Salads and Ileostomy: Any issues with lettuce?

Jan 21, 2014 3:34 am

Hi all,
Fairly new to this site, not too sure if I am in the right place, just wanted to know if there is any info or what is everyone's take on salads? That seems to be the one thing I miss not eating. Has anyone here eaten salads, and have you had any problem with lettuce? Thanks for any input.

Jan 22, 2014 12:50 am

Hi, I have a colostomy, and I don't have a problem eating salads. With ileostomy, salad might come through quicker, try a little at a time. Good luck.

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Jan 22, 2014 12:53 am

Hi Foxwoods,
Welcome to MAO. I eat salads. Sometimes the traditional way, other times pretty much on bread with some sort of lunch meat or bite-size pieces of chicken. I have a colostomy which the output is more firm than an ileo and for me too much salad makes not so firm output.
I think the trick is to start with a small amount of whichever raw veggie you choose, then if all goes well introduce another always remembering to chew extra well. Seems the skin on the veggie is hardest to breakdown so when I can I peel as much of the skin away as possible. Sometimes I just eat what I want and make frequent trips to empty the bag in spite of the output. A food diary can be most helpful when trying something new.

Jan 22, 2014 1:56 pm

Hi there

I have an ileostomy and have found that salads are pretty much fine, with lettuce being one of the easiest things to digest. Things get a bit more tricky with things like red pepper, tomatoes or seeds/nuts (in other words, foods with skins/difficult to digest parts), but thorough chewing usually makes tough stuff fine too. Lettuce, green leafy veg, sprouted seeds, etc. are all good and easy to digest for me.

All the best


Jan 22, 2014 4:03 pm

I have found that I can eat everything and more than I could before my surgery - that was 25 years ago.

I eat salads pretty much daily. I also eat nuts, seeds, things with skin, popcorn, broccoli, oranges... all the stuff they tell you to avoid - all with no issues. Chew well, drink water, and you should be fine. I do have a few items on my list that I prefer not to eat when I am going to be out about running errands because they do digest differently. So, I don't pack them in my lunch or eat them when out for dinner. I usually save such things for the evenings I will be at home, watching a movie. It's not uncomfortable to digest, just more comfortable to be home.

Don't be afraid to try new foods, in small amounts at first. And once your recovery period is over, you'll get to know how food passes through, and you may find you are able to enjoy anything you like, in moderation, and under the right circumstances. Just be aware and pay attention.
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Past Member
Jan 22, 2014 4:25 pm

I had an ileostomy done in Aug 2013 and I've been eating large salads ever since - and by large, I mean an entire head of lettuce, a whole tomato, a whole cucumber, tofu cubes, apple slices, etc... not a single issue at all, but that's just me.

If you have any issues with strictures or a history of blockages, then you may experience more problems. Chewing is the best thing you can do and take it slow when you're starting out.

Past Member
Jan 22, 2014 4:47 pm

I've had an ileostomy for 60 years, so I'm not typical, perhaps, but I eat anything I want, which includes lots of salad, nuts, seeds, and other things sometimes considered problematic. Oranges not well chewed sometimes make a slow-to-move "plug," and a large amount of cooked vegetables with cabbage has occasionally been a problem (sauerkraut too). I like to cook mixed vegetables and make a creamy soup of them in the blender, reducing the risk. Experiment with small amounts of the things you want to try--we are all different.

Given the option, I'd not have had an ileostomy as a pre-adolescent, but I'm very glad I'm not adjusting to it as a 70-something. I admire those of you who are learning to live with one as adults. Of course, there are many more resources for help and good appliances than there were in the 50's.

Jan 22, 2014 5:20 pm

I've had my ileostomy since July of 2012 and I eat pretty much whatever I want. The best thing to do is try small samples first and see how your body does. Also, chew chew chew that will help with a lot of foods. Once in a while, I make the mistake of not chewing some foods enough, i.e. nuts, and I pay for it. Also, drink plenty of water to help keep things flowing. Best of luck to you.

Jan 22, 2014 5:26 pm

Hi Foxwoods! (Love the pic with the dog!)

Had my ileo since 2009 -- and now I can digest a salad made to my specifications - which is pretty much just lettuce - LOL.

Romaine lettuce seems best for some reason. I've tried some fresh red pepper, mushroom, and those just don't process well.

Unfortunately, I still can't eat any raw veggies ... but I'm very happy with my romaine. I add some feta, a good garlic dressing and some croutons and yum!

Jan 22, 2014 5:50 pm

I've had an ileo since '86. I eat salads regularly. Never had a problem. I expect more output when the input is mostly vegetables, but other than that, non-issue for me.

Past Member
Jan 22, 2014 7:48 pm

I have had my ileostomy since 2000. It actually gave me a better quality of life, but I still hate dealing with it on a daily basis. I am not sure if this will help or not, but for me if I eat salad I have to eat it around noon and if I eat it later then I know I will need to get up during the night. I cannot eat it every day like I used to, but I just learned from trial and error when I can eat it and when I can't. I was prescribed these Diphen/Atrop pills to replace Imodium and they work very well in solidifying things, and I take Gas-X to keep the attachment from bloating. I also found on this site these new Diamond inserts that also help with solidifying what goes in the attachment and they control the odors better than anything I have ever tried. I have been married to the same woman for 30 years, and she tells me she cannot smell any odors, but I have a big nose so I can tell as soon as it starts leaking through the bag. These Diamonds must have some kind of charcoal base in them, but if you want to make sure that you smell good I highly recommend them. They are a little pricey, but when you consider how much the bags cost then it falls into an acceptable area.xmlo/o

Mildred Rank
Jan 22, 2014 9:53 pm

I have no problems with lettuce or onions, but beware of hard skins like cucumbers, celery, carrots. Cucumbers, skinned are OK for me, but not carrots or celery. Tomatoes in small dice are OK for me. With time you should be able to figure out what's best for you.

Jan 23, 2014 2:21 am

I've had an ileostomy since '84, having had several surgeries. My gastro doc said iceberg or romaine lettuce is fairly easy to digest because it is mainly water. I have to be cautious of hard veggies in my salads like cauliflower because it can get trapped due to narrowing from surgeries. I have learned the hard way from obstructions. I can eat tomato and cucumber in salads if peeled. Just be careful and you should be okay.

Jan 23, 2014 3:25 am
Hi everyone,

I can eat basic salads consisting of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peeled canned beets, canned black olives, feta cheese, and shredded carrots. I notice when I eat lots of lettuce, although things pass, it is evident when I empty. At first, it was alarming, but now I am getting used to what I eat and how it processes. In addition, I have eaten a small carrot or two chewed very well. Prior to surgery, I was a veggie lover, but I watch today because I am fearful of blockages.

In addition, since surgery in early 2013, I have eaten corn on the cob, cooked cabbage, coleslaw, and baked beans in small amounts. I try not to overdo it, but I will try most things. Good luck with the experimentation and remember to drink lots of liquids. It helps move things along.
Jan 24, 2014 9:55 pm

Hi, I am male 79 with ileostomy since 2007 and I eat all types of salad. I eat sprouts, cabbage, carrots. In fact, I can eat almost anything. The only thing that gives me problems is corn, either loose or on the cob, as it just runs into the bag and fills up fast.

Just keep trying something a little at a time. It should soon work for you.
looking forward
Mar 03, 2021 12:24 am

Hi, I don't eat salad often but when I do, I use my salad chopper so everything is small.

Homie With A Stomie NS
Jul 17, 2022 3:09 pm

Hi Foxwoods... Happy Sunday.... I'm 4 months in with ileostomy and I just reintroduced salads. So far, I've only had garden salad. I add shredded cheese, bacon bits, and my favorite dressing. The only thing I don't add is tomatoes because I really dislike them, lol.... I eat the type that comes in a bag with cabbage. All I do is make sure it's chewed and enjoy, yes, even the purple cabbage.....

Give it a try, a small bowl, see how you process it, and you will know... Enjoy


Jun 07, 2023 12:28 am
Reply to Patrick27

I have an end ileostomy and no teeth with which to chew, but I found that I can eat a salad by putting it in a blender for a short period of time.