Safe vs. Problematic Foods for Colostomy Patients

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3049
4dogs
Nov 06, 2021 1:52 am

I have had my colostomy for a little over a month and what foods are safe to eat and what ones can cause problems?

ron in mich
Nov 06, 2021 2:26 pm

Hi 4dogs, I would say whatever you were able to eat previously that didn't cause you problems, but to be on the safe side, maybe try small amounts at a time and chew the foods really well.

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4dogs
Nov 06, 2021 3:22 pm
Reply to ron in mich

I am afraid to eat salads and raw vegetables because I am afraid my stoma will get blocked.

TerryLT
Nov 06, 2021 9:33 pm

Hi 4Dogs, as long as you have given yourself time to heal, a little over a month is probably sufficient, you should be able to eat anything. When I had my colostomy, I had no problems with anything, raw vegetables, high fiber foods, etc. If you are worried, just try small amounts at first until you know you're safe. Enjoy!

Terry

w30bob
Nov 06, 2021 11:34 pm

What foods are safe to eat and what ones can cause problems?

Hi 4,

The safe ones are the ones that come out... the ones that cause problems are the ones that don't! Ok, just being a wise-ass! If your bowels are disease and trouble-free, then you can eat anything you want. Just be smart about it and start small. With both portions and pieces. Chew everything well until you determine you don't have to. If there are no other issues with your bowels, such as strictures, adhesions, twisting, fistulae, inflammation... then there's no reason to not eat anything. If you have other issues, then you should first start by asking your Gastro what they recommend. But regardless... chew well and just take it easy in the beginning. If something does give you trouble... it'll be a minor obstruction, not a full-blown shut-down, then you need to find out why. Just having a colostomy doesn't require modifying your diet to prevent a blockage... unless something else would cause it. Now go swallow some hard-boiled eggs whole... NO, just kidding again!!!! Don't do that!! CHEW CHEW CHEW!

;0)

 
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4dogs
Nov 07, 2021 1:35 am
Reply to TerryLT

Thank you. I will try that. I have had it now for a little over a month.

AlexT
Nov 07, 2021 3:26 am

I've had my colostomy since March. I haven't found anything I can't eat, but there are things I avoid or eat very little of. For me, 1) corn/popcorn 2) nuts/seeds 3) the 'skin' on things like potato skin, jalapeƱo skin, pickle skin, etc. I can eat any of it, but you'll see what doesn't digest well in your output, so avoid a lot of any of that. I've had no issues with salad or vegetables.

4dogs
Nov 07, 2021 1:01 pm
Reply to AlexT

Thank you, I appreciate all the help I can get. I don't want to get a blockage and end up back in the hospital.

Could you recommend a company for supplies that has good prices?

AlexT
Nov 07, 2021 3:50 pm

Can't help you there, my insurance pays for everything so I'm pretty clueless on prices. I just tell my wound/ostomy nurse what I need/want and she orders it through a local pharmacy here.

Azdancer
Nov 08, 2021 11:55 pm

Be careful the first 4 to 6 weeks, chew your food very, very well. After that, you should be able to eat whatever you want. The reason I say 4 to 6 weeks is because it takes several weeks for everything to heal up properly inside and around your stoma. I took stool softeners the first year or so because I was afraid of getting a blockage, but now I take no softeners at all and my stool is soft and formed, making it much easier to drop from the appliance. I also clean my bag out after each elimination with water, slosh it around in the bag, and then let it fall into the toilet. This cleans off your stoma and your bag, eliminating any odor. I used the bags with the filters for the first year or so, but I have stopped using those and there is even less odor, and the stool drops out much easier. Everyone does it a little differently. You'll develop your own way and will get new ideas along the way.

Superme
Nov 11, 2021 2:37 am

4Dogs, you have some very good advice here, and may I add that you should live life as you would normally have done. The only way to know for sure is to eat anything and everything you want, starting in small amounts and increasing as time goes on. The golden rule to follow is chew, chew, chew. Never fall into a paranoid state. You have many things to look forward to. Mike

tiff041
Nov 15, 2021 9:10 pm

I have found that any kind of roughage... like lettuce, raw veggies, corn. Also pasta sauce used to bother me. Everyone is different though.

tiff041
Nov 21, 2021 1:00 pm

I had been really hungry one time this past January. Went to Outback Steakhouse and got the beer-battered mushroom appetizer. Well, those mushrooms were big and my dumbass went and ate like 15-20 of them. I never even thought about Stella (my stoma).

So about three hours later... I am nauseous, sweating profusely, and vomited for four hours straight. Even my Promethazine (anti-nausea pill) wouldn't help. Not to mention horrific stomach pain.

Had to go to the ER and got admitted with a full-blown obstruction. Had to have one of those suction pumps down into my tummy. Not fun. Thank God it passed with meds and that stomach thing. Otherwise, surgery would have happened.

Everyone is different, but generally, you gotta be careful with raw vegetables and roughage stuff. And anything big (like Outback mushrooms) you gotta chew down real good or avoid altogether. Basically, be smart. Know that veggies, especially, don't break down well.

TerryLT
Nov 22, 2021 9:48 pm
Reply to tiff041

Hi Tiff, that sounds like a horrible experience! I've been hospitalized with blockages numerous times, so I feel for you! You don't say, but just wondering if you have an ileo or a colostomy? I've had blockages with both (had a colostomy to start but now have an ileostomy) but the blockage with the ileo was much more painful. I do eat mushrooms, but always chew really well.

Some of our lessons are learned the hard way, aren't they?!

Terry

Mom11
Dec 15, 2021 6:46 pm

I have had my stoma for 16 years and cannot eat lettuce, skins on fruit or vegetables, mushrooms, or raw onions. I have tried and end up in agony for days, if not in the emergency room!

Baldjohn
Dec 30, 2021 1:57 pm
Reply to 4dogs

New ostomate here... I had ileostomy surgery on 11/29/2021. It's supposed to be reversed at some point, but I have to go through chemo first. So it's a new world that I never thought I'd be in, but I'm dealing with it. I was a hot pepper kind of guy, so I grew things like jalapenos, habaneros, Carolina reapers, etc. for salsa. One day after my surgery (and my diet seemed to be doing okay), I put some garlic hot chili paste, like you'd find in a Thai place, on some rice, and I slathered my normal amount on as usual. What was I thinking...? Extreme agony!!! I could watch my stoma output, and every time a little poop would come out, the burning was terrible. It eventually went away, but it made me liken the effect to some schoolkid's lava display in grade school science class.

I thought I'd learned my lesson, but evidently I'm not as smart as I would like to think I am. I had some prime rib for Christmas Day dinner. I smoked it, and it came out perfect. I don't know about you guys, but I always liked some horseradish to dip that meat in. I chewed faithfully, as the thought of a blockage is always in the back of my mind, but I also had a fair share of horseradish with the immediate effect of flames coming out of my nostrils and red eyes. It never even occurred to me that the effect would be transferred further south when it came time to "output". Agony, pure unadulterated agony. Once again, I was reduced to watching this stuff boil out of my poor stoma, suffering each and every time it burped.

That has been my limited experience in things that make me wish I had never passed my lips. I'm sure there'll be more, as you can guess by now, I am not the sharpest tool in the toolbox...

John

ron in mich
Dec 30, 2021 2:31 pm
Reply to Baldjohn

Hi John, it sounds like you might have exposed skin around the stoma susceptible to output. Your stoma doesn't have nerves for pain, so it might be the skin surrounding the stoma.

TerryLT
Dec 30, 2021 9:18 pm
Reply to ron in mich

Hi John, I agree with Ron. I eat lots of hot spicy food. I use hot peppers all the time and slather hot sauce on everything (well, not ice cream). I have an ileostomy and have never felt any pain from my output. Maybe see what your ostomy nurse or doctor has to say. Is the skin around your stoma in good shape?

Terry

Baldjohn
Jan 02, 2022 3:37 pm

You are right about the exposed skin and the burning; knowing that I'm not gonna have to give up spicy stuff is most excellent! Found out I had some leakage under my Hollister Barrier/Eakin ring after this happened. I have some tender skin from not sizing the appliance correctly, and unfortunately I also have some sutures that have not dissolved/are tender. I am going to make an appointment with the WOCn to have her eyeball what is going on; we have been using the powder which has helped a bunch in correcting my sizing issues. Unfortunately early on I put one barrier on and had the wafer ring too tight and it "turtle-necked" (think that is what I have read in a previous description) around the stoma. Help is needed!

Thanks for the replies, I try not to be needy, but from a lot of the information that I read on this site and others think I could be doing so much better than I am. "Assumed" it was because this thing was only a month old and it was healing, maybe not so much now...

Thanks again!

AlexT
Jan 02, 2022 3:47 pm

If it's only a month old, it's probably still changing sizes while healing.

TerryLT
Jan 02, 2022 9:04 pm

Hi John, give yourself a break. We are all needy at the beginning, and sometimes later too. Alex is right, you are still healing and you are still learning. There will be mistakes and mishaps along the way. It took me several months of trial and error, and even longer to find the appliance that worked best for me.

A couple of tips, using the powder alone won't do much to protect your skin. You need to use it with the no-sting skin prep and together they form a dry, crusty barrier so that your appliance will stick. There is a video that is very helpful in showing you exactly how to do it. The website is 'Veganostomy.ca'. If you decide to go with barrier rings, try all the different brands, as they are not created equal. You know you can get the companies to send you free samples, right? They want you as a repeat customer, so are happy to let you try any of their products.

For someone only a month in, you are doing great!

Good luck,

Terry

AlexT
Jan 02, 2022 9:20 pm
Reply to TerryLT

I'm by no means an expert at this stuff or an ostomy veteran since I've only had mine for 9 months now. There are so many variables to find the right "equipment" for your personal situation that you need to try various things. I have a sample bag and barrier ring on right now just to see how I like them or if I like them better than what I have used up to this point. No cost involved, you may get phone calls from the company for a follow-up to see what you think of the product but that's no big deal. The powder and skin prep wipes/spray are great, learn to use them when you need to.

Baldjohn
Jan 07, 2022 12:51 pm

A catch-up to my earlier emails; the thought from several of you that I had exposed skin causing pain when eating hot stuff was right on the money. Saw the WOCN yesterday. Although we had made some great strides in getting the barrier ring/barrier tighter and the sore skin healed, still weren't cutting the wafer right. We went through an appliance change with her and she showed us the proper "hole" needed for my stoma, which is oval versus circular ;(kept the template too). Got some great tips and asked her about things I have read on this forum. Had been doing better and considered canceling the appointment, but so glad we went ahead and learned what we did. When I say we it's because I include my significant other, who is so much a part of this experience. Without her, it wouldn't be as much fun!

Wanna say thanks to those that responded, and to the people on the forum who let others know their experiences, both good and bad. Helps someone like me who felt like I was in way over my head and now realize it ain't that bad. Sucks, but doable!

John

Mark1070
Jan 07, 2022 1:34 pm

Figuring out which foods agree with us is probably one of the toughest things I've tried to accomplish as an IBDer and ostomate. To those also struggling with this, I'd highly recommend checking out what Karyn Haley offers, especially her Gut Healing Starter Diet Plan.

Website: https://karynhaley.com/podcast/the-new-years-resolution-every-mom-with-ibd-needs-to-make/

Gut Healing Starter Diet Plan: https://karynhaley.com/iamready



Also, check out the amazing work Barbara Olendzki at UMass is doing for IBD: https://www.umassmed.edu/nutrition/ibd/

corbiator!
Mar 05, 2022 7:19 pm
Reply to AlexT

My ileostomy has had me since 2015. I ate whatever I wanted (conservatively) until about 8 months ago when out of the blue it acquired a blockage!

I'm telling you this so you might realize the random and completely unpredictable nature of 6 years of nothing short of my best efforts

to prevent blowouts and all the other heart-wrenching surprises with progress and unwanted surprises!

I always go into the hospital on Friday, the day (IMHO) the B-Team prepares to take over and the answer is "I'm so sorry, but nothing can be done until Monday/Tuesday".

To make a long/shorty, After my dying routine the on-call dr was called who sent in a nurse with an "NG-TUBE", lots of blood squirting, screaming, you know, the usual to no avail.

but 4 hr later, act 2 with a smaller diameter hose, SUCCESS!

After the worst 20 hr ever, I pulled it out, without the details except, I was held until the following Thursday with no meds, feeding tubes back in.

Fentanyl was continued for a couple days, but the dr said it was making me goofy (I'm foofy all the time) and normally on a lot of meds!

Sorry this took so long, trying to expose the perils, don't want to scare you, but to let you know we are all in this and most of life is still

well worth living and if I can do it so can you!!

jb

corbiator!
Mar 05, 2022 7:21 pm

Guess the spell-checker doesn't work on this.

grandmawatermelon2
May 14, 2022 9:51 pm
Reply to 4dogs

I totally understand...it really is trial and error. Leafy vegetables and most fruits...especially blueberries cause issues with my stoma, as well as fingerling potatoes for some reason. I can eat all meats including skinless hotdogs (like Ball Park) without any issues. No corn, peas or broccoli but cooked carrots, cauliflower and any type of squash or turnip. Any kind of potatoes except the above mentioned fingerlings including french fries. I also eat canned pork and beans, black beans and refried beans but smash them up really good first. Some things are weird, I can eat any type of cooked tomatoes but not raw. Pastas and rice of any type are fine for me. The real secret is to make sure you chew chew chew. Try very small amounts first.

Some people are able to eat salads etc but I believe with a colostomy you have a longer digestive system where as with an ileostomy, it is basically in and out.

Good luck on your journey.

Grandma Watermelon

Lorr
Aug 23, 2023 12:29 pm

I've had a colostomy since the beginning of June and am gradually finding out what I can eat and what not. My husband loves salads and makes one every night. I've been fine with lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and green peppers if I chew them well. I don't bother with onions but they aren't a problem either. I make mashed potatoes with tiny white potatoes, skin left on with no problem. Fine with white rice (even rice-a-roni mixes), pasta, orzo. Fine with fish, pork, chicken, ground beef, but have to chew steak very carefully to not cause a problem. Dessert ice cream is fine.

The foods I've learned to avoid - a normal-sized steak is too much, corn is bad as are black beans. I've been afraid to try kidney beans for that reason.

No problem with things I drink, but some have to be in moderation...one cup of coffee is sufficient, a small cider is plenty, fine with orange juice.

Never had a problem with breakfast at all - regular muffins, English muffins, eggs, bacon, cold cereal (rice chex) with half and half, one coffee. For that reason, breakfast has been my most enjoyable and largest meal of the day.