Colostomy: A Guide

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Eating and digestion

Everything we eat and drink serves as building blocks for the body. To stay in good health, the body needs carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Water is also a key part of good health. At least 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water a day is usually recommended. Having a balanced diet helps maintain good nutrition and keep the bowel's activity normal.

There is no such thing as a colostomy diet. After healing is complete and the ostomy is working normally, most people with colostomies can return to foods they normally eat. Chew well and see how each food affects your colostomy. Those foods that have disagreed with you most of your life may still do so. If you are on a special diet because of heart disease, diabetes, or other health problems, you should ask your doctor about a diet that will work for you.

If you wear an appliance all the time, you will suffer no embarrassment if something you have eaten produces an unexpected discharge. You will soon learn which foods produce gas or odor, which cause diarrhea, and which lead to constipation. As you learn these things you can regulate the bowel's behavior to a large extent.

Note: You cannot prevent the intestine from moving by not eating. An empty intestine produces gas and mucus. No matter what your plans for the day might be, eat regularly, several times a day. Your colostomy will work better for it.

Last Medical Review: 03/17/2011
Last Revised: 03/17/2011