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How Should I Eat After a Colectomy Surgery?

A Few Smart Food Choices Can Go a Long Way toward Eating Well After Colectomy


Updated April 28, 2014

Do I Need a Special Colectomy Diet After Surgery?

Typically, a person will receive only IV fluids for 2-3 days after a colectomy, to give the colon time to heal. After that, you will try clear liquids, such as soup broth and juice, followed by easy-to-digest foods, such as toast and oatmeal.

You will be able to go back to your normal diet after this, but you may find some foods you used to eat are difficult to digest. You can avoid these foods for now. Over time, your body will adjust and you should be able to eat what you want.

Foods that sometimes need to be limited until your body adjusts to a colectomy include:

  • Raw vegetables
  • Skins and peels of fruit (fruit flesh is OK)
  • Dairy products
  • Very high fiber food such as wheat bran cereals and breads
  • Beans, peas, and lentils
  • Cakes, pies, cookies, and other sweets
  • High fat and fried food such as fried chicken, sausage, and other fatty meats


American Cancer Society. The Cancer Experience: Colon and Rectum Cancer. Making Treatment Decisions. Accessed: January 21, 2009. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_8_Making_Treatment_Decisions_Colon_and_Rectum_Cancer.asp

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Ostomy Nutrition Guide. Accessed: January 21, 2009. http://www.upmc.com/healthatoz/patienteducation/n/pages/ostomynutritionguide.aspx

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