Having an ileostomy means stool gets out of your GI tract prematurely. An ileostomy bypasses the entire colon and rectum. The stool passes out of a stoma on the abdomen. A stoma is an opening, and it is a part of the small intestine sticking out on your abdomen.
Ileostomy surgery is useful for people suffering from bowel inflammation. This condition keeps the colon from working properly.
After ileostomy surgery, the patient has to wear an ostomy bag, which is a plastic pouch fitting over the stoma. This bag collects waste materials.
After surgery, the patient has to pay special attention to food intake. During your hospital stay, you will get mostly clear liquids for the first few days. Transition to solid foods will pass through a gradual thickening of the liquid consistency. Eventually, you will be able to eat solid foods. Since you will pass out liquid stools, you have to make sure that your diet is not becoming problematic for your GI tract. You may also want to thicken your stool to ease your ostomy management.
That means there is a lot to consider when it comes to your food intake after ileostomy surgery.
Foods that help thicken your stools
With an ileostomy, you get a high-output stoma. The stool you pass out will be thin. It resembles pretty much like diarrhea.
Not only are thin stools inconvenient, uncomfortable, and embarrassing, but they can also be dangerous. Thin stools contain a lot of water, meaning that you will be deprived of a substantial amount of water when passing out stools from your stoma. That can contribute to low sodium levels and overall malnutrition.
The good news is that you can prevent this situation by eating foods that help thicken your stools. Those foods include the following.
- Smooth peanut butter
You can mitigate the dehydration risk by drinking electrolyte-rich fluids. However, be sure to avoid having more than two to three servings of these drinks. Moreover, you should avoid drinking fluids high in sugar.
Some examples of electrolyte-rich fluids are:
- Fruit juice
- Sports drink
- Vegetable juice
Foods that help thin stools
Constipation after ileostomy surgery can be particularly painful. It can harden the stool too much that it becomes painful to pass out. Here are the reasons for constipation after ileostomy surgery.
- Certain pain medications
- Certain anti-nausea medications
- Not eating enough fiber
- Lack of physical activity
- Not drinking enough water or other helpful fluids
You have to ask your doctor whether you have adequate fiber intake. If it is not, you may have to take some supplements. Make sure not to take laxatives to relieve constipation because that can turn out counterproductive.
Instead, you can eat the following foods.
- Bran products
- Cooked, peeled vegetables
Drinks that can loosen stools are:
- Hot water with lemon
- Prune juice
Foods that help gain weight
You may need a calorie-rich diet to gain a healthy weight after ileostomy surgery. You may have to consider supplementation for this purpose. Here are the supplements you can have to gain some weight.
- Carnation Instant Breakfast
- Orgain Nutrition Shakes
While you can put on some healthy weight with these supplements, it is necessary to discuss them with your doctor before use.