Food and diet is one of the topics that new ostomates are most worried about. Can you still eat your favorite foods after having ostomy surgery? What about alcohol? Meal times can become a source of worry rather than enjoyment — but it doesn’t have to be that way!

In this video, we’ll cover everything you need to know about your ostomy diet.

Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Siobhan and I lead ostomy education here at Better Health. I have an ostomy myself, that I’ve had for about six years. So I know the ins and outs and the ups and downs of life with an ostomy. Me and part of my job here at Better Health is to be a coach and help other people who have recently had ostomy surgery or may have it in their future.

Today I’m here with Duncan who has recently had ostomy surgery and Duncan, and I are talking about ostomy diets and food. Hi Duncan, how are you? I was recently told at the hospital that I need to be in a certain kind of ostomy diet with to me. Yeah. They told me a lot of things and my memory’s a little fuzzy.

Do I need to be in a certain. Yes, Duncan. I’m so glad you asked that question. You do need to follow a couple of certain diets after your ostomy surgery, it’s very normal to come out of the hospital, feeling a little fuzzy about the instructions that they told you. I know that that was my own experience.

I couldn’t remember all of the things that they told. So with the diet and the first four to six weeks after surgery, you want to eat a low residue, low fiber diet, a low residue, low fiber diet includes foods that are easy to digest. Things like scrambled eggs toast, mashed potatoes, lean proteins. Fish and chicken.

You want to stay away from those thick thick, but delicious vegetables like broccoli cauliflower, onions, all of those things add a lot of fiber to your diet. Also red meats can add a lot of fiber to your diet, and those things are hard to digest. The reason that you’re following this diet, and that was four to six weeks after surgery is because your balance is still healing.

So this low. Low fiber diet. We’ll let you we’ll let your stoma heal from the surgery it just underwent. And it won’t make it work too hard. Yeah. So there is a change in lifestyle really important, especially up front then to eat certain kinds of foods, particularly the low fiber foods. Well, I’m healing.

Yeah. When can I go out to a restaurant? Oh, okay. I love eating out. It’s I love to eat. And I’m glad you asked that because it sounds like you love to eat too. When you’re eating out at a restaurant, there are a couple of guidelines that they want to follow. I would stay away from those really high, spicy, highly acidic foods.

And the reason for that is because those can be very inflammatory and irritating, especially to a gut that is. Another reason. Another thing to avoid at restaurants is those really greasy foods, especially a French fries or anything else that’s fried. And the reason for that is because that also can be inflammatory and irritating now.

I love a good glass of wine. Those things are going to be okay to re-introduce after a couple of months. But wine and in other alcohols can also be irritating. So, you know, all of these things are, are guidelines to make sure that you are comfortable with your ostomy afterwards, you don’t want to deal with more output than you’re expecting because a meal at a restaurant was.

You know, problematic for you afterwards. Yeah. That clearly makes sense that I would have to make the dietary adjustment. Now I heard something in the hospital about blockages. Can you describe it? For me and what I need to do to manage it. Absolutely blockages are a problem. And for every ostomate you should be watching out for blockages, or when food output waste cannot leave the body through the stoma and it can occur for two reasons.

One reason is because your intestines have maybe twisted on themselves and created a physiological blockage. That is something that might need to be resolved by surgery. The other way that a blockage can happen is it’s the food that you’ve eaten might be too too fibrous. Maybe the particles are really big and they’ve kind of compacted together and they aren’t able to leave through the stoma.

It’s just, it’s called a food bolus. And a food bolus is just a fancy way of saying a compact ball of food. That’s sitting behind your stomach, like a plug. And so when you might have a blockage, you might see that your output has slowed way down. So say usually you’re seeing your output come out after a meal within six to eight hours.

With a blockage. You won’t see that, or you’ll see fluid coming out, but maybe not food particles, like you might expect from a meal that you had earlier. Another thing about blockages is that they can be painful. So you might see swelling in your stoma. You might see swelling in your abdomen. And those things might, well we’ll do it.

Bring your attention to the fact that, oh, I might have a blockage. So if you have discovered that you think you have a blockage, there are some things that you can do at home. One of the things that you can do at home to resolve a blockage is to take a warm shower or bath, and that might help the muscles in the abdomen release and allow that blockage to naturally be broken up and pass through.

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. You feel very loose after a workout. Yeah. Another thing that’s good to do is maybe not a heavy workout, but go for a walk. Our digestive systems are activated by walking, by moving around. And so that might cause that that, you know pulsing action.

Break up the blockage. Another good option is hot teas, hot drinks, water with lemon. Keep your hydration up because that blockage might be a sign that you’re dehydrated and there wasn’t enough fluid in your bowels to to allow that fluid food balance to pass out. Another thing that you can do, if you suspect a blockage at home is to gently massage it.

So gentle massage is good. Do not press too hard on your stomach, that can damage the ostomies. And and you know, you never want to try and force something out. It’s bad idea if your blockage has gone on for more than six to eight hours and nothing is coming out and it’s getting very painful, go to the hospital.

Let them know that you suspect that you have a blockage in your ostomy, they will usually fast-track you, because it can be a life threatening situation. Yeah. That’s a lot of information, but I understood it. It’s helpful. And it’s clear if I have an ostomy, I’ve got to do a bit more self care, self management, and I’m willing to do that, but I don’t have to be afraid of it.

You don’t have to. No, absolutely. It’s very manageable. Take it in small. And small chunks. That’s a food joke.

Yeah. And you’ll find that you’ll get back to enjoying some foods that you went. Great. Great. Well, thank you so much. Well, thank you Duncan. For all things ostomy stay tuned to this series will where we cover topics like Exercise, travel activities, relationships going back to work and the ins and outs of products and how you can use them and how to get the best results.

Thank you for joining us today here at Better Health

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