Alcohol And An Ileostomy – Things To Think About If You’re Drinking With A Stoma

Alcohol And An Ileostomy – Things To Think About If You’Re Drinking With A Stoma

Congratulations! You have a stoma…you are now officially a drinking lightweight!

No matter what your drinking ability was like before you had your stoma - even if you were Jägermeister Champion 2014 - it will now be like drinking on an empty stomach unless you prepare your digestive tract for the festivities. You’re probably thinking, “Well, doh! I’ll just have something to eat before I have a glass of Pimms in the pub garden”. Sadly it doesn’t work like that. But never fear; you can still raise a glass at your Nan’s 80th without the worry that you might be flashing your knickers the next minute.

It’s all in the preparation

You need to ready yourself in a very similar way to how you prepare your body for bag changing without your stoma squirting everywhere; first, you need to slow down your stoma’s output.

This is best done with a handful of jelly babies, marshmallows or toffees. Then eat a meal as usual. The chewy sweets basically cause a very temporary blockage that also contains your last meal – thus, something to soak up the alcohol.

Drink, drink, drink…WATER

Above everything, though, you need to remember to keep yourself well hydrated. Ostomates have to make a special effort not to get dehydrated, especially in the hot summer months. Alcohol is a diuretic (it promotes the production of urine) so it doesn’t count towards topping up your hydration levels – it actually has the opposite effect. I get around this by having a glass of water with every alcoholic drink, which I sip inbetween rounds.

It doesn’t stop there – changing tastes and the morning after…

Strangely, I’ve also found that my tastes in alcohol have changed since I got my stoma, as have the hangover effects it has on me the morning after I’ve been drinking. Yeasty drinks like beer and highly carbonated beverages will also cause stoma bag ballooning.

Don’t forget – Drink Responsibly

Having a stoma can make you a 'lightweight' when it comes to drinking alcohol

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by Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

About the author

My name is Michelle; I live in Kent with my husband and son. I have a permanent ileostomy as a result of Ulcerative Colitis. You can follow me on twitter.