Ostomy Nutrition Guide | From Shield HealthCare’s Registered Dietitian

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Shield HealthCare
08/06/12  8:00 AM PST
Ostomy Nutrition Guide

Ostomy surgery can affect the way your body digests and absorbs the food you eat. As you recover, you will need to advance your diet slowly. Most people can return to their normal eating pattern in a few weeks.

Ostomy Nutrition Tips:

• Eat slowly; take small bites and chew thoroughly

• Eat small frequent meals and snacks

• Schedule meals and snacks at the same time each day

• Introduce new foods one at a time

• Keep track of what you eat and your symptoms

Although people with an ostomy generally do not need to follow restrictive diets, certain foods may aggravate common symptoms.

Common Issues

Recommended Foods Foods to Limit


Gas Most cooked vegetables Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beans, carbonation Eat smaller amounts more frequently
Odor Cranberry juice, buttermilk, yogurt, kefir, parsley Asparagus, alcohol, fish, eggs Try odor-eliminat­ing drops or spray
Hard stools or constipation Warm or hot beverages, fresh or cooked fruits, cooked vegetables Nuts and seeds, corn, coconut, raw celery or cabbage, raw apple peel, dried fruits may cause obstruction Increase fluid intake
Watery stools/diarrhea Cheese, smooth nut butters, rice, pasta, potatoes, bananas, applesauce Prune juice and grape juice Choose lactose-free milk if you are lactose intolerant.

If you have persis­tent watery stools, ask your doctor if you should consume an electrolyte drink.

Be sure to contact your doctor if you are experiencing unusual symptoms or discomfort.

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My 89-year-old mother loves to swim but she has found that the pouch fills with water when she gets into the pool. What can we do to fix this?
We recently had someone reach out to our Facebook community with a similar question, and several of our OstomyLife community members responded with their own advice.
Hopefully you and your mother will find their answers helpful ...

Recent OstomyLife


  1. Posted August 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm PST

    Thank you for the information. I would suggest adding a “food journal” to track what we consume and what the results are. It helps to understand cause and effect.

    Also, I encourage you to offer links to the Colon Cancer Alliance’s online community at http://www.ccalliance.org/mycrcconnections/index.html

    Be WELL!
    Randy, 26 year colon cancer survivor and ostomate

  2. Erma
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 4:35 pm PST

    I have diarrhea for two days and feel weak and tired. tried imodium and my bag fills up all day. Tried to eat a little since this has caused me to be nauseated. Drinking gatorade and plenty of water. how do i stop the diarrhea? its just filling up with brown water. my ileostomy surgery was two years ago and i haven’t had a problem until now.

  3. Posted June 27, 2016 at 9:15 am PST

    Hi Erma, I’m sorry to hear you’re having issues! First and foremost I would call your GI doctor and tell him/her about the issue. He or she may want to do a stool sample or something of the sort to make sure you don’t have some sort of bug. As far as trying to stop the diarrhea, Imodium is a good start, I would also suggest if you can stomach some applesauce, rice, mashed potatoes, bananas or toast, those will all help thicken your output and absorb some fluid. Pedialyte would be a good option to hydrate with, or G2 Gatorade (less sugar, as sugar can cause runny output). Especially since you are getting nauseous, I would call your Gastrointestinal Doc right away! Good luck and please keep us updated! -Laura, Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist

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