Diet and nutrition after ostomy surgery

Diet and nutrition after surgery

How do you balance your child’s diet after ostomy surgery? We help you understand how digestion is affected, so you can provide the best care for your little one.

What can my child eat after surgery?

After ostomy surgery it’s only natural that you’ll be concerned about how the digestion will be affected. But there is no need to suddenly change what your child should eat or drink - it’s just about making sensible choices and keep everything in moderation. Over time, you’ll find that your little one should be able to eat the same foods as before surgery, unless their doctor or dietician prescribes a special diet.

gas and odor after ostomy surgery

Gas and odor

Certain foods produce more gas and odor than others and may need to be avoided:

  • Dried beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Fish
  • Cheese
  • Eggs

Gas can also be caused by swallowing air, which can happen when your child cries, sucks on a pacifier, or drinks with a straw.

Food blockage

Some foods are hard to digest and can therefore build up and block the flow of stool in the bowel. Liquids can support healthy digestion by helping food pass through the digestive tract more easily. Furthermore, it can therefore be a good idea to look out for the foods that can cause blockage:

  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • Citrus fruits
  • Dried fruits (raisins)
  • Popcorn
  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts, seeds in fruits and vegetables
  • Meats with casings (hot dogs, bologna)
ostomy - tips for preventing blockage

Tips for preventing blockage:

  • Make sure your child chews food well. Cut food into small pieces for younger children.
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids to flush food through the intestine.
  • Avoid foods that can cause cramping or diarrhoea.
  • Do not feed your child high-fibre foods until approved by their doctor.
  • Add fibre foods one at a time.

Signs of blockage:

  • Cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swollen ostomy and abdomen
  • Watery or NO stool

If you feel your child has a blockage, contact your Ostomy Care nurse or doctor. Always trust your own judgment when deciding if your child needs medical attention. You know your child best.

ostomy and dehydration


Keeping hydrated is a vital part of recovery. Dehydration is caused by excessive loss of water. A child can quickly become dehydrated from diarrhoea, sweating or vomiting. A good rule of thumb is to have your child drink one glass of fluid each time the pouch is emptied. If your kids don’t like the taste of water, try adding a little flavour with a slice of fruit or splash of juice to ensure they’re staying hydrated. However, you should also encourage plenty of fluids and foods that replace sodium and potassium, such as isotonic sports drinks, broth and crackers. These options are a good way to replace sugars and minerals if your child gets dehydrated. Be careful with highly sugared drinks, as they can increase the chance of diarrhoea.

Children can become dehydrated very quickly, so beware of the symptoms:


  • Dry lips
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased urine
  • Crying with no tears
  • Increased sleepiness
  • Dark urine
  • Sunken eyes

If your child displays these symptoms - do not take this lightly. Inform your child’s doctor immediately or go to the hospital. Medicine to stop diarrhoea is not recommended.

ostomy and diarrhea


Diarrhoea is the frequent passage of loose, watery stool (more than usual). This can lead to dehydration very quickly. Bacterial or viral infections, diseases, foods, or medications can cause diarrhoea. If your child has any symptoms of dehydration, contact your child’s doctor.

Foods that thicken stool (B.R.A.T. Diet):

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Apple sauce
  • Toast


Constipation happens when the stool is hard or dry, there is a decrease in the number of stools, or your child has difficulty passing stool. Include fruit juices, soft fruits and vegetables to keep stool soft. Notify your child’s doctor if constipation continues.

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