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Ostomy Diet

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
Ostomy Diet
A homemade cheesy pepperoni pizza. Photo Credit: iuliia_n/iStock/Getty Images

The ostomy diet is a post-colostomy diet, recommended for two weeks following surgery. Colostomy is a surgical procedure whereby part of the large intestine is removed or left unused and rejoined after healing. A light weight disposable bag is commonly required to release fecal matter. This type of surgery is generally performed to treat obstruction or injury to the bowel.

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Because each surgery and situation is different, there are no specific guidelines. The ostomy diet is designed to keep stools normal following surgery. The goal is to prevent blockages, promote healing and minimize gastrointestinal issues, such as odors, diarrhea, flatulence, and constipation. Surgery causes your bowel to swell. This swelling generally lasts 6 to 8 weeks. The ostomy diet aims to reduce additional pressure in your bowel.

General Guidelines

If consuming dairy products causes gas, avoid eating dairy for the first month after surgery. Cut food into small pieces and chew foods several times before swallowing. Add new foods one at a time so that you can observe the effects. If the item causes gastrointestinal issues, remove it for the first month after surgery. Choose low-fiber foods to reduce residue in the intestinal tract.

Gas and Odors

The ostomy diet involves troubleshooting. Your doctor will provide a list of foods that commonly produce gas, odors, diarrhea and blockages. Troubleshoot these items and avoid them if they cause gastrointestinal issues. Foods that commonly cause gas include beans, soy, cabbage, cauliflower, dairy, nuts and onions. Foods that generally produce odors include asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, fish and eggs.


If you are using an ostomy bag, it is important to assure that your bowel flow is unobstructed. Certain foods that can cause obstruction. These foods include cabbage, celery, corn, mushrooms, dried fruit and popcorn. If obstruction occurs after eating any of these foods, remove them until your doctor determines they are safe to consume.


Eating 4 to 6 small meals each day at the same time can help promote regularity. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day. If diarrhea occurs, medications such as Imodium can help. Some foods can help alleviate gastrointestinal issues. Cranberry and orange juice can help control odor issues; banana, breads and peanut butter can help control diarrhea. Prune juice can help alleviate promote regularity.

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