After a stoma surgery, you might be required to make changes in your diet. Your doctor might ask you to opt for soft foods and easy-to-digest meals, just like you would right after dental surgery. Your ileostomy diet menu will depend on factors such as the health of the remaining healthy small intestine and how long it has been since your surgery. Over time, your intestines will adapt to the changes and function well.
Diet Guidelines for People With Ileostomy
After the surgery, there are some things that you will have to keep in mind. Your doctor will most likely give you general guidelines specifically on foods to avoid and necessary diet changes. Here are some of the things that you need to remember:
Eat foods that are low roughage. Minimizing foods that are high in roughage would help your small intestine to heal quickly. Doing so will also prevent swelling.
Take things slowly. You may opt to eat regularly, just like your normal diet. However, you will need to chew well and slowly. In addition, you may add certain foods back to your diet; be sure to monitor how your body reacts to them.
Make some notes. As time goes by, you will determine which type of foods causes constipation and which foods to avoid. List them down for reference.
Stay hydrated. Avoid dehydration by drinking eight glasses of water every day. If possible, drink more than the recommended amount.
Foods to Include in Your Ileostomy Diet Menu
The best foods to eat after your stoma surgery are foods that are low-fiber and bland. In the meantime, your food buddies are bland cooked foods that can be easily digested. These foods will also prevent uncomfortable situations such as diarrhea, bloatedness, swelling, and uncontrollable gas.
The following are the kinds of foods that you need to add to your Ileostomy diet.
This category includes powdered milk, non-dairy milk, lactose-free dairy products, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and low-fat ice cream. You might need to avoid sherbet, regular ice cream, and milk with lactose to prevent diarrhea. Moreover, in adding eggs to your diet, try to start with small amounts only. Eggs may cause a foul odor when you open your ostomy bag.
In choosing meat, pick lean animal meats without fat. Avoid eating meat skins as well. Additionally, you may opt to eat fish and creamy peanut butter as well. Just like eggs, too much fish and peanut butter may result in a foul odor in your pouch.
You may add rice, pasta, and white bread to your Ileostomy diet. It’s also safe to eat crackers, rolls, and bagels. Cereals made of white flour are also safe for consumption. However, whole grains like brown rice and wheat bread are not recommendable.
Fruits and Vegetables
The most important foods that you can add to your diet are fruits and vegetables. Eating veggies without skin and seeds will help in your recovery. To make them consumable, you may throw your vegetables into the blender to make vegetable juice. Raw vegetables are not suggested aside from lettuce. Meanwhile, there are a variety of fruits for you to choose from. You can eat pulp-tree fruit juice except for grape and prune juice. Cooked fruits are okay as well as long as they are peeled. Ripe banana, honeydew, and watermelon are also good for your recovery. Moreover, you will need to avoid spicy foods.
The first drink on the list of beverages is water; it’s the most important fluid to take to prevent dehydration. After your stoma surgery, you will be allowed to drink decaffeinated tea or coffee, sports drinks, and rehydration drinks. But, coffee and carbonated drinks will be prohibited.
What to Expect
After your surgery, you may experience food intolerance that you used not to have. What do we mean by food intolerance? It’s when you eat a particular food, and you experience discomfort afterward. Conditions such as upset stomach, diarrhea, odor, bloating, and gas usually occur with food intolerance. But fret not because this condition goes away once the colon is healed.
If you wish to add more foods to your diet, try to do it gradually. Add your favorites one at a time to give your intestine the time to adjust. However, some foods may cause you discomfort. Avoid eating them for a few weeks and try eating them again slowly. Your reaction to foods will differ. Over time, you will learn which foods are okay for and which are not.
Adding High-Fibre Foods
After your surgery, you will need to return to your doctor for a follow-up checkup. By then, your physician might suggest that you start adding high-fiber foods to your diet. You will still need to be careful in doing so. As mentioned, whenever you add foods to your diet, it has to be done gradually. Fiber will make your stool more solid. Furthermore, since you are adding more fiber to your diet, it will be safer to add more liquid intake as well.
The thing about ileostomy is that it can cause dehydration. With it, you will most likely lose more potassium, water, and salt. To prevent this from happening, you may need to keep track of your water intake for the whole day. Subsequently, you will also need to check the amount of liquid in your stoma pouch.
Diet Guidelines for People with an Ileostomy (https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/diet-guidelines-people-ileostomy)
Guidelines for a good ileostomy diet (https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/j-pouch-surgery/expert-answers/ileostomy-diet/faq-20322775)