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Colostomy - General Info

Colostomy is a surgical procedure in which the colon is connected to the skin of the front abdominal wall. This way the feces is eliminated through a hole in the abdominal wall into a special pouch called colostomy bag which is attached to the hole. Colostomy is generally performed in patients suffering from malignant tumors of the colon and its terminal part, the rectum. Colostomy can be temporary or permanent.

After colostomy the patients must stick to a specific diet and avoid certain foods. Apart from adequate diet rich in all the necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals patients who have undergone colostomy must pay special care of the hole in the abdomen and maintain impeccable hygiene of this area.

Diet after Colostomy

After the operation patients are explained how to maintain hygiene of the operated area and are given specific advice on what to eat and what foods they are supposed to avoid. The goal of proper diet is to provide with all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals and to prevent nutritional imbalances, constipation and diarrhea. After the surgery the colon needs some time to heal. This is why the diet right after the surgery is very restrictive. The healing process lasts approximately 3 to 4 days.

Certain foods are not recommended to patients who have undergone colostomy. This refers to dairy products, high fiber foods, corn meals, brown rice, raw vegetables, peels of fruit, sweets including cakes, cookies and pies, nuts, legumes (lentils, peas and beans) and fried food.

Apart from the previously mentioned in order to avoid odor in the stool patients should reduce consumption if not totally eliminate intake of garlic, onions, eggs, fish, cauliflower and other green vegetables such as cabbage, asparagus and broccoli.

Furthermore, the foods recommended for patients suffering from diarrhea include white bread, well-cooked white rice, tapioca, freshly mashed potatoes, peanut butter, buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, banana, applesauce and cranberry juice.

In case after colonoscopy patients develop constipation the following foods will help to deal with the problem and loosen the stool: beer, spicy foods, fresh fruit (prunes), seeds and leafy vegetables. However, constipated patients should consult their doctor prior consuming any of the previously mentioned foods.

The diet should also include plenty of fluids including fresh fruit juices and water. Patients who have undergone colonostomy may also benefit from broth, jello, honey, tea, soups and sport drinks. These liquid foods can provide with sufficient amount of many nutrients and are easily digested. Soda drinks as well as alcohol beverages are strictly forbidden.

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