Changes in irrigation with diet switch?


Hi ya!

I'm kind of new here, although I joined back in 2018, but just recently found this site again. I'm approaching the 3-year mark with my colostomy and would like to see who else on this forum irrigates. I've been irrigating for a couple of years now without issue. Just recently, I changed to a plant-based, whole foods diet and wow, is my colostomy acting like a fool. She now likes to hide below my base plate, making it difficult to irrigate. I have to do a sneak attack on her to get the cone in... LOL! Anyone else experience changes in irrigation when you changed your diet?




Hi Sunny,

I do irrigate. I have not had that happen to me during irrigation. My diet definitely affects my output but not my stoma. Maybe those that have had this will chime in. It has been talked about quite often but not sure if it has been talked about relating to diet. Curious to hear. You could go back and read some topics about prolapsed stoma. Is this what is happening? Does it just go under your barrier or go into your stomach? Hope you find some clues as to what is happening. Maybe call your stoma nurse.


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Hey Shannon, I have been irrigating successfully for many years. Irrigation is a wonderful tool to manage your colostomy.

You have taken the first, big step to ostomy freedom! Now, if you decide to maximize your irrigation experience, I would suggest you minimize your fiber intake along with carbohydrates. I eat a high protein, low residue diet and can tell you from experience it works very well. This diet has many benefits, it will increase your "clear time", lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and produce less gas. It has also been linked to some very positive results in combating Parkinson's disease.
While it's a very easy diet to stay on because you don't have to be hungry, the early stages require you to break your addiction to carbohydrates... giving up bread and pasta is not easy!

Good luck if you decide to give it a try. Regards, mmsh


I don't understand the concept of irrigation. I have an ileostomy. I never heard of irrigation to it. Is this something I'm supposed to be doing???


Irrigation can only be done with a colostomy. It is a process of inserting water into your stoma to flush it out. Having done that, you can wear just a patch or cap instead of a pouch because you do not have output in between irrigations. That takes a little while because your colon has to become trained. nbsp
It is a life changer for those that can do it. nbsp

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

 Puppyluv.... Oh wow, that's amazing. I appreciate the explanation. That sounds favorable for those that can do it. Kind of like keeping the poop in there until you need to get it out, and no pouch! Yes, unfortunately I'll be toting my bag forever but I'm owning it. I've even sewn cute lightweight covers for it if I ever want to strut my stuff! Thank you so much... I always seek information. Ritz


I have been an irrigator for 20 years and can eat pretty much what I like. Healthy and unhealthy.

I would have thought a diet change wouldn't cause a stoma to "withdraw"?

Most of your bowel is still there.

Maybe something else is at play?

I could be wrong.

My suggestion would be to seek some professional advice.

Good luck.



It was definitely a game changer for me and is the reason that I still have my stoma. I had and probably still have the option to try reversal, but too many risks that I don't feel I need to take. It'll be me and Lucy hangin' out until I'm done on this Earth.


Hi Puppyluv,

I don't have a prolapsed issue, it just hides just below the barrier at times. If I were to remove that barrier I can get to it just fine. Maybe I need to see about changing the type of barrier I use. There are days I'll just wait until I have easy access...which is ok if I don't need to be somewhere. It just keeps things interesting!!




Totally agree, irrigation is a wonderful tool and I've done quite well with it until my diet change. I mean, it still works, but just a bit more challenging for some reason. Thanks for the diet information, but unfortunately I'm working on reversing the dysbiosis in my gut, so plant-based, whole foods it is. :)




Yep, your barrier sounds like it is shifting. Playing hide and seek with you can be frustrating on days when you don't have time to play! Lol I use the Convatec two-piece appliance and like it more than any I have tried. (I started to say I "Love" it but cannot bring myself to actually say I love an Ostomy pouch!) I like the Coloplast pouches but hate that click thing. I mess them up and cannot burp the pouch very well and then cannot get it back together. The barrier works well though. The Convatec barrier has the soft webbed material as an outer layer and the inner barrier is secure. Also, the way the pouch attaches, I can burp on them on the go without a thought! Lol

Sounds like some sample request may be in order for you!
Good luck!


I have been irrigating for 8 years+ and I'm so happy I found out about it online. It was never mentioned by a doctor or nurse. I do have to be careful with high fiber and high output. I really want to juice, do smoothies, and shake powder vitamins but it defeats the benefits of irrigating. I can't imagine my quality of life if I were still wearing a bag. I would recommend it to anyone with a colostomy. God bless my fellow mates.



Well, I admit I didn't know what dysbiosis was, so I looked it up.... I still don't know what it is!!

Can I ask what was the reason for your ostomy surgery? Anyhow, best of luck and keep us informed. You never know who may read these posts and find the exact solution they seek. Regards, mmsh

Shitt Happens

I have been irrigating every day for almost 3 years now and as long as there is consistency in our diet and eating at fixed meal times, you will not have any problems. I have always said that irrigating our stoma is like children: it takes consistency to succeed in doing something good with them ..... lollll. So if you changed your diet, maybe it's normal? Myself, I would like to diet because I need to lose a minimum of 30 pounds before my operation because I have a hernia and it is getting harder and harder to enter the cone, but since I do not wear no more collar and bag (I wear a cotton pad and a tegaderm film), I don't dare change my diet :(


Quebec, Canada

Shitt Happens

Hello Larry,
I also no longer carry a bag. And I have never been told about irrigation, neither doctor, nurse, nor enterostomal therapy. Now I irrigate directly on my knees in front of the toilet and as soon as my 6 cups of water have entered, everything comes out directly in the toilet.
30 minutes and everything is almost done. What are you wearing to protect yourself? I wear a round cotton make-up remover and a Tegaderm film.


Tegaderm Film is my go-to.


Hi Shitt Happens,

Love the name!!  I'm pretty sure my finicky stoma is related to diet change, but it's okay.  Some days it's good and other days it's acting like a child wanting candy and momma says  I'm hopeful it will all work itself out in good time.  I just need to be patient.




Sometimes I like to use big words...ha! Dysbiosis is just a bad gut, those gazillion little microbiomes aren't happy because they aren't getting the right nutrients. Unfortunately, that leads to disease. I have colorectal cancer, that's how I got Lucy, hence the reason I'm so interested in healing my gut. Interesting enough, 70% of the cells that make up the immune system live in the gut wall and...the other critical factor is the gut/brain relationship. Can you see where I'm going here???


Shitt Happens

Like this one I use? Do you use a cotton pad also? 

Shitt Happens

Hello mmsh,

Yes, it's not easy to remove bread and pasta from our diet, but with which foods do you replace pasta and bread?

Because I could live on just these two foods and I would be. And for us who do the irrigation, would it be possible for you to post a typical week of your residue-free diet?

I can't find anyone on the net who irrigates their stoma while on a residue-free diet. Thank you.

Thank you very much for your help.

Merci Danielle from Québec, Canada :)


Perhaps the easiest way for me to advise you is to simply recommend you buy the "The Atkins Diet" paperback book. It will give you many choices of foods you can eat. I wish you good luck!

Shitt Happens

Oh, ok thank you. I will check this book. I did not know that the Atkins diet was for us who have a colostomy.

Merci! :)

John A
Reply to Shitt Happens

Nobody at the hospital told me about irrigating either. I joined this site to speak to other ostomates and gain knowledge on irrigation. Thank you for posting the photos of the products you use! I have been experimenting with irrigating since July 2nd of this year. I have been wearing a bag still. I purchased the products you recommended. While wearing only a cotton pad and Tegaderm film, air would pass and slightly inflate the film. I loved the idea of only wearing a cotton pad / Tegaderm film but could never truly trust it. Do you not have the same issue with air? If so, did you find a solution or alternative?