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Things Not to Eat With a Colostomy

author image Kristen Lichtenberg
Located near Washington D.C., Kristen Lichtenberg has been writing health-related articles since 2007. Her publications include The Maryland Dietetic Association's "Chesapeake Lines" and "Nutrition in Clinical Practice." Lichtenberg holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Michigan State University. She is now a practicing registered dietitian, certified nutrition support clinician and has a certificate of training in childhood and adolescent weight management.
Things Not to Eat With a Colostomy
Close-up of a cup of ice cream with assorted toppings. Photo Credit: Top Photo Corporation/Top Photo Group/Getty Images

Proper dietary management is one of the keys to evading potential complications of a colostomy. Leaking of the colostomy and odor are difficulties that may be avoided if you follow a few general dietary recommendations. Limiting foods that produce excess gas or cause gastrointestinal discomfort are commonly helpful. You may find it helpful to keep a list of foods you try and how those foods make you feel. This will provide you with a more customized list of tolerable foods since individuals react to foods differently.

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Sugary Foods

Sugary food is a major cause of diarrhea for people with a colostomy. Candy, pies, cookies, cakes, ice cream and other sweet treats are often poorly tolerated. Natural fruit juice has a high sugar content and is also not recommended. Prune juice and grape juice, in particular, are discouraged because of their frequency in causing diarrhea.

Gaseous Foods

For many, foods that cause gas can vary from person to person. There are, however, foods that are more likely to increase your gas production. Drinking carbonated beverages, smoking, chewing gum and drinking with a straw often cause you to swallow air. Ingesting air results in gas that can expand the colostomy bag and cause discomfort. Vegetables from the cabbage family, such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage are known to be gas-producing. Other foods that tend to cause gas and odor include onions, garlic, asparagus and leeks.

High Fiber Foods

Fiber may be hard for your body to digest, especially if your colostomy is new. In general, consuming foods made with whole grains like brown rice, oats, barley and wheat should be limited. Fruit peels and raw vegetables are also high in fiber. Should you choose to eat fiber, slowly increasing the amount of fiber in your diet is recommended. This allows your body to acclimate to digesting fiber which can help avoid issues of intolerance such as discomfort, gas and diarrhea.


An unpleasant odor from the colostomy is often the result of alcohol consumption. Because of its carbonation and fermentation, beer tends to be especially odiferous. Mixed drinks tend to contain additional sugar as well as fruit juices which can also cause diarrhea and unwanted odor from the colostomy.

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