Do I need to follow a special diet? Is there something I can't eat? What about alcohol?
In general, the food that was good and healthy for you before your surgery is still good for you – and the same goes for the more unhealthy options. A well-balanced diet is recommended, but this could very well include all of your favourite foods.
Eating small portions is still a good idea
After surgery, your stoma care nurse may have given you advice on the size of your meal portions. As you gradually build up your digestive system, you may feel better by eating smaller portions on a more regular basis.
Try to eat regularly
It is really important that you try to listen to your body and make sure you have regular meals, as this will help you have a more predictable bowel movement.
You will probably find that certain foods produce more wind than others, and although it is not harmful, you may want to cut down on these foods. The same applies to chewing gum. But remember: It will only take a little experimentation to find a balanced diet that feels right for you.
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks
Alcohol is fine in moderation, although carbonated drinks in general can produce wind – and especially beer and lager can cause the output from the stoma to become more liquid. Similarly, tea and coffee is fine, but be aware of any reactions in your digestive system.
Remember to chew carefully
Chewing carefully is very important to get a proper start to the digestive process.
This applies especially if you eat foods that are hard to digest (such as nuts).
Some foods, especially high fibre foods, can cause a food blockage, where undigested parts of food block the bowel. Chewing well can help, but a food blockage can be quite serious. It can cause cramping, pain and watery output, and your abdomen and ostomy may become swollen.
If you think you have a food blockage, you should call your doctor or stoma care nurse or go to A&E.
Troubled by diarrhoea?
Like everyone else, you may occasionally suffer from diarrhoea. But in general, a brief episode of diarrhoea is not something to be alarmed by – it could be related to something you ate and will often resolve itself.
However, three or more consecutive loose stools are indeed a cause for concern, as you risk becoming dehydrated, and you should consult your stoma care nurse or doctor.