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How Should I Eat After a Colostomy?

Making a Few Diet Changes After Colostomy Surgery Will Help Your Body Adjust

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Updated May 27, 2014

Do I Need a Special Colostomy or Colectomy Diet After Surgery?

Typically, a person will receive only IV fluids for 2-3 days after a colectomy or colostomy, 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 want to avoid certain foods that cause odors or gas, which can over-inflate the colostomy bag and make it more difficult to manage.

Foods that sometimes need to be limited, in order to make it easier to manage your colostomy, 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
  • Corn and popcorn
  • Brown and wild rice
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Cakes, pies, cookies, and other sweets
  • High fat and fried food such as fried chicken, sausage, and other fatty meats

Other foods can be helpful after a colostomy, to thicken the stool and minimize odors, including:

  • Yogurt (with live and active cultures)
  • Cranberry juice
  • Bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Well-cooked, sticky white rice
  • Buttermilk
  • Tapioca
  • White toast

Why is Chewing So Important After Colostomy Surgery?

Finally, be sure to thoroughly chew everything you eat. Chewing is an important part of the digestive process and we all chew our food to some degree. However, if you make a special effort to chew food very well, it will help you manage your colostomy more easily. Try to chew everything until it is liquid in your mouth.

Sources

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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