Trust your gut when it comes to food and drink.
You don’t have to give up the foods you love just because you have a stoma. Everyone is different and you’ll realise what foods suit you and your stoma as you go along. Follow some of our hints and tips to keep enjoying your favourite meals and drinks.
Eat a balanced diet
The advice is the same with or without a stoma. Certain things, such as rich, fatty foods, might play havoc with your bowels or beer, for instance, might make you gassier. In general, sticking with a good balance of protein-rich foods, wholegrains, fruit and veg will help your stoma to function properly. People with a stoma should take care to remove skins from fruit and vegetables and allow them to soften before eating.
You may find that certain foods upset you, if this is the case, avoid that food for a couple of weeks then try again, you may find that it’s ok.
Water is so essential for every function in the body and the amount you drink has a direct impact on your ‘output’. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid constipation. This is especially important for people living with an ileostomy as they lose more fluid and salt than other ostomates. Drinking alcohol is fine but remember it will cause you to be more dehydrated so compensate with extra water. If you have a very high output, you might be advised to limit your fluid intake, or told not to drink whilst you are eating, this is rare.
Stick to small portions
If you’re not sure how your body is going to react to certain food or drinks, keep the portion sizes small and see how you get on. You can gradually increase the size as you feel more comfortable. This is especially helpful if you’re out in a restaurant trying a new food or drinking for the first time in a while.
Avoid excess gas and manage odour
Certain foods and drinks will make you gassy which can lead to ballooning, where your bag inflates when you least expect it. Foods to eat in moderation include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beans, cucumber, onion and spicy foods. Foods that may increase odour are all the usual suspects: eggs, sprouts, cabbage, beans and asparagus are a few of the biggest culprits.