Nutritional Guidelines

Dietary Considerations to Patients of Specific Ostomy:

Having an ileostomy generally does not alter your ability to digest and absorb nutrients, so dietary restrictions, if any, are minimal. Any restrictions depend on previous surgeries you have had or any other medical conditions that continue. Just remember to add foods slowly after the initial healing has taken place, and chew foods well.

Because the large intestine is no longer in use to absorb fluids and electrolytes, your stool from the ileostomy will be liquid. Therefore, you are losing a large amount of fluid that needs replaced. You should drink 8 – 12 glasses of non-caffeine fluids a day to prevent dehydration.

Remember that the person with an ileostomy is at greatest risk to develop a food blockage. The ileum, the part of the small intestine from which your ostomy was made, is narrow, and can become more narrowed if any scar tissue develops around the intestine or ostomy opening. Undigested fiber-type residue can accumulate at narrowed areas and cause partial or complete obstruction. Keep in mind the instructions for recognizing and preventing blockage.

  • Enteric coated and time-release capsules are designed to be absorbed along the full length of bowel and may be incompletely absorbed by the person with an ileostomy because of decreased bowel length.
  • Never take a laxative because it could result in severe fluid and electrolyte imbalance.
  • If you develop diarrhea, vomiting or excessive perspiration, you can quickly lose fluid, and with it, potassium and sodium. Be sure to replace these
  • You may find that certain foods may not be completely digested no matter how well you try to chew them, and they may come out whole into the pouch.
  • If you are to have an x-ray or surgery and “bowel prep” us ordered, tell the medical people that you have an ileostomy. Adequate prep can likely be achieved by restricting oral intake to clear liquids for 24 hours.
  • It is a good idea to tell your pharmacist, dentist and any physician you see that you have an ileostomy so they can prescribe or dispense the right kind of medications that are easily absorbed.