How to slow down digestion and bag changes

About this topic
The forum discussion is about different methods and foods that individuals use to slow down their digestion and control their ostomy output.

Hi All,

New to the group and considering what's the best way to slow down our guts and intestines. Naturally with food and not naturally ie drugs like Imodium or codeine.

Any advice on what you all do to control your diet and try for more solid stools. Thanks Joe

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Hello Joe

You don't say how new your ostomy is, if it's brand new it will take a few months to settle down some. For me it's any roasted or steamed vegetables that take the longest to go through me, even an apple, but everyone is different.


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Marshmallows will certainly firm things up.


Hi Joey applesauce, peanut butter, bananas, also mashed potatos, but i also use immodium every day.


I hear marshmallows work wonders if you eat a few half hour or so before bag change.. I usually drink some coffee beforehand so it clears the way prior. I almost always have output regardless.


I have the opposite issue, I'd like to speed up my motility. I'm back on TPN and it seems whenever I eat it will be about 12 hours before I see the bulk of the output. Liquids are a different story those go right through me and whatever doesn't get turned to urine seems to go right out the ostomy like there's a passing lane in there! Coffee especially, down to one cup a day.


Bananas and oatmeal firm things up and slows things down for my ileostomy.


For a few years now I have been taking an Imodium pill with each of my meals. It keeps my output manageable.


I am Gluten Free which is mostly rice based foods so I have thick output always...


After 5 years of learning how to control my colostomy output, at least as far as this is possible, here are the things that work for me:

If I want to thicken up my output I find that eating increased amounts bananas, oatmeal, nuts, rice and plain boiled potatoes all seem to do the trick. I know that a lot of people recommend marshmallows, but I have never liked those ultra-sweet mushy things, plus surely all that extra sugar in your diet can't be particularly healthy? Unless you are keen on increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes...

On the other hand, if my output gets a bit too solid, which for me ;means an increased risk of 'pancaking' and subsequent bag leakage (or even a total &lsquoblowout'!), I reduce the healthy stuff in my diet (i.e. bananas, oatmeal etc) and indulge in some of what I would normally consider to be "rubbish" foods. For me this means anything with a high gluten content , such as bread, pasta and pastries, and anything that is artificially sweet (such as chocolate). Drinking more plain water than usual helps as well.

I tend to steer well clear of medications (such as Lomotil etc) that some people like to use to regulate ;their output. In my opinion they are probably best reserved for emergency situations rather than regular use.


Welcome to the club. It matters if ;yours is an ileostomy or colostomy, so pray tell. I always have roasted plantains, sweet potatoes, or other starchy foods to keep my output within a realm of 'reliable' output. I also try to keep all my food intake within an 8-12 hour window, so that there is some predictability in the flow of digestion/emptying. I went to theatre the other night and miscalculated, which did not improve the quality of the play.

Good luck. I have found folks to be incredibly knowledgeable and forthcoming, so keep asking questions with more granular details about what you are seeking for yourself. Peace to you and yours for the upcoming holidays, Ninja


I have an ileostomy. I have tried the marshmallows but once they really blocked me up. Imodium didn't really hold me back. I eat a little jello at night sometimes and this seems to slow things down.


The best food I have found to slow down digestion is pumpkin. I use pumpkin pie mix from a can and just eat a small bowl of it. Works like a charm. Even my Ostomy Nurse said she is going to pass that idea along to some of her other patients who are struggling with output issues. For me this works even better and faster than Imodium.



Snacking on something salty or potatoes any style, expect French fries, and rice help me. Chewy granola bars also work and ironically enough plain water. I do also use Imodium 3 or 4 days a week but only if nothing seems to be working that day.


Hey Joe, you didn't identify yours as an ileo or colo.  There's a huge difference in output consistency and frequency.  The other difference is you.  What might work well for some of us might not for you and the opposite is true.  You've come to a good place and asked a very good question.  You'll get lots of opinions and some of them will fit you perfectly.  Keep us posted on your success.



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