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5 Tips for Ostomy Patients on Managing Food

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What is a good diet for ileostomates who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)? Are there certain foods that can cause discomfort or even a blockage? Dietary needs and what can be tolerated varies in each ostomy patient and depends on how healthy the small intestine is. After surgery, it needs to adapt to the changes made to it.

There are general guidelines when it comes to consuming food and beverages:

1. Start with bland food for the first few weeks post op. They are easier to digest and aren’t spicy or fried.

2. Drink plenty of water to avoid being dehydrated.

3. When introducing new foods, do it one at a time and chew slowly.

4. If the output changes to too much liquid, it could be related to food, medicine or flu. If this happens, you most likely will be losing too much bodily fluid. Seek medical attention if it lasts more than 24 hours.

5. If you have symptoms of a blockage (no output in the appliance, pain, nausea, vomiting and spasms), call the doctor immediately.

Remember to discuss any concerns with your physician or wound care nurse before incorporating fresh food items into your diet. Steer clear of things that can cause problems such as nuts, seeds, popcorn, mushrooms, raw-crunchy vegetables and dried fruit. If you have other dietary issues such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease, you may want the help of a dietician to assist you. They could assist in merging your usual food requirements with short term needs of your ostomy. This will help you ensure a healthy balanced diet for Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.

The UOAA (United Ostomy Association of America) has a food reference chart to help patients figure out what’s best to eat/drink and what would cause GI discomfort or should be avoided altogether.

Food consumption varies in each patient based upon their diagnosis. By working together with their IBD team, suitable meals can be made for each particular need.

Getty image by Alyona Zueva

Originally published: June 24, 2021
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