Nutrition with a colostomy

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Eating and Drinking

Hear from Sinead our Dietician and Nutritional Advisor

My name is Sinead McParland. I am a dietitian and nutritional advisor for the Eakin group. This articles discusses nutrition and your colostomy. But just before we get onto that, I do want to stress that the information is very general and it’s very individual to each and every person. So what works food wise for one person might not work for the next person and vice versa. If you have any issues or any concerns, it is important that you do speak to your health care professional, your dietitian, your GP or stoma nurse. Once you’ve had your surgery the dietary guidelines would be to introduce food gradually but the main aim is to getting back to a balanced diet and having foods from each of the food groups. You can see what a balanced diet is and why it is important that you’re choosing from each of the food groups in this video. Once you’ve had your surgery, there is no reason that you should be restricting your diet or going on to a restrictive diet after surgery.

After surgery you want to get back to your normal diet or a normal diet with the focus being on a balanced diet. There are, however, certain considerations that maybe you need to think about once you’ve had your surgery. And these could be about tolerance. Some people might be able to tolerate getting back to a normal diet very quickly, straight after surgery, where this maybe just does not happen as quick for somebody else. There’s certain foods and I would call them trigger foods, but these trigger foods  can cause issues, maybe things like odour, discomfort or wind, however it is important to highlight the fact that it is very individual. What works for one person will not or might not work for the next person. You could try keeping a food diary or a food tolerance diary, try out foods, it’s trial and error. Maybe what you’ve tried today just did not sit well with you, but maybe further down the line you could try to reintroduce that food back into your diet and it might just work ok.

Other things to consider would be your appetite. Maybe prior you’ve had your surgery you were very unwell and really didn’t have a very good appetite. It does not mean that your appetite will return now that you’ve just had your surgery and you may be still have that poor appetite and it just takes a wee bit longer for that to return. So maybe try a softer diet, things that aren’t as heavy or as hard in the digestive system would be something to consider. Small, frequent meals is another consideration if you are unable to tolerate three large meals in the day. Having smaller meals at shorter intervals is something that might work better for you.

Also eating late at night and that nocturnal stool production is something to think about. Not having a late meal, so you’re not having to get up with your pouch being full in the middle of the night. But it is very individual and it is very trial and error. The most important thing after your colostomy surgery is getting back to your normal diet with the focus on a balanced diet.

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