Food related problems with your stoma

Eating and Drinking

Hear from Sinead our Dietician and Nutritional Advisor

It’s important that you contact your GP, your stoma nurse or your dietitian if you have any issues or concerns regarding your stoma. There are no foods that are specifically contraindicated for pouch patients. What that means is, there is no food out there that you could not have. Everything is trial and error and it all comes down to your tolerance, what you might be able to tolerate with a food, somebody else might not be able to tolerate. It’s a food journey, you introduce foods into your diet and then you identify if that food sits well with you or if you’re able to tolerate it.

A really good rule of thumb would be to keep a food diary, so it’s something that you can reflect back on if you’re starting to reintroduce foods into your diet. It’s something that you can write down and then further into your journey, you can reflect back and see how well you tolerated that food. It is a slow process, as we would advise that you would introduce one new food at a time. So at least you can identify if that food is ok for you.

As mentioned there are no foods that are specifically contraindicated for pouch patients. However, there are certain foods that can cause symptoms such as odour or flatulence. Other issues that have been highlighted by stoma patients would be things like foods that are poorly digested, that could cause a blockage. Other things would be increased stool odour, increased frequency of stool, increase in your bloating or flatulence. There could be a decrease in stool consistency or things that can be like perianal rotation.

Foods that could casue a blockage

This is only a guide, so it’s not something that you need to follow religiously. People might be able to tolerate every one of these foods and have no issues at all and then on the other hand,  some people may not be able tolerate some of the foods. So, foods that are poorly digested that could cause a blockage will be things like grapefruits, lettuce, mushrooms, sweet corn, fruits and vegetables that still have their skins on – you might have to remove that skin. High fibre foods, peas, nuts, seeds, tomatoes, coconut, celery, even pineapple can fall into that category.

Foods that can cause odour

An increase in stool odour  is common for people with and without a stoma bag. Foods that can cause this wuld be onions, garlic, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, kale and beans. Eggs and fish can sometimes fall into that category. Increased flatulence, and bloating foods will be things like baked beans, lentils, peas, onions and garlic. Other foods would be brassica vegetables, things like cabbage kale,  broccoli,  brussel sprouts. Fizzy drinks, beer and lager can also cause an increase in bloating and an increase in flatulence.

Stool frequency

 Chinese food has been identified to potentially cause an increase in stool frequency, along with spicy foods, strawberries, corn, apple, wine, fried and spicy foods, bananas, some breads, potatoes, fruit and fruit juices and vegetables. Maybe you’ve noticed that there’s a decrease in your stool of consistency, certain foods that are quite common that maybe cause this will be things like wine, fried fish, strawberries, corn, popcorn, spirits, coleslaw, grapefruit, turnips, raspberries and fruit juices. And then you also hear about maybe you’ve got an irritation or perianal irritation. So spicy foods, citrus fruit, raw carrots, nuts and seeds can cause this.

We have just identified some foods that can maybe cause certain symptoms. But again, it is very individual and it’s really just how much you can tolerate and when you can tolerate it.

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