I thought Id do a post about diet, as it’s one of the questions I get asked a lot… What can you eat?
In the long term, Im advised that I’ll be able to eat what I like within reason. That I will find my way with foods that agree with me and foods that don’t. The ones that don’t will be things that cause excess gas, blockages and stomach pain.
In the short term I have been advised to keep a very low fibre diet. All the things I *think* are good for my body seem to not be right now. The doctors say its a good idea to eat a low-fibre diet for the first few months after your operation. This is because the surgery causes your bowels to swell, making digesting fibre difficult. Once the swelling has subsided (usually after eight weeks) you can resume a normal diet. It is advised to avoid any foods that may cause stoma obstruction including fibrous meats, vegetables like corn, cabbage, celery, green peppers and peas; and fruit skins and seeds, nuts, dried fruits and popcorn.
The following foods are generally allowed on a low-fiber diet:
- Enriched white bread or rolls without seeds
- White rice, plain white pasta, noodles and macaroni
- Refined cereals such as Cream of Wheat
- Pancakes or waffles made from white refined flour
- Most canned or cooked fruits without skins, seeds or membranes
- Fruit and vegetable juice with little or no pulp, fruit-flavored drinks and flavored waters
- Canned or well-cooked vegetables without seeds, hulls or skins, such as carrots, potatoes and tomatoes
- Tender meat, poultry and fish
- Creamy peanut butter — up to 2 tablespoons a day
- Milk and foods made from milk, such as yogurt, pudding, ice cream, cheeses and sour cream — up to 2 cups a day, including any used in cooking
- Butter, margarine, oils and salad dressings without seeds
- Desserts with no whole grains, seeds, nuts, raisins or coconut
On a low fibre diet you should avoid the following foods:
- Whole-wheat or whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta
- Brown or wild rice and other whole grains such as oats, kasha, barley, quinoa
- Dried fruits and prune juice
- Raw fruit, including those with seeds, skin or membranes, such as berries
- Raw or undercooked vegetables, including corn
- Dried beans, peas and lentils
- Seeds and nuts, and foods containing them
One of the biggies with an ileostomy is keeping hydrated. The large bowel takes liquid out of our foods, so in removing it, you remove a good chunk of the water our bodies need. I have found that Im constantly thirsty and Im drinking pints and pints of squash. I find water just goes straight through me, but adding the squash keeps it in longer. High outputs from an internal pouch or stoma run a real risk of dehydration due to water and salt losses. Aim for at least 8-10 cups of fluid per day, and increase this if losses are high.
If you have diarrhoea you need to ensure you are replacing both the fluids and the salts. Over the counter remedies should be kept to hand or you can make an electrolyte mix. I found this recipe online…
Sodium Chloride 31⁄2g
Sodium Bicarbonate 21⁄2g
Made up to one litre with tap water
You can buy the powders from any pharmacy and some supermarkets. Sodium Chloride is table salt which you may have in your home already. Sodium Bicarbonate is also known as Bicarbonate of Soda.
A good tip from my stoma nurse for dehydration is to keep some ready salted crisps in the house. If you have a high output and are worrying about being dehydrated a packet of crisps and a sweet drink can be an instant help till you can get some Dialryte or Electrolyte mix!
Just been reminded by my sister in law of another tip! Apparently if you have diarrhoea, you can help ‘stop up’ your output by eating 30 marshmallows!! That was in the info book they gave me in hospital – I don’t know why I find it so funny but I do…
Another problem is salt. The bowel takes the salt we need from our food, so in the first few weeks you can safely add a bit more salt to your food to ensure you are getting enough.
As always, if you are reading this and looking for advice, the best place to go is your own doctor or stoma nurse. The information here is what I have gleaned from my health professionals and the wonder of the tinternet!
Love Sam xx