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Returning to normal life

Food and drink

Diet is one of the main concerns people have and talk about following surgery. With your new stoma you may have some questions around what food you should and shouldn’t eat.

What can/can't I eat

Colostomates

Where possible it is best to eat a low fibre diet and stick to bland foods at the beginning. You can start to reintroduce your normal diet routine slowly. If you think a particular food is causing problems, try avoiding it for 2 weeks, then reintroduce it into your diet. Which foods affect you depends very much on your current diet and your own digestive system. Experiment and enjoy!

There is no need for dietary restrictions when you have a colostomy. A healthy diet with plenty of water is recommended.

Colostomates may be prone to constipation.

Management / prevention of constipation:

Drink plenty of fluids

Eat regular meals, slowly increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables

Chew your food thoroughly

Ensure wholegrain foods such as bread and cereals are included

Exercise regularly

Check medications which may cause constipation

Ileostomates

Where possible it is best to eat a low fibre diet and stick to bland foods at the beginning. You can start to reintroduce your normal diet routine slowly. If you think a particular food is causing problems, try avoiding it for 2 weeks, then reintroduce it into your diet. Which foods affect you depends very much on your current diet and your own digestive system. Experiment and enjoy!

What food to avoid

You want to avoid things like nuts, mushrooms, sweetcorn and coconut, as they might result in a blockage if not properly digested.

Food blockages

Some food can swell in the bowel and may cause a blockage. This will cause your ileostomy to stop working. You should seek urgent advice from your GP or Stoma Nurse if you think you are experiencing a blockage.

Urostomates

Your diet won’t be restricted but what you eat and drink can affect the smell and colour of your urine.

Drink

If your urine is dark, this is generally an indication that you are dehydrated, and you need to drink more fluids. Drink 6-8 glasses of water or other fluids each day.

Food

Foods such as radishes, fish, beetroot, spinach and spices may cause your urine to have an unusual odour and colour, but this isn’t anything to worry about.

Medication

Some medications can also affect the colour and odour of urine. Odour can be reduced by eating/drinking cranberry juice, yogurt, buttermilk and parsley/mint.

Keeping hydrated

Keeping hydrated is an important aspect of living with a stoma. For many people it is just making sure you are drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. You should try to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day along with any other drinks such as tea or coffee. 

Introducing: A Bigger Life Community

A safe and welcoming space for ostomates, friends, family and caregivers to talk about a wide range of topics related to living with a stoma.