After any operation it can take some time for your appetite to return and, after bowel surgery, it also takes a while for the gut to recover from the trauma. If you have had problems tolerating certain foods before surgery you may also be particularly anxious about reintroducing a normal diet. In many hospitals there are protocols for the reintroduction of fluids and foods to try to build up patients’ confidence and to allow the bowel to settle down. At this early stage it is often easier to cope with a light or an easily digestible diet i.e. one that is not too spicy, fatty, highly flavoured or too high in fibre. If you have lost a lot of weight before and/or immediately following surgery then it will be important to try to regain a healthy weight.
- Eat small meals with between meal snacks around 4-6 times per day, especially if your appetite is poor
- Make sure you include some protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese and milk (not just starchy foods such as potatoes or bread) at each meal to aid healing
- Eat in a relaxed setting, eat slowly and chew your food well to aid digestion
- Limit fruit, vegetable, and wholegrain bread and cereals, coffee and other bowel stimulants such as alcohol initially
- Drink plenty of fluid-at least 6 cups a day (at least 8-10 a day if you have an ileostomy)
Other nutritional advice sections available:-