With some minor adjustments, you can enjoy a regular diet after your colostomy.
After a colostomy procedure, many patients wonder if they’ll be able to return to a normal diet. For the most part, they can: with a few tweaks to the menu, they can enjoy delicious, healthy meals while maintaining proper digestion.
During colostomy surgery, a surgeon removes all or part of the colon. An opening, or stoma, is made through the abdominal wall through which fecal matter collects in an attached external pouch. Immediately after the surgery, patients are given only IV fluids for two to three days to allow the colon time to heal. Clear liquids, such as broth or juice, or easily digestible foods like toast and oatmeal, are permitted after that period.
As they recover, patients begin to incorporate more foods into their diet. However, some foods should be avoided in order to prevent discomfort. Yet patients can still enjoy satisfying meals after the procedure with a diet that promotes good digestion.
In general, foods that cause gas and bloating are not recommended. These foods make managing a colostomy bag difficult, so reducing your consumption of or eliminating them from your diet allows your colon to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste efficiently.
Foods to avoid include:
– Raw vegetables
– Nuts and seeds
– Dairy products
– Fruit and vegetable skins
– High-fiber foods such as whole grain bread and cereals with wheat bran
– High-sugar foods
– High-fat fried foods
– Brown and wild rice
– Highly carbonated drinks
Instead, your diet should include foods that promote good digestion by thickening the stool. Among those foods are:
– Peanut butter
– Apple sauce
– Live-culture yogurt
– White rice
As with any diet, experiment with different foods to see how your body reacts. You might be able to tolerate some fruits and vegetables better than others. However, you’ll likely want to phase out certain foods that cause gas or discomfort.
In addition to modifying your diet, drinking six to eight glasses of water a day encourages proper digestion and bowel movements. Chew food completely before swallowing as this will make it easier to digest.
Following a colostomy, blockages in the colon may occur. This could be due to scar tissue, a narrowing of the bowels, or foods that cause constipation. If you notice you are not eliminating fecal matter, have watery stools, have abdominal cramps or pain, or feel nauseous, drink plenty of water to push the blockage out through the colostomy pouch. Contact a medical professional if those symptoms don’t subside within a day.
A colostomy doesn’t have to disrupt they way you live — or eat. You can still enjoy many of the foods you love. After your procedure, a stoma nurse and nutritionist can help you create a healthy menu that promotes normal digestion and elimination, which will make your colostomy bag easier to manage.
Dr. Don Schiller and the care staff at the Center Ileostomy Surgery have many years of experience helping colostomy patients stay healthy and adjust to their new lifestyle. Contact us today for a consultation.