What to Eat After an Ostomy Surgery?

Ostomy is a lifesaving surgical procedure that helps to pass the body wastes pass by an artificially created stoma in the abdomen. It is attached to a prosthetic called an ostomy bag or an ostomy pouch, which is kept outside the body or sometimes internally.

Ostomy is a treatment for various birth defects, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer, IBD and many other diseases. There is no age limit for this surgery and it doesn’t affect life expectancy. But once this surgery is performed, the patient is extremely concerned about the dietary guidelines and lifestyle changes.

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Elizabeth Wall is a registered dietitian who has shared a few dietary tips after going through an ostomy surgery.

After ostomy surgery, the patients are recommended to follow eating foods with low residue for one month, at least. This low reside diet carries low fiber in it. “Residue” means any solid content to reach the intestines.  Foods with fiber include the following.

  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dry fruits
  • Fruit and veggie skin

Wall says “A good way to remember this is to avoid any fruit or vegetables that you can’t cut with the side of your fork.” She further tells that you should wait for your doctor to allow you to eat fiber again after some time.

The fluid intake after an ostomy depends on the part where your ostomy surgery was completed such as colon, small intestine, etc. Depending upon where was it completed, your doctor would suggest a standard daily fluid intake. Wall says; “Be sure to discuss the amount and types of fluid intake with your ostomy nurse or registered dietitian.”

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You are not advised to eat foods with soluble fibers. These foods can cause gas accumulation reaching to the ostomy bag. If this happens, the ostomy bag would give a really bad odor. The only way to avoid it is by eating foods that have soluble fiber in them such as dry beans, soy, onions, dairy foods, alcohol, etc.

You can not make a decision about eating normal, on your own. Only after approval of your surgeon, you can eat normal. He would usually change your dietary guidelines after checking the swelling of your surgery and overall health status after the surgery. After that, you can start eating normal foods moderately. Wall explains; “If you experience any bloating or discomfort, you may want to avoid high fiber foods for a little longer and contact your doctor’s office.”

She further says; “If you have loose or watery stoma output, try adding starchy foods like pasta, rice, bread, crackers, bananas, unsweetened applesauce, peanut butter, tapioca, instant oatmeal or cheese into your diet.”



Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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