Nutritional Guidelines

Dietary Considerations considering the following situations:

The normal consistency of your stools following surgery will be influenced by where the ostomy was created along the intestinal tract. Stool that has traveled through more area of intestine will be thicker and ostomies placed high up in the intestinal tract will produce more liquid stool. Diarrhea exists when stools are more liquid and occur more frequently than normal. Anyone can get diarrhea at some time or another. It can be caused by illness, stress, certain medications, environmental factors and even certain foods. Regardless of the cause, if you are emptying your ostomy pouch more often than usual or your stools become more watery than what is usual for you, then you probably have diarrhea.

Foods That May Cause Diarrhea or Loosen Stool:

  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Raw vegetables
  • Raw fruit
  • Beer
  • Fruit Juice
  • Prune juice
  • Grape juice
  • Coffee or other caffeinated beverages
  • Spicy foods
  • Fried, fatty, greasy foods
  • Chocolate
  • Licorice
  • Milk
  • Large amounts of sugar or candy
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Diet candy (sorbitol)
  • Large meals
  • Certain medications

Remember that diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration and should be taken seriously. Return to a low residue diet and avoid the above foods while having diarrhea. After diarrhea has subsided, these foods may be included again in small quantities. Try to prevent dehydration by replacing fluid and electrolytes (potassium and sodium). Contact your physician if diarrhea persists.

Foods That Thicken Stool or Slow Diarrhea:

  • Applesauce
  • Boiled white rice
  • Ripe Bananas
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Tapioca
  • Bread
  • Weak tea
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Pasta
  • Pretzels
  • Ginger Snaps
  • Boiled milk
  • Cream of rice
  • Marshmallows

Some of the above foods may help control diarrhea.

Note: If you have a colostomy and usually irrigate, stop irrigations until the diarrhea subsides. If you normally use a closed-end pouch, you may need to use a drainable pouch during episodes of diarrhea.