After any kind of operation, it can take a while for things to get back to normal again, and stoma surgery is no exception. Ostomates will likely find that their appetite and diet is the main thing that has been affected after the surgery, which is understandable. After any bowel surgery, it can take a while for your gut to recover, meaning you probably need to adjust your diet slightly.
Straight after surgery…
To begin with, it’s a good idea to consume small, light meals that are easily digested. Straight after surgery is going to be when your bowel movements are affected the most, so it’s a good idea to start off slowly and avoid any foods that are spicy, fatty or too high in fibre, as this is likely to cause further disruption.
As a general guide, we suggest sticking to three small meals a day, with a few snacks in between. Try to be as consistent as you can with the times you eat to help settle into a routine.
While it may seem like the better option to stick to starchy simple foods such as potatoes and bread, it is important to consume some protein-based foods in the early stages after stoma surgery to aid recovery. So, adding meat, fish and milk to your diet in small quantities can help you to recover from stoma surgery quicker.
For a little while after surgery, it’s advisable to limit the intake of fruit and vegetables due to the fact they are high in fibre and can be difficult for the body to digest. Coffee and alcohol should also be avoided in the first few weeks after stoma surgery, as well as avoiding fizzy drinks which may cause problems with diarrhoea and wind.
After surgery, many ostomates find that they have lost their appetite and no longer want to eat the things they used to enjoy. Therefore, stick to small meals and simple foods that are easily digested until you start to feel better.
A few weeks after surgery…
Once you’re feeling more like yourself and are starting to recover from stoma surgery, you’ll find that your appetite goes back to normal. Once you’re at this stage, you’ll be able to gradually introduce more foods to your diet.
It’s really important to have a balanced diet as an ostomate, as this can help to further normalise your stoma output and achieve consistency. So make sure your diet consists of a healthy mix of protein-rich foods, calcium-rich dairy foods, carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables. Staying hydrated is also vital as an ostomate to help prevent any blockages and dehydration.
In the early days of managing and getting to grips with your stoma, you may feel a bit nervous and self-conscious about any smells, sounds or the consistency of your stoma output, and this is completely normal. But the good news is, as your gut begins to settle down, you’ll learn which foods pass through your gut the best and which have a negative effect on your stoma. So you can alter your diet accordingly!
It’s advisable to ease your way back into proper nutrition with small amounts of food as this will help your body to process food and avoid any blockages, diarrhoea or wind.
Remember that everybody is different and what affects some people may not affect you in the same way. Over time you will start to learn what works best for you and what food you should avoid. A great way to keep track is to use a food diary, note down what you ate and how it made you feel.
You can find out more about diet and nutrition with a stoma here.
In the early days after surgery, you want to be comfortable and confident in your choice of stoma bag. At Oakmed, we’ve got the perfect post-surgery products to suit your needs and help you to become confident in changing your bag.
The perfect fit with outstanding adhesion, the Oakmed Primo Midi Hydrocolloid drainable bags are ideal in the early days after surgery, especially if your output is loose. Available cut to fit 20-60mm or precut in a range of hole sizes, Primo Drainable Midi Hydrocolloid is available in soft cover and clear options.
Drainable Hydrocolloid bags
Flexible, hypoallergenic and skin-friendly, the Oakmed Drainable Midi Hydrocolloid bag and Drainable Standard Hydrocolloid bag have a long-standing reputation for minimal reports of any skin reactions and are audited to ISO 9001:2015 by SGS standards. Reassuringly comfortable and secure after surgery.
From our comprehensive range of stoma care accessories, EasyLeaseTM Spray is the no sting medical adhesive remover with antiseptic tea tree oil. Helps to remove bags gently and easily after surgery without leaving adhesive residue on the skin.