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Diet for Colostomy Reversal

author image Carolyn Robbins
Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.
Diet for Colostomy Reversal
You may be placed on a clear liquid diet before surgery. Photo Credit wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

When your colon, rectum or anus is injured and needs a rest, your doctor may recommend a colostomy -- a surgical procedure that brings the large intestine to the surface of the abdomen so that waste can be deposited in a bag instead of traveling the rest of the way through the digestive tract. If you are in good health, it may be possible to reverse the colostomy within the first year. Even after a successful reversal, you can expect a change in your bowel habits. Modifying your diet may help to normalize bowel movements and make you more comfortable.

Before Surgery

Diet for Colostomy Reversal
Ask your doctor about any concerns you have about your pre-surgery diet. Photo Credit Alexander Raths/iStock/Getty Images

Your doctor will give you dietary instructions to follow in preparation for surgery. You may be restricted to a liquid diet for a few days before your operation. Ask questions to clarify diet instructions. For instance, it's important to know whether you can have all liquids or just clear liquids such as broth, water and apple juice. Your doctor will probably also prescribe medicine to clear out your bowels before surgery.

Foods to Avoid

Diet for Colostomy Reversal
Limit foods that will irritate your digestive tract. Photo Credit Laks-Art/iStock/Getty Images

While you recover from your operation, it's important to avoid foods that will irritate your digestive tract. The Stepping Hill Hospital recommends limiting or eliminating citrus fruits and other highly acidic foods, vegetables that cause flatulence such as brussels sprouts and spicy foods. Additionally, you should limit your consumption of beer and carbonated beverages and avoid heavy, greasy meals.

Snack Schedule

Diet for Colostomy Reversal
Eat small snacks and meals throughout the day. Photo Credit Warren Goldswain/iStock/Getty Images

Your gut won't be able to handle large quantities of food, so you may find it helpful to follow a set routine of small snacks throughout the day. Stepping Hill Hospital recommends that you finish eating before 7 p.m. so you won't be woken up by diarrhea during the night.

Food Diary

Diet for Colostomy Reversal
Keep a food journal to isolate foods that can be problematic. Photo Credit serezniy/iStock/Getty Images

Bowel function after a colostomy reversal can be erratic and unpredictable. To isolate the foods that are problematic for you, keep a simple journal. Carry a notebook and jot down everything you eat. Make notes about your bowel movements, too. For instance, if you notice that diarrhea consistently follows after your morning coffee, you may want to cut back on caffeine.

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