09/30/2009 - Questions and Answers

Colostomy Diet and Management

By: Novoviva webmaster

Colostomy Diet and Management


I am a 52yr old male and have a colostomy following surgery for bowel cancer. I would be grateful for any advice regarding suitable colostomy diet and management.


We do not know how long ago you had your surgery, so you may need to adhere to special instructions from the hospital or your treating doctor initially. When things settle down, you should be able to eat a wide variety of foods although you may find that some foods upset you. There are no two people the same, and what suits one will have adverse effects on another. Therefore, the most important thing to realise is to avoid foods which you have learned that upset your bowel. It is best to avoid certain foods that cause odor or gas or are hard to digest. It'ss also good to remember that if a certain food disagreed with you in the past, chances are it will still disagree with you after surgery. Increasing your fluid and fiber intake should prevent constipation. Drink more water and fruit juices, up to six to eight glasses per day. Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, as well as fibrous foods such as whole-grain breads and cereals With unsuitable foods, diarrhea, which is the passage of frequent watery stool, may occur.There is no reason why you shouldn't drink alcohol in moderation. However some people choose to avoid beer and other carbonated (fizzy) drinks because these can cause wind. You should eat less fatty foods and food high in sugar (e.g. pop, candy bars). Follow the guidelines for your diet given to you by your dietician. If you have any problems or questions about diet, speak to your stoma care nurse or ask to see the dietician. 

When you have your diet sorted you can then perhaps discuss colostomy irrigation with your stoma nurse. Colostomy irrigation is a procedure that gives people with a colostomy more control over the elimination of waste (bowel movement). Patients with permanent colostomies and whose opening is in the descending or sigmoid portion of the colon and who had regular bowel function before having a colostomy are good candidates for irrigation. This is because their stools tend to be more formed. Irrigation stimulates the intestine to function at a regular time and is generally done at the same time every day or every other day. In this procedure, an irrigation cone and tube are connected to the stoma (the end of the exposed intestine), and irrigation fluid is flushed through the intestine to clear it of waste. People who use irrigation may need only a cover or pad over the stoma and may not need a colostomy bag. 

Colostomy irrigation allows ostomates to become "boss of their bowel". You dictate to your bowel when you are going to have a bowel evacuation. In many ways it is more convenient than the old days before you had a stoma. For example, before a plane trip or weekend away, spend approximately an hour of your time using this procedure; your bowel is empty and you can fly or go away with your mind at ease. The secret of success is to be relaxed and at ease with the procedure, and this will occur when you understand what you are doing - be assured it cannot damage the lining of your bowel and has no harmful side-affects. See the related links below. We wish you success with your colostomy diet and management. Please see related links below. 

Related Links

  • What is a colostomy?
  • Irrigation - A Possibility?
  • Living with your colostomy
  • Colostomy Irrigation


Created on: 06/10/2006
Reviewed on: 09/30/2009

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)
Anonymous wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

After a colostomy you need to give some time to the colon to heal. you can take a colostomy diet before going back to a normal diet. After a colostomy you should eat raw vegetables, high fiber food...be sure youchew everything you eat during your colostomy diet to ease the digestive process. it will help you manage your colostomy.