Initially after your operation, you might find that your appetite is smaller than normal and that you feel like you are bloated or have indigestion after meals. However, as you become more active, you should find that your appetite returns and that you don’t experience these symptoms any more. If you feel that you can’t face a meal, soups and milky drinks are nourishing.
As you get better, these practical tips will help you to have regular bowel movements of a regular consistency:
- Don't under eat - have three regular meals a day. You may experience irregular motions with excessive wind if you don't eat regularly
- Try to eat a balanced diet with low fat and moderate fibre intake. You shouldn’t cut out high fibre foods entirely as these contain many vitamins and minerals necessary to our diet
- Drink plenty of fluids - aim to drink around 8-10 large mugs of fluid a day e.g. water, squash, tea, coffee or milk
- Take gentle exercise
Make sure you always chew your food well. You may find that certain foods cause your stools to change consistency initially after your surgery. However, it is worth experimenting with these foods several times before excluding them from your diet, as you might find that you can eat them in a few months time once your body has adjusted to the new situation.
You can continue to enjoy alcohol in moderation. You might find that gassy drinks, such as beer and lager, may give you wind. If you have an ileostomy, you might need to empty your pouch more frequently if you have alcohol. Remember, that alcohol will affect your coordination, so if you overindulge, you might have problems emptying or changing your pouch, causing spillages.
Some people find that some foods can increase odour - these foods include:
- Fish, eggs, asparagus, onions, green vegetables, cheese, baked beans, cucumber
You might want to use trial and error to see whether any foods cause problems and avoid them if necessary.
Producing wind is a completely natural part of the digestive process for everyone. Here are some tips on how you can make a difference to the amount of wind you produce:
- Chew your food properly instead of gulping it down - this means you swallow less air while you eat
- Don't talk while eating
- Fizzy drinks have a lot of bubbles in them that introduce gas into your system. Gently shaking fizzy drinks, pouring them into a glass or letting them stand for 10 minutes before drinking can help reduce the amount of bubbles
- Avoid irregular meal times
- Be aware that there are certain foods that can cause wind: green vegetables, fruit, nuts, peas, beer, onions, sweetcorn, eggs, beans and lemonade
Watery loose stools can be caused by certain foods, such as highly spiced foods, beans, peas, chocolate, prunes, spinach and raw fruit. Diarrhoea can also be caused by factors other than food, such as overindulgence in alcohol, emotional upset, stress or strain. It can also be a side-effect of some medication. In addition, certain bacteria and viruses can give you diarrhoea. If the problem persists with no obvious cause, see your doctor.
There are some specific hints and tips that apply to those who have had a colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy.