma should not stand in the way of enjoying good food. It may just take a bit of time to find out what works for you.

Here are some general guidelines you may find useful:

  • Eat regularly
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Chew your food well
  • Enjoy your food and try not to be anxious about it
  • Talk to your stoma care nurse or a dietician about vitamin supplements
  • Try new foods one at a time, in small quantities, so that if there is a problem, you will have an idea what caused it

Below are more specific guidelines, based on your stoma type. You should always ask your stoma care nurse about any dietary restrictions you may have or need to follow.

Just like before your surgery, at times you may experience constipation or diarrhea. Increasing your fluid and fiber intake should help prevent constipation.

Drink more water and fruit juices-six to eight glasses per day. Include more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Try to eat foods that are high in fiber, such as whole-grain bread and cereals.

Diarrhea can be caused by many things, including viruses, antibiotics, and some medicines. It can also be a sign of trouble digesting certain foods. If food is the problem, you can try to remove fiber and bulk from your diet and eat foods that thicken your stool.

Try to avoid foods that cause odour, such as eggs, certain spices, fish, and asparagus. You may also wish to avoid foods that cause gas, such as beer, carbonated beverages, dairy products, onions, cucumbers, mushrooms, beans, and cabbage. Gas-producing foods take about six hours to produce gas in a person with a colostomy.

After stoma surgery, the way your body digests and absorbs medicines may be affected. Make sure to review all of your medicines-both over-the-counter and prescription-with your stoma care nurse and pharmacist.

These medicines can include:

  • Antacids
  • Anti-diarrheals
  • Anti-inflammatory agents, such as ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Laxatives
  • Salt substitutes
  • Sugar substitutes, such as saccharin
  • Vitamins

After your recovery from surgery, you can gradually resume eating a balanced diet, unless your doctor requires you to follow a special diet.

After surgery, high-fiber foods can cause blockages in the ileum, which is narrow. Chew your food well to help break it down into smaller pieces. And be sure to drink plenty of fluids.

Many healthcare professionals ask you to avoid high-fiber foods the first six to eight weeks after surgery.

Some high-fiber foods that may cause blockages include1:

  • Celery
  • Popcorn
  • Chinese vegetables
  • Coconut
  • Raw pineapple
  • Coleslaw
  • Raisins (and other dried fruit)
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Salad greens
  • Peas
  • Vegetable skins
  • Relishes

Check with your stoma care nurse to find out if you have dietary restrictions. If you experience cramping, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting, call your stoma care nurse immediately.

There is no special diet required for people with a urostomy. To avoid infections and keep urinary function normal, you should try to drink at least six to eight glasses of fluid each day, unless your stoma care nurse gives you different instructions.

Some foods can cause urine odour. These include1:

  • Asparagus
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Alcohol
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cheese (certain types)
  • Baked beans
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Cabbage

Foods that help fight urinary odours include1:

  • Buttermilk
  • Parsley
  • Yogurt

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