Diet and Digestion with an Ostomy

Sarah, living with an ostomy since 2004

Ostomy surgery has allowed Sarah to get back to eating foods she loves, and, in her words, “has been the best thing for me." Twelve years ago, Sarah had ileostomy surgery after living for years with ulcerative colitis.


Intake Equals Output

Sarah now eats many of the same things she did before her ileostomy surgery, and enjoys them more than ever. Here are some tips that Sarah has for eating, digestion and activity:




Drink Up.

  • "Hydration will always be an issue, so drink lots of water. l like to toss in a slice of lemon for a little extra flavor."



Start slow and build up.

  • “If you’re right out of surgery, you might be more sensitive to foods than you will be six months down the road. Use trial and error to see how foods work for you. If you’ve had ileostomy surgery, add high-fiber foods back into your diet gradually to make sure you can digest them well. These include raw fruits and veggies (especially with skins), nuts, seeds and popcorn.”



Chew and chew some more.

  • “If it looks the same coming out as it did going in, you need to chew those foods better.”



Input always makes output.

  • “With an ileostomy, your stoma is going pretty much all the time. If I was going on a job interview, for example, I would not eat a big meal right before, because my stoma may create output and my pouch would fill up—and you don’t want that.”



Do what you love! “I go on bike rides, I go boogie boarding. It may take a little time, but you can do all those things and keep your stoma safe.”





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