Settling Into a Diet After Ostomy Surgery

Every body is different. The key to feeling more like yourself after ostomy surgery is patiently settling into a routine – especially when it comes to your diet. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Settling into a Diet Routine after Ostomy Surgery

Learn how to settle into a diet routine after ostomy surgery

Once you get home after colostomy or ileostomy surgery, you may feel a bit unsettled. That’s understandable. But the good news is that a diet routine can help you feel more comfortable. Just keep a few simple things in mind and you’ll feel like yourself in no time.

Right after surgery:  Your output will often be loose or fluid-like. This generally improves with time. There are many foods that can help thicken your stool.

Every day: Aim to drink six to eight glasses of liquid to avoid getting dehydrated. Check for regular amounts of clear or pale, straw-coloured urine. That means you probably have enough fluid in your system. If your urine is brown or dark yellow, drink more fluids. Talk to your healthcare professional about any diet restrictions.

In about six to eight weeks: Your stoma output will settle into a consistency that remains constant. Keep aiming for the right amount of fluid, salt and calorie intake. If you haven’t already, consult with a healthcare professional on a diet plan just for you.

Once you are feeling better: Everyone is different, so you’ll start to feel more like yourself when your body is ready. Once you feel good and have settled into a routine, you can start trying your favourite foods. Generally, most people can eventually return to their pre-surgery diet with few, if any, limitations.

Let your body set the routine: Again, every body responds differently to surgery. Your lifestyle is also unique. For example, meal times vary by person and can depend on social factors. That’s no different than for people without stomas. Your system will recover from surgery in its own way, so be patient.

Just let yourself ease into a routine and you’ll start to enjoy food again. And don’t forget – everything in moderation.

View or print the full PDF booklet: Living with an Ostomy: Healthy Eating