Need help bulking up output with ileostomy?

Apr 01, 2021 5:48 am

I have an ileostomy for about 3 weeks. I've had a hard time finding the right appliance but I think I've found one. Still leaking occasionally but getting better. My output is all liquid. I'm trying to eat pasta, rice, potatoes, bananas, and peanut butter and those things will bulk it up a little but not much. Does anyone have any suggestions for things that worked for you?

Apr 01, 2021 6:42 am

Try oatmeal. It really bulks it up.... Bananas work too. Good luck!

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Apr 01, 2021 7:33 am

Hi newbie08,

In general, fiber thickens stool, but why is your output mostly liquid? Are you drinking a lot, or is there inflammation causing diarrhea? Was any of your small bowel removed? Why your output is liquid will determine how to best make it more solid.



Apr 01, 2021 9:48 am

I'm trying to drink a lot because I wasn't eating or drinking very much at first because I was leaking so much and wasn't hungry/thirsty. I was on the verge of being dehydrated and lost 17 lbs in 2 weeks. So I started eating/drinking again to feel better. I literally missed one meal yesterday. I didn't eat dinner because my bag leaked twice and therefore I didn't have any "food" to digest. So it's been pure liquid acid. They didn't remove any small intestine, just colon. nbsp

ron in mich
Apr 01, 2021 1:22 pm

Hi Newbie, I think maybe it's early on after surgery and your output is going to be watery. But it also depends on what you're drinking and how you drink. I'm a sipper. I keep a glass of water handy and sip on it all day. But I also drink other fluids: milk, powdered Gatorade that I mix to my taste, coffee, green tea with honey.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
Apr 01, 2021 5:10 pm

I have always wondered why my output is bulky, thick, and liquidy. Something like dark mashed potatoes. (What a visual, huh?)

I thought it was supposed to be liquid because you have no colon (large intestine) to do the bulking up...and felt maybe something is wrong. Hmm, yes if you're a new osty, as I was back in 2016, oh the leaks and liquids. Disgusting. It may take time for your body to adjust... but I am content seeing bulk. I eat like I'm seven years old though. Anything and everything. Marshmallows are a good thing. Sugar not too good. But if I drink a lot, oh it rains... like Niagara Falls. Be patient. There is a direct equation. Water input = watery output. No question about it.

Apr 02, 2021 6:50 am

Hi newbie

I'm with Ron, I think it's too early to be analyzing your output, your innards are still in shock from what they have been through. I reckon it took three months before things began to calm down with me.


Apr 03, 2021 3:02 am

Hi Newbie08, I agree wholeheartedly with Bob. I too have a more liquidy output and I do find that fiber bars and also crackers help somewhat. My output is watery because I do not have much small intestine left from so much surgery. For some crazy reason, pizza thickens my stool but I won't complain about eating pizza. Mike

Apr 07, 2021 9:05 pm

Hi, Newbie.

As it has been only three weeks since your ileostomy, it's not surprising that your output is so liquidy right now. It will take some time for your small intestine to adjust to its new job of absorbing more fluids than it had before your surgery. After all, that was the colon's job, and it's now gone. Give it time, though.

I'll pass on advice from my surgeon post-surgery as well: sip your fluids, as gulped liquids will go almost right through to your appliance (pouch), and your small colon won't have a chance to absorb. Chew your solid foods to an almost paste-like consistency to help the body absorb nutrients and prevent blockages in your small colon.

Personal experience as an ileostomate of over 3 years tells me to sip plenty of fluids between bites of solid food, especially with processed, low-fiber carbs (cake, cookies, pastries) and sticky or paste-like items (dried fruits, marshmallows, nut butters, Nutella, etc.).

If there are no other underlying issues, you will see improvement in your body's absorption of fluids and nutrients. Again, just give it time and pay attention to how your body responds to what you eat. Slowly introduce new food items until you understand how your GI tract reacts.

And check in with us and let us know how you're doing! :)

Be well!


Dec 30, 2021 3:12 pm
Reply to Newbie08

Keep clear of fresh orange or any other juices, gassy drinks like Coke, etc. Bananas are good to bulk up porridge, oats, etc. Also good is Imodium; it will slow things down and harden your stools by extracting the water out of your intestines, etc. Another good tip is to eat jelly babies and marshmallows!!! Hope this helps?