The colostomy diet refers to the eating plan your doctor recommends during post-colostomy surgery recovery. It is pertinent to note that a colostomy doesn’t affect your ability to eat and digest foods, but a restrictive diet for a few weeks will make things more manageable.
Colostomy surgery is followed by recovery, which is classified into multiple stages. Diet requirements vary between these recovery phases. During the first phase, you will have to take clear liquids and avoid solid foods. You can thicken the consistency of those liquids as you move to later stages. Ultimately, you will be able to eat solid foods. The entire recovery phase may last 6-8 weeks, depending on your health and recovery pace. Once you recover fully, you can eat anything you want.
In this article, we will cover foods that you can eat during colostomy recovery. We will also mention foods that you should avoid.
Foods to include
While recovering from a colostomy, you will have to include the following foods in your diet plan.
- Low-fat milk
- Lactose-free dairy products
- Lean proteins from animals
- Nut butter
- Well-cooked vegetables without skin
- Canned fruits
Bland foods generally help people with gastrointestinal issues. If your digestive system is not that good at processing fiber after colostomy surgery, you should aim for bland foods. These foods include the following.
- White pasta
Your digestive system will be able to process bland foods better than spicy or fatty foods. Because these foods are less acidic, you won’t get an upset stomach.
If you have a colostomy, you should cook your food before eating. Raw foods can be hard on the digestive system.
While recovering from the impact of colostomy surgery, you will have to be on a liquid diet for the first few days. You may have to stick to this diet plan dedicatedly for a few weeks if you suffer from complications in your digestive tract.
If you have got a recommendation for a liquid diet, you can choose from the following foods.
- Clear fruit juices without pulp
- Sports drinks
- Decaffeinated coffee or tea
While you can get back to your favorite diet a few weeks after surgery, your digestive system may not be ready to handle your previous eating habits yet. The fact of the matter is you may have to modify your eating habits for as long as you have a stoma. That might mean a lifetime commitment if your ostomy is permanent.
So, you can reintroduce your favorite foods to your diet, but make sure to include one food at a time. Notice its impact. If it goes easy on your digestive system, keep it in your diet plan. You can do it with all foods you like.
Since your digestive system will not be working in its entirety, you will have to be careful with the amount of food you eat. So, instead of eating few large meals a day, eat several small meals to give your GI tract a fair chance to process and digest foods. Additionally, make sure to chew your foods well. Add plenty of water to your diet plan.
Foods to avoid
You may have to avoid some foods to prevent problems with your GI tract. Here are the foods you should avoid with a colostomy.
- High-fiber foods
- Fatty foods
- Carbonated drinks
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Spicy foods
- High-fat dairy
You can discuss your diet plan with your doctor to avoid any complications after colostomy surgery.