What is ostomy diet?

Ostomy Diet

Ostomy diet: Overview

Right after an ostomy you will only be allowed to have liquids. Little by little you can add foods to your diet. In time, you may be able to eat many of the foods you enjoyed before the ostomy.

The foods you eat pass more quickly through your body and out into the ostomy pouch. This means that some foods may cause smells, gas, or diarrhea. You may want to avoid these foods, along with foods such as nuts or popcorn that might block the intestine. Always talk with your doctor before you make changes in your diet.

How do you follow an ostomy diet?

  • Eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from the basic food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein foods.
  • Eat 3 to 4 meals a day at regular times. It may help to avoid big meals in the evening, so that you do not pass a big amount of waste into the ostomy pouch during the night. You can add snacks during the day.
  • If you notice bad odors from your ostomy pouch, note which foods cause odors so that you can limit them. Eggs, dried beans, fish, corn, garlic, onions, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, and alcohol may cause odors. Very spicy foods and some vitamin and mineral supplements also cause odors. Try cranberry juice, buttermilk, yogurt, or parsley to help reduce odors. You also can use odor-proof ostomy bags or special deodorants for the bags.
  • If gas or diarrhea is a problem, limit or avoid beans, cabbage, onions, beer, carbonated drinks, cheese, coffee, spinach, raw fruits, and sprouts.
  • Chew slowly, and take your time eating. That will help your body digest the food.
  • If you eat seeds and kernels, take the time to chew them well, because they can block or get stuck in the intestine. Other foods that can block the intestine include raisins, raw vegetables, and corn.
  • Some foods will pass through your body without being completely digested. And some foods may change the color of your stools. You may see corn kernels, bright red beet juice, red pepper pieces, and other bits of your meals in the pouch. This is normal.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids. Your doctor may recommend that you drink 2 to 3 quarts of water each day. Your large intestine is no longer absorbing liquids from what you eat and drink, and your body still needs those fluids. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Your doctor may recommend that you drink liquid that contains electrolytes to help replace lost fluids and minerals. These include drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, or other rehydration drinks that your doctor suggests. Or you can make your own drink. Measure everything carefully. The drink may not work well or may even be harmful if the amounts are off. Mix together:
    • 1 quart water
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 6 teaspoons sugar
  • Talk to your doctor about taking vitamin and mineral supplements.

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