This is a question that has always seemed a bit of a mystery for most ostomates, some can eat everything without much trouble and others get blocked if they so much as look at a baked bean.
I am hit and miss. Most things are reasonably ok if I don’t mind my output changing quicker than the speed of light. It’s ridiculous how one minute things are good and my poo is like toothpaste, next it’s like pee ( but with bits of lettuce ( even if I haven’t eaten any). But what causes all this change ? What am I eating that decides the consistency?
The other issue is that a colostomy or ileostomy will react differently, and a colostomy that is higher will be different to a lower placed one. Most people with have totally different experiences with food, so I will tell you about me, and what the experts say.
When you first get an ileostomy your output WILL be watery and maybe much more than you hoped. But the good news is that once your stoma has settled into its new position and healed, it starts to get better at processing foods. There will always be those than have issues regularly or have high output stomas that cause lots of issues. I will leave them for now and just focus on a well healed ‘ fairly normally behaved’ stomas.
This piece of information from the Canadian society for intestinal research explains the “why is our bowel different”, perfectly. Please have a read if you are unsure about your diet especially in the early days DIET & OSTOMIES
When you first get an ileostomy your output WILL be watery and maybe much more than you hoped. But the good news is that once your stoma has settled into its new position and healed, it starts to get better at processing foods. There will always be those than have issues regularly or have high output stomas that cause lots of issues. I will leave them for now and just focus on a well healed ‘ fairly normally behaved’ stoma.
Lets start with cruciferous vegetables
These are your greens, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, radish, kale etc
Well with all these veg you need to be careful in the first few months of a new stoma. Introduce them slowly and chew really well. If you feel unwell and your output is watery or hardly there, then leave them for a while longer and try again. I can eat most of them now and only really have trouble if I don’t chew them well. Same with salad stuff except tomatoes I tend to peel.
Sweetcorn I don’t touch at all as they don’t break down in normal bowels so there is no chance with mine.
I have never been a huge drinker but I have always liked a good night out and cocktails on holiday so was very apprehensive with my first drink. Well the verdict is that I get dehydrated and hungover with just a small amount, which is a right bloody nuisance as my output gets like water. Wine is the worst, I feel quite poorly after wine. Gin and tonic is better and cocktails I just drink and worry about it later.
I avoid apple skins, oranges and anything with a skin or pith. It isn’t worth the hassle. I loved grapes but the thought of peeling each one isn’t funny .Maybe a few of you are ok with grapes and that’s fine, but I worry. You then think what about smoothies? I can be really healthy and drink fruit instead. So off you go to get all the fruit you can carry with a big smile on your face then WHAM. Newsflash, blending fruit is worse for you than whole fruit because you absorb the sugars etc too quickly and don’t absorb the fibre as well as you would. Who knew? Who is the annoying person to make this claim? How the hell do they know this? I still think a home made smoothie can’t be that bad.
i have first hand experience that unless we chew super well, mushrooms will pop out of your stoma and still look like a mushroom ( although yes in smaller bits, unless you really don’t have any teeth). I was cleaning my stoma when two pretty large pieces popped out. I was shocked and stunned but amused that I could tell what it still was. The good news was that it didn’t get stuck so maybe the texture helps it slide out?
The smelly stuff
Ok, because foods go through our small bowel fairly quickly ( the experts say 8 hours, I think it can be quicker) we still get the smells from the foods we eat come through into the bag. FISH is a classic example, it stinks and lingers so you need to be prepared to spray before and after, especially if you are out. EGGS are another one that smells for a while afterwards. I also find that kebab meat and a lot of processed foods are very pungent. You may also find foods like cabbage, onion, spouts etc are quite strong coming out the “other” end. You can get things to put into your bag that help with smells, some drops and sprays. Many say putting mints in helps with the smell. Everyone smells when they have been to the toilet so we are no exception, it’s just that our smells can be stronger.
The colourful stuff
I like salted veg crisps, but when I first had them I got a shock when I went to the toilet. My output was red and I thought I was bleeding out, it turned out to be the beetroot crisps coming out. So if you notice your output is a strange colour, then don’t panic for a minute and go back over what you have eaten, or indeed drunk.
As I said at the beginning, everyone is different but don’t avoid foods just because others can’t manage them, you may be fine and as long as you are careful and chew well, try them. Remember that the early weeks are more difficult while your stoma etc is healing, but things improve so that over time you know what you can and can’t eat.
Happy eating 🙂