Your post-ileostomy menu need not be overly restrictive, but by making a few changes in your eating plan, you can prevent uncomfortable digestive symptoms. Patients can help prevent issues like constipation, diarrhea and unpleasant odors by limiting certain trigger foods. Since each individual is different, you can customize this list of foods to avoid after ileostomy by tracking your symptoms (or lack of symptoms) after eating these foods.
Consuming the following foods, especially in larger quantity, can thicken the texture of waste products or add stickiness. You can counteract this in part by drinking plenty of water daily. Constipation increases the chance of a pouch blockage or difficulty in emptying the pouch. If constipation is a problem for you, consider limiting these foods, although you may not need to avoid them completely:
Sugar-free food may seem like an excellent idea for general health, whether or not you’ve had an ileostomy—and that’s true. However, when you’re choosing a food item that’s labeled sugar-free, such as a beverage or snack, be sure to check the packaging for sorbitol. Used to sweeten sugar-free mints, chewing gum and candy, sorbitol can act as a laxative, forcing your to empty your external pouch or internal reservoir more often.
A number of foods (those that contribute to bad breath) also tend to increase the odor of waste products, which can make emptying your pouch unpleasant. Try limiting these items in your diet to combat the problem:
Improve odors with these foods:
By eating these foods in moderation after your surgery, and noting your reaction after consuming them, you can optimize your post-ileostomy diet and improve your comfort. Your bowel will be swollen for several weeks after surgery, so some foods that cause discomfort early on can later be consumed without issues after surgical recovery. Other ways to aid digestion after ileostomy include cooking food well, cutting it into small pieces and being sure to chew all food completely.
If you’re interested in learning more about your ileostomy options, or about ileostomy reversal, contact noted expert Dr. Don Schiller at the Center for Ileostomy Surgery online, or by calling our Los Angeles offices at 323-472-9931.