Testing Ostomy Limits: Nuts, Stomas, and Unexpected Consequences

Jun 18, 2024 6:58 am

In an effort to separate the "wheat from the chaff," I've embarked on a series of experiments. Consider me your ostomy crash test dummy.

I read about it all the time: Don't eat nuts. And if you dare, eat a tiny amount and chew the hell out of them.

At Walmart, I purchased a large can of salted, mixed nuts. Splurging, I picked up Mr. Peanut's Planters brand. I figure, if you're going down, do it in style.

Exhibit A:

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Then to ensure nutty fairness, I acquired a can of walnuts. Generic brand.

Exhibit B:

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Watching Match Game on TV with crazy man Gene Rayburn, I ate a quarter can of the Planters. Chewed normally. Then tore open the walnuts and ate a couple of handfuls, thoughtfully chewing them lightly. Ms. Beachboy looked on disapprovingly, my cat growled.

The deed done, I slurped a gulp of water and blissfully drifted off to sleep.

In the morning I peeked at Mr. Stoma. Looked normal. Bag empty... no output. The day waned on. No output, no gas, no pain. That night I ate salmon with rice and mashed potatoes. Waking up in the morning... my stoma was grumbling. Lots of gurgles and a little gas... but no output. At the end of the day, still making noises with a little bit of watery output. I was getting somewhat concerned. The next morning was wafer change day. Still had no output.

Took off the wafer and... damn. My stoma looked like a mushroom. It was swelled up and distended, slowly changing shape. But always reverting back to swelled mushroom form. I thought the shower would shrink and reshape it. Nope.

My stoma was so swelled up, I had a hard time test fitting the wafer. Finally got it installed and snapped on a bag. The bag pushed my stoma over. Yikes... can you say "prolapse." All day nothing but gas bleated out. Ominously, there was no output. But there was no pain either. So I waited.

Later that night while I was watching The Mentalist on the telly, there was suddenly a rather loud pop. My wife glared at me. I thought "Oh shit." Pulled up my shirt to take a peek. A light-colored, gigantic pancake blob nearly filled the upper bag section. I retreated to the john and snapped off the bag. Poor, suffering Mr. Stoma had deflated. Mushroom shape gone, replaced with his normal little round self. I breathed a sigh of relief. Waking up the next morning, the bag was totally full. I ended up draining the bag twice in 2 hours. Always with thick, chunky, sticky pancake.

Lesson learned. Eat a small handful, chew like hell... wash down with plenty of H2O.

Next experiment: Pickles and a Payday candy bar.

Chew safe.



Jun 18, 2024 8:05 am

Bloody hell! All I can say is you were very lucky. Glad you weren't hospitalized with a blockage. Strange you didn't get any pain though.

I eat a few nuts every day and occasional popcorn without any harm. My blockages in the past have come from figs, pickled red cabbage, and strawberries.

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Jun 18, 2024 11:30 am

My friend, you have way too much time on your hands. But I'm glad you're keeping busy. 👍

Morning glory
Jun 18, 2024 12:20 pm

You're very lucky; all I can say.

Jun 18, 2024 12:46 pm

Ah, Beach Boy, you're playing Russian roulette with your stoma. Be careful.

How to Manage Emotions with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Jun 18, 2024 12:53 pm

Pleased to hear you've found the confidence to try eating everything and that problems were only mild and short-term.

There's always too much negativity about what we should and shouldn't eat just because someone else may have had a problem with it. As I say, it's their problem, not yours; just eat it.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I can eat as many nuts as I like, problem-free. Having an ostomy for over 30 years, there's not much I haven't eaten, and I've never been into over-chewing food, even though I was told to do so from the start by my aunt, who was a nurse. What's right for one is wrong for another.

Jun 18, 2024 12:56 pm

Should have included that I have a permanent colostomy, with only 12 and a half inches of colon removed during surgery. And had no chronic intestinal disease.

I just got tired of saying, "Can't eat that" all the time.

I'm only 10 minutes away from an excellent emergency room, hospital, and my doctors... My "home away from home" over the decades.

ron in mich
Jun 18, 2024 1:09 pm

Hi all, with my ileostomy and having blockages pre-resection surgery, I'll take peanuts in the form of peanut butter, but I'm a believer of "If you don't try, how do you know if you don't try it?"

Jun 18, 2024 1:15 pm
Reply to Beachboy

If you kick the devil, he will kick you back harder. Regards, IGGIE

Jun 18, 2024 7:21 pm
Reply to IGGIE

Hi Iggy,

Mr. D kicked me, saw what he did, then kicked me a few more times for good measure.

My wife gave me hell about eating the mixed nuts, then promptly hid them. My ears are still red.

Like I always say... you've got to be tough to be an ostomate.

Jun 18, 2024 7:42 pm

Yes, that was a pretty risky experiment, Beachboy, and you are lucky. Under normal circumstances, someone with a colostomy should not have blockage problems from anything they eat, including nuts, but there are lots of variables. People with Crohn's or Colitis, or those who have had multiple surgeries, could have scar tissue that can cause blockages. I have an ileostomy and have had no problems eating nuts, but I chew like crazy, and I didn't start out with a big bag of them and a few chomps before swallowing!


Jun 18, 2024 9:18 pm
Reply to Beachboy

Lol. Gotta have fun somehow.

Jun 19, 2024 12:57 pm
Reply to TerryLT

Hi Terry,

I sometimes forget I have restrictions due to my colostomy. I did get "carried away" munching those mixed nuts while watching TV. Fortunately, I didn't end up with a blockage, but my stoma did swell up and prolapse a bit. I was concerned.

I thought I would share my experience, so others will learn what not to do. My stoma finally reverted to normal size. I looked up "swelled stoma," and it is not a good thing.

Jun 19, 2024 7:50 pm
Reply to Beachboy

Oh yes, I know all about swollen stomas. When I had my colostomy, I ended up in the ER one night with a pretty scary-looking stoma. Grotesque would be the word that comes to mind. I remember the look on the ER doctor's face. I don't think he had seen one quite like that before!


Jun 19, 2024 9:41 pm
Reply to TerryLT

LOL... Poor ER doc. He probably still has trouble sleeping at night. 😂

Jun 21, 2024 8:28 am


Nutty Beachboy... the fallout.

I've been searching the house... where did she hide my nuts?

My wife caught me poking around the kitchen cabinets... laughed and told me how my precious Planters nuts got tossed, and are now pushing up daisies in a landfill.

Then she gave me an Ensure and requested I vacate her kitchen.

Well... it was good, till it wasn't.

Jun 23, 2024 11:44 am

Crazy to tempt fate! I just spent 4 days in the hospital with a NG tube up my nose and in my stomach to stop me from vomiting stool when my ileostomy stopped working.

No two people are alike, even if they have the same diagnosis and similar surgery, and equal post-operative length of time.

Count your blessings that your digestive system was able to process the nuts this time. It doesn't necessarily mean you would have the same luck if you repeated the experiment. Hydration status, physical activity, and emotions all impact the gut.

Curiosity killed the cat; if you choose to be a crash test dummy, better prepare for horrific pain, vomiting poop, hospitalization, and possibly surgery if the blockage doesn't resolve.

Jun 23, 2024 1:58 pm
Reply to Ben38

Hi Ben,

I'm curious if you have a colostomy or an ileostomy?

You seem fortunate to be able to eat what you like. Is your large bowel still in you?

My diet is terribly small. Being celiac and diabetic makes a lot of food a no-no. To make matters even worse, I have a terrible time with fiber because of G.I. dysmotility.

I had a colostomy for five years. Changed to an ileostomy... 14 years with that.

Life has been a challenge.


Linda or Stillmovin

Jun 23, 2024 4:43 pm

Ok... It's been a week since my nutty adventure into stoma madness.

I changed my wafer this morning. Happy to report Mr. Stoma has reverted to his volcano-like shape, no mushroom impression, no swelling. And this is just swell.

On a side note: Friday, a friend and I each devoured a corn dog and an authentic Chicago hotdog. A place by me features Chicago foods. The dogs were excellent. And so far, no digestive repercussions emanating from the Beachboy food processing system.

EssEm King
Jun 23, 2024 9:29 pm
Reply to Beachboy

I've had a permanent colostomy for 4 years, and I could eat anything, including nuts and popcorn. Then I had hernia surgery a few months ago. I have just, in the past month, learned I can't eat either of those things anymore. It started with a small bag of Smartfood on a plane 3 weeks ago and ended with today being the first day I feel normal after 4 days of swelling, pain, a weird big mushroom stoma, and hardcore emissions of chili pistachios. The only reason I didn't go to the hospital was because my partner was out of town and I didn't want to leave my dog alone. Plus, of course, I hate hospitals. So I'm glad your reaction was relatively mild, and of course, we all have different physiologies; but yikes, man! Be careful out there.

Jun 26, 2024 10:43 pm

Never do I have a problem; my stoma will chew them and spit them out. Tennessee tough. Seriously though, I never have any problem with everybody for their own experiments.

Jun 27, 2024 5:08 pm
Reply to mary.monoky


You are correct. Folks who suffer from underlying digestive diseases and have an ileostomy should not "experiment" as I did. But I have lots of colon remaining. I didn't have Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis. I'm in excellent health in spite of all my surgeries and hospitalizations over the decades. And I have a very high tolerance for pain. And, I'm minutes away from a world-class hospital with an excellent ER facility.

I bought another can of mixed nuts and walnuts. Now, I eat exactly 5 pieces from each can. Thoughtfully, slowly... chewing the hell out of them. Savoring the flavor and texture. Drink plenty of water. My colostomy limits me somewhat. But at age 66... I'm gonna live a little.

Last week I ate 2 large pickles and half of a chocolate Payday candy bar. It was so good. Didn't get any problems with Mr. Stoma.

Life is like a marathon... we just gotta find the right pace. 😇




Jun 27, 2024 5:14 pm
Reply to EssEm King


I'm leery of getting my hernia repaired for the reason you posted. Unforeseen problems. Surgery moves the bowels around; your abdominal anatomy is altered.

Thanks for posting your experience.