Being diagnosed with an ostomy can be shocking and leave you feeling quite vulnerable, especially concerning diet and exercise. There are two main ways you can approach diet and exercise with your stoma, and the right one will depend on your lifestyle and preferences and what works best for your body.
Diet and your stoma
While a stoma is not a life-threatening condition, it does require some sacrifices when it comes to eating. As a stoma patient, there are a few guidelines to follow to maintain good health. The most obvious is that the ileostomy output must be collected and disposed of, which means the food has to be consumed within twenty minutes of release so as not to break the seal.
Foods in stoma
Some foods that are easy to digest, nutritious, and delicious include fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Protein-rich foods like eggs, chicken, or beef can also be part of a healthy diet.
Exercise in your stoma
You might not be able to do all the same things that were available before surgery, but don’t let that stop you from finding what works for you.
Can you exercise with a stoma?
The benefits of exercising with a stoma include the relief from constipation, managing pain and emotional distress caused by having a stoma, stronger abdominal muscles for stool control, improved bowel function, and greater independence in daily living skills such as bathing and dressing oneself among others.
If you have a colostomy, it is essential to stay hydrated. Try drinking at least eight glasses of water per day. You may also want to switch your diet to lower fat and dairy products. Avoid raw foods because they are harder to digest and meats with heavy sauces or marinades high in fats and proteins.
There are certain types of foods that require extra attention when eating with an ileostomy. These include starchy and high-fiber foods, fats, dairy products, and citrus fruits. There is not a perfect diet that fits everyone’s lifestyle; some people need to ensure they get plenty of protein, while others need to restrict fat intake.
Symptoms of a blockage
Common blockage symptoms are nausea, vomiting, cramping, bloating, and gas. The only way to know for sure that there is a blockage is to have an endoscopy. This is when the doctor examines the inside of your digestive tract through a long, thin tube with a camera on its end.
Symptoms of dehydration
Dehydration is usually caused by fluid and electrolyte loss, possibly due to an overuse of diuretics or insufficient water intake. Other dehydration causes include vomiting and diarrhea, fever, excessive perspiration, lack of suitable types of food, injuries, and burns.
Foods that can cause loose stools
Some foods have a laxative effect, causing loose stools. It is essential to avoid too much dairy, and any raw fruits or vegetables that might be too hard to digest. Meat, pasta, potatoes, beans, and eggs are all considered easy foods for digestion.
Foods that cause excess odor/gas
Spicy foods, beans, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and anything dairy or caffeinated are often on the list. Stay away from carbonated drinks as well. Make sure to have your doctor’s approval before making any dietary changes – such as adding probiotics or eliminating some food groups.