Ostomy and diet

Adequate nutrition is one of the cornerstones of our health. It is especially important to be aware of this fact if you have had a major surgery such as ostomy that directly and sometimes permanently affects your digestive system.

The importance of nutrients for your health and stoma recovery

Through our diet, our organism obtains nutrients, chemical substances contained in the food necessary for our health, energy and body recovery. Therefore, you need an adequate diet rich in nutrients on a daily basis, especially after surgery because it enables a successful recovery of your body.

For example, once your go through the ostomy procedure, proteins are nutrients that will play an essential role in healing your wound. On the other hand, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a lack of energy, which may make it harder to cope with rehabilitation requirements and, in general, cause you to have less energy for the activities you love.

In addition to solid food, you should not forget about the appropriate daily intake of liquids into the body.

Fluid is important for the hydration of your body, but also for the proper functioning of the stoma. If you have an ileostomy, then you must pay a special attention to the fluid intake because the colon, the main task of which is to re-absorb the fluids from digested food residues, is no longer a part of your digestion.

In order to avoid dehydration and to compensate for the loss of electrolytes - essential minerals such as sodium and potassium, it is recommended that you drink sufficient amounts of water or mineral water and drinks with electrolytes every day. On the other hand, avoid carbonated drinks which cause flatulence.

If you have a urostomy, urinary tract infections are always possible. You can reduce this risk by paying attention to an appropriate intake of fluid into your body.

To some extent, ostomy may affect the ability of your digestive system to absorb nutrients from food.

For example, vitamin B12 is absorbed at the end of the small intestine. If a part of the end of the small intestine has been surgically removed, it will affect your ability to absorb B12 from food.,

Due to difficulties in absorbing certain nutrients, you may need food supplements, which you will determine through consultation with your doctor.


What is the best diet for you if you have a stoma?

In the weeks after the procedure, you should follow the special instructions regarding the diet given to you by your stoma nurse. During the transitional period after surgery, a low-fibre diet is usually recommended to allow the gastrointestinal tract to recover.

However, after recovery, you can continue with the diet you prefer.

It is important that you know that there is not one type of diet that would suit all people who have had an ostomy. Not only are there different types of stoma that can affect the specificities of a particular diet, but also the organism of different people can have a significantly different reaction to the same foods.

Therefore, in consultation with a doctor and a dietitian, you need to find the best diet for your individual case. To begin with, you can slowly introduce different foods into your diet and observe how your body and the stoma react to them.

Record observations in your diet diary to determine which foods are suitable for you and which not.

Keeping notes will make it easier for your doctor and dietician to determine which foods you need and why they create problems with your stoma and your digestion.

You should also not disregard the importance of an appropriate diet in the social context.

The stoma can produce sounds (winds) and unpleasant odours, which can be the result of consuming certain foods. Thus, by choosing the best diet for you, you will also be able to influence the sometimes unpredictable “behaviour” of your stoma.

It is positive that most people can continue with their usual diet after ostomy. In addition, it is likely that you have already had problems with digestion before your surgery, and that after the procedure, you will be able to enjoy food more than you did before.

Conclusion — four nutrition tips:

  • Consult a doctor and a dietician.

  • Consume nutrient-rich foods.

  • Pay attention to a sufficient fluid intake.

  • Keep a diet diary.



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