Colostomy Diet and Nutrition

Nutrition-wise, it would be necessary to emphasize that no standard diet plan or recommendation can be given to any patient at any time. This is not like your average car that you feed the same type of gas for all models, types or makes. Individualized trial and error is something that everyone will appreciate in the long run.

In general, colostomy and Ileostomy patients need to maintain a well balanced diet. However, patients have a hard time keeping up with a balanced diet because of food restrictions, irritants and lifestyle issues. That's why taking nutritional supplements would really be of benefit to anyone with a colostomy.

Colostomy Nutritional Guidelines

The following are someĀ  guidelines that experienced Ostomates recommend to old and new Ostomates. As they say, two heads are better than one. Well, this one goes out from a lot of heads so you might want to dig in on these.

For Colostomy and Ileostomy Patients:

Soups, blended drinks and soft-cooked items are gentle on a healing system thus making them an excellent part of a colostomy patient's diet.

Tone down on foods rich in fiber especially in the first 6-8 weeks after surgery. These will make the stool firmer and will have detrimental effects to your GI tract which needs to be rested for the time being.

High potassium foods will help offset the effects of diarrhea. Foods that can cause loose stools include: hot beverages, chocolate, prunes or prune juice, foods containing sorbitol (a low-calorie sweetener), spicy foods, beer or red wine, dried beans, licorice and soups. If you get diarrhea - rice, soda crackers and bananas are the best remedy -also H20, H20, H20 - boil it if you want to. You can also add lemon to your water. Foods that can also help thicken stool include: pudding such as tapioca, creamy peanut butter, pasta, potatoes, applesauce, rice and cheese.

Rice, potatoes or pasta once daily may reduce frequency and irritation.
Good food choice considerations: cottage cheese, eggs, ground meats, chicken or fish, rice in sauce or gravy, skinless baked or mashed potatoes, pancakes or waffles with syrup, cooked hot cereals, cold cereals softened in milk, applesauce, soft bananas, well-ripened pears or peaches without skins, pumpkin pie, melons, whipped topping, cheesecake and fruit smoothies.

Have regular timing of meals during the day. Do not skip meals. Having 4-6 smaller but more frequent meals is worth trying out.

Do not eat heavy meals on evenings as they tend to increase stool output during the
night. In lieu, try having your heavy meal of the day midday so you can manage the output during the daytime.

Chew foods completely. In other words - chew a lot!!! Eat slowly, sip - don't gulp. Remember, your GI tract is not anymore running at 100% so you might as well give it a push. Big leafy vegetables are notorious in blocking the stoma especially if you're having a right sided one. In addition, you might want to tell your wife/husband/cook to be cautious in slicing ingredients and kindly ask them to make them into smaller bites for easier digestion.

Introduce your favorite foods one at a time. There's no reason for you not to enjoy your favorite food once again, but you just have to observe its effect on your stoma. If your favorite food causes discomfort at first, try introducing it again after a month or so and evaluate any improvements.

Quench your thirst. This familiar advertisement line proves helpful in Ostomy patients as you are prone to dehydration. Give yourself enough hydration for the day as your stoma looses more water than it used to. 6-8 glasses of water a day will suffice. Ever heard of electrolyte chews? Some of my patients always bring one in their pockets wherever they go to avoid dehydration.

Avoid or eat sparingly: gum, popcorn, coconut, celery, shells of peas, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, granola type cereals, nuts, seeds and skins. Sometimes dairy can be a problem; if it is - there are many lactose intolerant items available.

Certain foods change the color and appearance of the stool. For instance, Beets make the stool appear reddish and green-leafy-vegetables make the stool appear darker. Keep an eye on these changes to anticipate in the future.