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Your Easter bank holiday guide to having fun as an ostomate

As the Easter weekend approaches, we can’t wait for a well-deserved four-day break!

Easter traditions often revolve around shared meals, which might raise concerns for those with a stoma. However, having a stoma shouldn’t hinder your Easter festivities. Whether you’re exploring new venues or trying new foods, a little planning can ensure a smooth and enjoyable bank holiday.

Remember to prioritise self-care and listen to your body’s cues. If the weekend leaves you feeling fatigued or stressed, don’t hesitate to take a break and unwind.

Preparation is key to maximising the enjoyment of the bank holiday, so here are some tips to help you navigate Easter with ease…

Plan your day trips and visits

Knowing where you are going and when will help you to feel in control of the day as you won’t be caught off guard. Simply packing extra supplies and researching where toilets are located can give you much needed peace of mind when you’re out and about.

Make sure you take some spare stoma bag equipment with you which you can carry with you or leave in the car, for stoma changes or emergencies when you are out and about.

Make sure you have enough stoma bags for a day out, so you never find yourself without. Take your radar key or hidden disability lanyard with you if you’re visiting any outdoor places, so that you don’t have to wait in long queues for the toilets.

Decide what to eat and drink in advance

If you’re at home for Easter, you can plan the food and have more control over it. If this isn’t an option, let your family and friends know which food types you need to avoid with your stoma so there are no hidden surprises.

The same goes for visiting restaurants. Make sure to take time to read the menu in advanced to check there are foods available which work for you. We also have some handy advice for dining in a restaurant with a stoma.

Easter foods for ostomates to avoid

Sprouts and cabbage: Popular with Easter roast dinners, these vegetables can often be wind inducing – which can lead to embarrassing moments.

Dried fruit: Perfect for day trip lunch boxes, yet for ostomates, dried fruit has the potential to upset your bowels.

Chocolate: Easter is all about chocolate, but for ostomates, the sweet stuff can have a laxative effect. Read more about eating chocolate with a stoma here.

Nuts: Popular snacks for guests, nuts can easily to block your stoma, especially if you have an ileostomy.

For more advice on foods to avoid, visit our stoma diet and nutrition advice.

Easter foods to become friendly with

Marshmallows: Fulfil sweet cravings with marshmallows as they have a thickening effect for your stoma output.

Cheese: This savoury favourite is always plenty over a bank and it can have a thickening effect for your output.

Herbal teas: Instead of fizzy drinks, herbal teas can be refreshing and are great for rehydration (peppermint tea is also good for odour control)

Watch out for too many fizzy drinks

Whether it’s raising a glass of fizz during a toast or cracking open a can of pop during a picnic, we all love drinks with a fizz over a bank holiday.

When it comes to alcohol, try to set yourself an amount and stick to it. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes the production of urine and has the effect of dehydrating anyone consuming it.

Don’t forget the bubbles soft drinks as well. The bubbles may give you indigestion and unwanted wind from your stoma, resulting in bloating and ballooning of your stoma bag.

Tip: Stirring fizzy drinks with a metal spoon and leaving it in the glass for a few minutes can reduce the number of bubbles and many ostomates swear by this trick.

Always remember to keep hydrated

No matter what the weather throws your way this Easter bank holiday, make sure you keep hydrated.

Keep sipping water, squashes and fruit teas throughout the day and evening. For every alcoholic drink you have, make sure you drink a non-alcoholic drink with it.

Signs of dehydration are feeling thirsty, a dry mouth, decreased urine output, darker coloured urine, dizziness and grogginess.

To prevent the beginnings of dehydration, try sipping flat cola and eat bag of salted crisps, as both will help replace any lost salts and sugars your body needs (not for diabetics).

If you are feeling more dehydrated, solutions such as Dioralyte are available at your local chemist and taken on a short-term basis can help with your symptoms.

For more severe cases of dehydration speak with your stoma care nurse or GP.

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