Diets for Colostomy Patients

Nurse Helping Senior Man To Walk
Surgery recovery (Image: Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images)

A colostomy is a surgical procedure that creates a hole or stoma on the abdomen and brings out one end of the colon through the stoma for the purposes of stool expulsion. A colostomy bag is attached to the stoma for stool collection. A colostomy is done due to problems in the colon, such as colon cancer and intestinal trauma. Patients with colostomies should consume foods that prevent complications and enable the stoma to heal.

Balanced Diet

Close up on blurred  popcorn
Popcorn may block the stoma (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Patients with colostomies should consume regular balanced diets that provide carbohydrates, proteins, fats, oils, vitamins and minerals, which are nutrients that maintain a healthy body. Some patients may not tolerate some foods after a colostomy procedure. Examples of foods that may not be tolerated include dairy products, such as milk, cheese and cream. To prevent diarrhea and stomach cramps due to food intolerance, eat small portions after the colostomy procedure and then gradually increase your portion sizes. Patients should make sure they chew food properly to avoid a blockage at the stoma site. Examples of foods that may block the stoma include raw seeds such as flaxseeds, popcorn and raisins.

Avoid Gas-Forming Foods

raw broccoli
Avoid broccoli (Image: CGissemann/iStock/Getty Images)

Patients with colostomies may notice excess gas, bloating and odor after consuming certain gas-forming foods, such as cabbages, broccoli, baked beans, eggs and fish. To prevent odor, patients should increase intake of foods that help control odor and gas, such as yogurt, buttermilk, cultured milk and parsley. Dietary supplements, such as fish oil and garlic tablets, can also cause odor. Patients should consult their doctor and pharmacist before taking any new medication.

Increase Fluids

Senior woman drinking water, close-up, side view
Drink plenty of water (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The colon's main work is to reabsorb fluids and create stool. Colostomies may lead to greater loss of fluids if parts of the colon that reabsorb water are removed, according to the University of Pittsburg Medical Center. Patients with colostomies should therefore increase intake of fluids, such as plain water, gatorade, soups and broth. Intake of caffeine beverages, such as coffee and tea, should be minimized because caffeine is a diuretic and causes patients to lose more fluids.

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