Eating Foods with Casings After an Ileostomy: Seeking Advice

May 24, 2024 11:10 am

Hi everyone!

I was told when I got my ileostomy in 2017 to never eat anything with a casing (hot dogs, brats, Italian sausage, etc.). Does anyone here have any input on this subject?

May 24, 2024 12:27 pm

There are skinless hot dogs, can't remember the brand. I eat them with no issues. Chew everything very well. 😸

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May 24, 2024 12:30 pm

Hello Nancy

I have eaten all of that and I eat anything I wish to eat. Give it a go, just introduce the things you want to a bit at a time. No need to punish yourself; you have suffered enough already. I don't know why they make these stupid lists and force them on everyone unnecessarily.

May 24, 2024 12:43 pm

Totally agree 👊 with AXL….

If you were BSS… (before stoma surgery) able to eat these things, then try them once again with caution. Maybe some of these docs are vegan? 🤔 jb

May 24, 2024 1:58 pm

If you chew it well enough, there will be no casings. If you eat too fast without proper chewing, the casings can pile up and cause an obstruction. My surgeon advised me to chew each spoonful of food 60 times! If possible — some things won't survive 60 chews, for example, mashed potatoes. Turns out 60 chews is not as bad as it sounds.

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May 24, 2024 2:31 pm

Lots of information out there and some of it is erroneous. When I left the hospital, I was given a nutritional guide which suggested avoiding corn. On the same document, when providing a sample menu for the day, corn was one of the vegetables.

May 24, 2024 2:46 pm

I've been eating them for well over 30 years with an ileostomy without any problems. Just try them and see how it goes for you; it's the only way you will ever find out. Just try everything in small amounts, then if it causes a problem, it will be short-lived. Always try at least three times before giving up on something, as you will find with experience that some days we all have loose output or stoma output works very slowly for no apparent reason from foods we've eaten many times before problem-free. I just call them off days.

May 24, 2024 2:56 pm

17 months post-op... So far no food-related problems with my colostomy. Like everyone else... I started out paranoid I would eat the wrong thing and boom! Back to the ER I would go.

I've eaten popcorn, hot dogs, refried beans, carrots, all kinds of nuts. Spicy food. Vegetables.

Also drank carbonated beverages (not a lot at once). I do get extra gas... just burp the bag a little more. Some days I just crave an ice-cold glass of Perrier or a Coke.

I do chew like a cow. Always be careful... eat a little, well-chewed... see what happens. The ER is the last place you want to end up.

May 24, 2024 4:13 pm

I was just thinking about this myself. I completely get that having no colon could affect or be affected by certain foods. However, I have a colostomy. Yes, I had Meckel's diverticulitis 30 years ago. But I've eaten anything I ever wanted after that operation. My thought is, why shouldn't I be able to eat it now? The only difference for me is a few inches of rectum is missing.

I love food. I have been slowly introducing "hard to digest" foods in small amounts just to be sure. I also tend to drink one can of soda a day. Honestly, I haven't noticed more gas from it. I still tend to eat 2 or 3 decent meals a day. I've been told I should eat 4 or 5 small meals. Yeah, that's not easy for me.

May 24, 2024 4:48 pm

Hi Nancy. I think a lot of that is for early stages of gut healing. Nearly 3 years into my ileostomy and I eat pretty much what I did before, even pickles, love those things. Just experiment and chew often.

May 24, 2024 5:07 pm
Reply to Rene

You are correct, a lot of the dietary information is for the early months after ostomy surgery. Even then, every item doesn't apply to everyone; they are foods you should be leery of until you are sure they don't cause you a problem — similar to how side effects of a medicine may not affect you. Some dietary advice pertains to only ileostomies. When trying a food that has been identified as a possible problem, introduce warning foods initially in small amounts and chew very, very completely. You will find most foods you can safely eat.

May 24, 2024 5:33 pm

I'm a guy, I chew a couple of times then swallow the chunks. 🤷‍♂️ It'll all come out eventually. 😁 Those things you listed all come skinless, no need to suffer not eating things that you'd enjoy.

May 24, 2024 6:57 pm

Did he say natural or synthetic ones? The natural ones made from sheep casings should be safe.

May 24, 2024 8:50 pm
Reply to AlexT

Hey Alex, all due respect my friend, but someone with an ileostomy really cannot take your caveman approach to eating, i.e., chewing a couple of times and then swallowing chunks! We do need to be more careful and lots of chewing is critical. My recent visit to the ER brought that home to me with great clarity!


May 24, 2024 8:51 pm

I don't know. I've had so many blockages in the past, so I'm a scaredy cat. I still follow what they told me.

May 24, 2024 11:14 pm

I was overly cautious the first four months post-surgery. I took it a little at a time and thankfully, seven months post-op, I can eat just about anything. One thing I have not tried is corn. I love corn on the cob; however, it does make me a little nervous, only because it did not agree with me prior because of my diverticulitis. As much as I love the taste and savor the salt and buttery yumminess, I am pain-free finally and don't want to try it on that off chance.

I've added things back slowly, and now I go for it. Tonight I had onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños with my potatoes. Yumm Yumm.

Everyone's situation is unique to themselves because of what got us where we are. So, if you feel like it, try it in a small quantity. And as others have said, chew. The other added benefit of chewing is I enjoy my food more, as I am eating slower and more consciously.

May 25, 2024 1:56 am
Reply to Nini4

I miss tomatoes, grapefruit, oranges, blueberries, etc... I'm just too scared lol

May 25, 2024 2:47 am
Reply to Hisbiscus

I got some frozen blueberries and ate them. The only issue was blue fingers 😸

May 25, 2024 11:56 am
Reply to TerryLT

I agree with Terry. Colostomies and ileostomies are different. After 8 weeks of healing and being cautious, I started out with one new food a week, such as blueberries. Chewing well is a necessity! I do avoid corn and foods with casings. I enjoy dogs on the grill which are free of casings. The last thing you need is a blockage or collapse and emergency surgery. You will not die while avoiding certain harsh foods. Being cautious with thick-skinned foods can save your life.

May 25, 2024 1:07 pm
Reply to AlexT

Alex, are you taking the eating large chunks approach with an ileostomy, or do you have a colostomy? You certainly have more leeway with a colostomy, but it is very ill-advised for an ileostomy.

May 25, 2024 3:12 pm
Reply to aTraveler

Colostomy. I just said how I eat, never said it was appropriate for others to do the same.

May 25, 2024 3:45 pm
Reply to AlexT

That is what I thought, but in the unlikely event someone with an ileostomy wanted to follow suit, it is important for them to know that it is much easier for them to get a blockage than someone with a colostomy. We often state that everyone is different, so YMMV, but it is universally true that it is easier for those with ileostomies to get a blockage than those with colostomies.

May 25, 2024 4:29 pm
Reply to aTraveler

I had emergency surgery for a blockage only 10 months after my total colectomy with ileostomy. Although it was caused by scar tissue, it almost killed me. I was in ICU for quite a while and spent a month in the hospital. My family was overcome as I was dying. So, please use caution with what you eat. Thanks, Deb.

May 25, 2024 8:43 pm

After my surgery, I was terrified that if I ate the wrong thing, I would be in the ER in a flash! My doctor told me I could eat ANYTHING I wanted, but to chew, chew, chew! I did, and I lived to tell the tale! I have had corn (and thought I couldn't, with the fear it would get stuck in me!), and anything my heart desired! Just recently, I had peanuts, which I will admit I was afraid to have, but I did, and survived! My next thing to attempt will be popcorn, which I have avoided up till this point. Try whatever you want, eat it slow, and chew like your life depended on it. If you don't have any issues with it, then add it to your list of things you can eat. I had an ileostomy, and I am always aware of what I eat; just be cautious, and hopefully you will be able to eat whatever you enjoyed before. Bon appétit!

May 25, 2024 9:38 pm

Skinless hotdogs are Nathan's and Hebrew National. They are the kosher ones and have no casing because the casings are from a pig. Also, Eckrich sausage makes a skinless one. If I want a bratwurst, I peel the casing off of it and the sausage will stay intact.

With peace, Anyark

May 26, 2024 1:42 am

I have never had any problem over the last 50 years eating any of those. Most food problems I have had are eating too much roughage like corn, spinach, raw carrots, etc.

May 26, 2024 3:55 am
Reply to Nini4

I now eat corn on the cob, but I pick it out and get the ears with small kernels. The frozen kind with large kernels are too big. I cook it in the microwave for 2 minutes per ear and rotate it after one minute. Cut off the large end so that you can see the kernels before microwaving, and after it finishes cooking, hold the end with the silk with a dishtowel and squeeze the corn out of the shuck. This is the best way to cook corn on the cob. If you cook three ears, give it 6 minutes and rotate after 3.

May 26, 2024 10:22 am
Reply to harry113

Love corn on the cob using microwave as you have explained - (I never rotate) it - turns out perfect every time… great quick easy way to cook - thanks for sharing.

May 26, 2024 12:58 pm

Hello, I was told the same thing too. To not eat any fresh vegetables that had their skins on. I personally never had any problems, but I understand why. It's because by the time you eat it till when they come out, your body/stomach acid doesn't break it down or digest it, and because the ileostomy hole is smaller than a colostomy, it can potentially cause a blockage for you. Which is another problem on its own. So no matter what you eat, always make sure you chew and grind your food properly to avoid any blockages.

May 26, 2024 1:11 pm

My husband eats all without issue. As they've noted, he does chew his food well. Actually, the only thing he hasn't tried in the 2 years of his ileostomy is corn. And I know many people eat corn, but for some reason, we're both still fearful of that.