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Eat what's good for you

An adapted ostomy diet can change your life

Food is essential for survival and at the same time a powerful element in our social life. We celebrate family traditions, holidays and every culture has its own customs concerning food. After your stoma surgery, you can enjoy eating again. And that means you might consume and enjoy food way more than you have in a long time.

Move one step at a time

Three weeks following your stoma surgery

There is no specific dietary guideline and no established “ostomy diet” for people living with a stoma that dictates when and what step has to be taken. It is just the opposite: One has to consider that each individual with a stoma is unique and deserves to be taken with his/her individual likes, habits and needs. That also refers to your personal eating and drinking habits. On your journey to a life with stoma there are important considerations as you discover the foods that work best for you.

As everybody is different it is best to talk this diet sheet over with your physician or nutrition expert. They can tell you when to move on to each step. But remember, in the end it is your feeling which counts.

pureed cooked fruit in a bowl green illustration

Step 1

For the first few days after surgery, you most likely will not eat and drink as the muco-cutaneous junction which is the connection of the gut to the skin is not yet strong enough, wounds have to heal and your overall gut function will be disturbed. Infusion therapy often substitutes eating and drinking. If you feel like it, you can start drinking mild coffee, lemon water and water with syrup.

pureed cooked fruit in a bowl green illustration
blended food in a bowl green illustration
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A plan for your diet

Starting the 4th week after surgery

In the fourth week after your surgery, you will be most likely home again: One goal is to adapt and keep to your diet as to maintain frequency, consistency and amount of stool. You might not go back completely to what you were eating before your surgery but possibly after surgery it is now far more easy to maintain your bowel movement in the desired range. However, your new eating habits must aim to avoid malnutrition and dehydration which are often the challenges of utmost importance. With a well-balanced diet you can obtain all necessary vitamins, minerals and calories needed for good recovery.


Nutrition specialist, Dr Philippe Fauqué, has put together some important and helpful information for you. Among the top tips is this piece of advice: 

“Eat starchy food as this is very well absorbed and brings you a lot of energy for your daily needs.”

Dr. Philippe Fauqué, dietician physician specialized in nutrition

Forbidden or allowed?

Starchy products from whole wheat?

Whole wheat products seem healthier than modified food. Not at all, it can cause more gas and more problems with the stoma output, because it contains the outer layers of the cereal which does not dissolve and is extremely fermentable. So, avoid starchy products from whole cereals.

bread, potatoes and pasta with fork  green illustration
whole wheat bread, whole wheat cereals and pulses purple illustration

Forbidden or allowed?

Vegetables, fruits, coffee, tea and water?

Raw or cooked vegetables or fruits?

Better choose cooked vegetables or fruits as they are easily digested. Raw vegetables and fruits will ferment much more and can cause a lot of gas and sometimes appliance issues.  


Coffee or tea?

You love coffee? Good for you, because coffee is preferable to tea (including herbal tea), which can irritate the intestine and therefore increases the stoma output and causes intestinal pain. 


Sparkling or still water?

Still water is the better choice. The carbon dioxide in the sparkling water may react with the hydrochloric acid secreted in the stomach and forms a compound called carbonic acid that can irritate the intestinal mucosa.

milk, tea, sparkling water, carrot and apple purple illustration