Digestive ostomy and diet
Bloating, gas, transient loss of appetite ... You may experience certain inconveniences following the creation of a digestive stoma affecting your diet. This type of intervention should in principle not limit you to your usual food intake. You should always listen to the recommendations of your stoma surgeon or nurse if they have contraindications. To find a normal diet, it is often necessary to go through a few steps to quickly find a good functioning of the digestive system.
What diet after a digestive stoma
A digestive stoma is the result of surgical treatment to relieve part of the small intestine (called an ileostomy) or large intestine (colostomy) affected by a disease, which can then no longer perform its functions properly. Temporary in the case of a discharge colostomy, or permanent, the result of this procedure requires the placement of an ostomy bag to collect the stool.
In an ileostomy where part of the small intestine is plugged into the abdomen, stool no longer passes through the colon. The latter having a role of absorption of water, the stools will be more liquid. To compensate for the loss of water and salt, you may be advised to eat more salt than usual and to drink a little more. Do not hesitate to consult our articles on the anti-diarrheal diet or constipation.
Dietary advice for people with ostomies
Gradually, after your operation, you will want to eat as before. This will be done in stages, and you will need to get the surgeon's consent before resuming your diet after a digestive stoma. If the latter has contraindications to certain foods, be sure to respect them.
The recommendations below will allow you to eat while respecting your stoma or your transit if you have just received a replacement. This is not about a strict diet, but about precautions. These few tips will allow you to have a balanced food intake, suitable for your needs and allowing you to have good transit.
Eating with a digestive stoma
In general, be sure to eat at regular times to limit trips to the toilet and eat slowly to facilitate your digestion. Reintroduce new foods gradually and a new one with each meal, with small portions to start. Remove those that you have identified as poorly tolerated by your body. You may be able to reintroduce them later. The important thing is to rediscover the pleasure of eating while taking care of your stoma.
Limit certain food products to avoid inconvenience:
- Foods with thick skin (apples for example), can irritate the stoma.
- Nuts that can block and irritate the stoma.
- Foods containing small seeds such as tomatoes or raspberries are sometimes poorly digested.
- It is better to cook food, as it promotes abundant stools when raw (save raw vegetables in case of constipation).
- Avoid foods containing too much fiber if you often have a bowel movement: favor starchy foods such as rice to slow down transit and thicken faeces.
- Certain foods cause more gas and bloating which can cause pain and swell your stoma pouches, such as onions, green beans, grapes, and cabbage. Also, limit chewing gum.
- Others can cause strong, unpleasant odors in your ostomy pouch, such as garlic, egg, or fish.
Digestive stoma and normal diet are therefore not incompatible. You can also eat certain yogurts and cheeses which, thanks to their lactic ferments, will restore the bacterial flora in your intestines and limit certain odors.
Drinking with a digestive stoma
To accompany your meals, it is recommended to drink a lot, especially if you have diarrhea in order to compensate for the water losses. It is normally advisable to drink at least 1.5 L to 2 L of water per day. Soups or fruit juices allow you to fill up with minerals and vitamins while hydrating your body.
Other drinks such as tea, infusions, and coffee are not prohibited, as long as you do not feel a physical sign alerting you to your consumption. On the other hand, forget about sodas which cause bloating and gas.
Finally, keep in mind that you need to listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel. Resuming a diet with a digestive stoma is a time-consuming process, so it is necessary to be patient and function by performing tests in your diet. If you experience nausea or vomiting, contact your doctor promptly, as it may be an obstruction. If you see any signs of weight loss, talk to your dietitian or enterostomal therapy nurse.