Ostomy Diet After Surgery
written by Olivia Baker, MS, RDN
When you hear that you need to have ileostomy surgery, you may wonder how this will affect your diet. The biggest concerns that patients with an ileostomy have include ostomy output, odor, and gas. While there is not an “official” ileostomy diet, there are some foods that can aggravate some of these symptoms. Some general suggestions to prevent or manage these concerns include:
- Keep regular meal times, this helps regulate ostomy output
- Chew all food thoroughly. Chewing eases the digestive process and can reduce the occurrence of blockages.
- Include stool-thickening foods. You typically absorb more nutrients and water when food moves slowly thorough the digestive tract. Foods that can help with this include applesauce, bananas, bread, rice, and pasta.
- Stay hydrated. Making up for fluid lost in your ostomy is key to preventing dehydration
- Try new foods one at a time. This will help you choose the foods that best agree with your body and can help manage stool consistency
- Avoid using straws and chewing gum. These cause excess gas.
- Know which foods cause odor, and which can help lessen it. For example, buttermilk and yogurt can help prevent odors caused by foods like asparagus, eggs, fish, garlic, and onions
It is a good idea to stay away from foods that cannot be completely digested during the first two weeks after surgery. This includes fresh/raw fruits and vegetables. Once you are cleared to begin adding these foods back into your diet, take it slow. Add one new food back in at a time, so you can help find what foods agree with you, and foods that do not. But it’s important to not eliminate a food from your diet without trying it a few times. A well-balanced diet will help your body recover from surgery and keep you on track for a healthy lifestyle.
Have more questions? Ask your care provider or ask them to schedule a nutrition consult with a Mayo Clinic RDN.