Ostomy Care 101

Ostomy Nutrition Guide

Eating is one of life’s great pleasures. Having an ostomy should not change your enjoyment of food. Most people with ostomies return to their normal diet soon after the operation. Many individuals with ostomies can enjoy a normal diet; however, food tolerances can vary from person to person. The most important dietary concerns for ostomy patients are preventing blockage and avoiding foods that produce unpleasant odors or gas. The following general guidelines will help make caring for your ostomy easier:

Eat meals regularly and chew your food well
You should eat three or more times a day. An ostomy works best this way and produces less gas. If you have an ileostomy, be especially careful when chewing foods that may be hard to digest or foods that have a high fiber content. Chewing well will help to avoid a blockage at your stoma site.

Try new foods one at a time and no two people will react the same to the same food
Learn which foods may give you annoying side effects such as excess gas, constipation, a looser stool, or odor. If a new food seems to give you problems, eliminate it for a few weeks, but try it again later. You may find something else was causing your problem. You will learn through experience which foods, if any, you should avoid.

Preventing blockage
There are no real restrictions to your diet, unless you experience a problem with a particular food. The possibility of blockage of the stoma is usually only a concern if you have an ileostomy. Certain foods, if eaten in large amounts or not chewed well, may cause a blockage at the stoma opening. Use caution when eating the following foods, because they are not completely digestible and could cause blockage:
• celery
• nuts
• popcorn
• seeds
• Chinese vegetables
• peas
• coconut
• vegetable skins
• raw pineapple
• mushrooms
• coleslaw
• salad greens
• raisins
• relishes (and other dried fruits).
You do not need to avoid these foods. Just eat small amounts and be sure to chew them well.

Reducing Odor
If you experience a problem with odor, you may try making some changes in your diet. Cleanliness and odor-resistant appliances also play a big part in controlling odor. The following are known to produce odor:
• alcohol
• baked beans
• cauliflower
• eggs
• asparagus
• broccoli
• fish
• onions
• brussels sprouts
• cabbage
• cheese (certain types).
Do not eliminate these automatically. If you experience a problem after eating one of these foods, try a small amount again in a few weeks to be sure. Always experiment before cutting out your favorite foods. Buttermilk, parsley, and yogurt may help reduce odor. You can include one of them in your daily diet. Certain vitamins and drugs can cause odor, so remind your doctor that you have an ostomy when he is prescribing medication for you.
Reducing Gas
Everyone produces gas along with bowel movements. Some gas is normal, and it is always to be expected. If excess gas becomes a problem for you, it can be controlled to some degree by your diet. Factors such as when and how you eat certain foods can help reduce gas production. Try following these tips:
• Eat regularly. Skipping meals is likely to produce gas.
• Avoid swallowing air while eating. You can do this by taking your time when eating. Relax and don’t talk with your mouth full.
• Avoid chewing gum or drinking through a straw. These activities can also cause you to swallow air. The following foods and beverages are just a few that may cause excess gas. If you are bothered by gas, you can try eliminating these foods altogether. Or you can try to avoid having more than one of them at one meal. Again, do not eliminate these foods unless you are sure they are really responsible for the unpleasant side effects.
• asparagus
• fish
• beer
• melons
• broccoli
• milk
• brussels sprouts
• nuts
• cabbage
• onion
• cauliflower
• radishes
• cucumbers
• soda
• dried peas and beans
• sweets.

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Blood, poop and tears ... and rising above it.

I say this with the utmost respect. The fact that you put yourself out there and talk about a lot of taboo issues with humour and intelligence is wonderful and inspiring. I personally believe that part of healing is not being mentally consumed by a condition. Clearly you are taking control OVER the disease as much as you can but still, I have to wonder if you can move post ibd, cancer and other significant cases. MANY people have their own issues too. I have several very close family members who have been near death and clawed their way back. I would do my best to think of myself as healthy and well and not diseased and uncured. (Anonymous)