A colostomy is a procedure in which one end of the colon (a section of the intestine) is diverted via an incision in the stomach. A stoma is the name for the opening. To collect your faeces, a pouch might be inserted over the stoma (for your stools). It is possible to have a permanent or temporary colostomy.
What to eat with a colostomy bag? Unfortunately, you will be best avoiding high fiber food, raw vegetables, and will need to drink plenty of water. However, your relationship with food doesn’t need to be ruined with bland foods and a liquid diet, just adjust to a low fiber and low fat lifestyle.
Since your digestive tract has been quite literally rerouted, high fiber food can lead to difficulty emptying your colostomy bag. A liquid diet is often recommended as a colostomy diet, as it eases the passage of faeces into the stoma pouch.
Other stool softeners are available as over the counter medication, if yu really want to avoid a diet based on fluids only. Still, you will need to be drinking up to eight glasses of water every day regardless of your food choices with the colostomy bag.
The Colostomy Diet
The colostomy diet is a set of rough diet guidelines by doctors for those living with a colostomy bag. However, doctors are also ready and available to discuss any other living concerns you may have with your new pouch. These can include how to sleep, exercise, or even return to work.
You may wish to keep your ostomy surgery private, and the doctor can suggest a number of ways this can be done. For example, some companies even design special products like ostomy swimsuits so you can go to the beach. These extra ostomy supplies are great specialty products for people with ostomies who are shy about their surgery, or feel embarrassed of their body image.
The most common question about a colostomy bag is concerning the smell. Naturally, an ostomy pouch filled with body waste will not smell pleasant, so most will add deodorant tablets to neutralise the powerful odour of the stool.
The intake of foods in your diet after surgery can reduce the severity and risks of further digestive issues and problems. While you can resume a more normal diet over time, immediately after surgery you should stick to bland, low fiber foods unlikely to cause intestinal obstructions or difficulty.
Among your food options, you should also consider a liquid or low residue diet. Avoiding solid foods will make adjusting to your colostomy bag much easier, and this bland diet won’t last forever. Make sure to discuss diet options and any questions about foods with your healthcare provider.
A recovery diet like this is the typical diet for those after surgery. As your ostomy nurse may tell you, it is thankfully a short term diet. Your regular diet may nclude solid foods, but people with ostomies must still monitor their intake of foods and may take extra medication to soften their excretions.
You will need to give your colon time to heal, just ask your ostomy nurse. Your recovery period can be a struggle, with your stoma and individual body contour potentially making some clothes uncomfortable. However, once out of recovery you can enjoy life and a great diet.
Foods to Avoid
An ostomy with people used to a diet of high fat or fried foods can be problematic. Fat foods and high sugar foods are bad for your body as is, but with a stoma it can be made even worse. Undigested fat is one of the most common blockages alongside fibre for ostomy pouching.
Raw foods are also more difficult to digest. While you wouldn’t eat raw meat in your typical diet, raw fruits are examples of foods you may consume raw without even thinking. Raw vegetables are just as similar, and you should make a conscious effort to try and cook them. Cruciferous vegetables fall under this list of hard to digest too.
On top of high fat and fried food, high fat darit, spicy foods, and carbonated drinks can cause serious issue. Carbonated drinks and dairy are both considered gas causing foods. While the stoma pouch is designed to release some gas, an excess from gas causing foods can be a cause of issue.
Depending on your liquid food tolerance, you should aim for anywhere between a thin watery consistency or a more viscous porridge or smoothie type of consistency. For those with a food intolerance, you should still avoid your allergy to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction of food poisoning.
You should also avoid whole wheat bread and heavy seeds. Flax seeds, hemp seeds, these can affect the size of your stool and be a core component of intestina blockages. Simple meal ideas often include these as a way to add on to a protein diet, but they’re best avoided.
Foods to Try
Refined grains such as white bread, white rice, and white toast are good low fiber foods with a way of keeping carbs in your diet. Brown rice and wheat bread can be healthy without a stoma, but with one you’ll only be inviting intestinal bowel obstructions.
Low fiber foods in general are better than spicy foods or other fatty food you may have to cut out. Refined grains are also essential on a low residue diet, which permits solid food intake. People with ostomies can enjoy a variety of diets after their recovery period, even without extra ostomy supplies.
Pulp free fruit juice is the best way to enjoy your juices, but a low fat yogurt is just the right consistency for your dairy intake. Nonfat yogurt and lactose free yogurt both have the great taste of dairy, without the added pressure of excess gas buildup.
On top of water and fruit juices, drink sports drinks. These isotonic drinks are literally designed to hydrate your body efficiently, as well as provide needed electrolytes and a boost of energy you may be missing. Low sugar, low fat, great taste.
Seedless vegetables in frequent meals, provided they’re cooked, can be easy for the body to digest. Not to mention it’s a great way to fit in vital vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body may end up needing and unable to get in glasses of fluid.
While you enjoy white bread over wheat bread, why not find other ways to get in a protein diet. Lean proteins from chicken and fish are healthy ways to include fat and protein into your life. Lean proteins are also very delicious.
Drinking and Colostomy Bags
After bowel surgery, the last thing you want to do is make your bowel movements bulkier. Watery bowel movements are healthy bowel movements with an ostomy pouch, and watery bowel movements will reduce your risk of inflammatory bowel disease and further distressing pains.
As such, natural laxative fruit juices such as prune and cranberry juice can be the perfect way to induce healthy bowel movements. Cranberry juice and grape juice both offer a delicious way to flush the bowel, as well as being filled with anti oxidants.
Hot water with lemon juice is another great alternative if you dislike the taste of cranberry juice. This combination is a medicinal classic for clearing stuffy noses if you catch the common cold, and it can unblock the bowel just as well as your nose.
Difficulty to digest foods still extends to some liquids, such as soft drinks. After a colon surgery, sugary and gassy drinks can cause colon discomfort. This goes for sparkling water as well as any other carbonated beverages with excessive gas.
You may take prescription medications with water, but you should avoid caffeinated beverages and alcoholic beverages, which can put unnecessary strain on your digestion. Caffeinated beverages may be fine in moderation, but you should never consume alcohol with pain medication.