Diet guidelines for patients with a colostomy

Now that you have had a Colostomy, there is no need to follow a special diet and you should eat as wide a variety of foods as possible. However, it is important to remember that every individual is different so this information contains a few guidelines to help you follow a well-balanced diet.

Main points

Try foods in small amounts then gradually increase your portion size until you are eating normally

You may find it easier to have small regular meals/snacks throughout the day rather than 3 large meals.

Relax, sit upright, eat slowly and chew food well keeping your mouth closed.

Avoid talking when eating, this will help reduce wind.

You must still include fibre in your diet. Choose some foods from the following list daily:

  • Wholemeal bread
  • High fibre cereal e.g. Weetabix, porridge
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit – make sure it is peeled initially, following your operation
  • Bananas

Food that can cause odour

Try in small amounts first and only avoid them if they cause discomfort.

  • Green vegetables
  • Beans
  • Fish
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggs
  • Parsnips
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Beer

Foods that can help with odour

  • Tomato juice
  • Orange juice
  • Natural yogurt (live)
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint water

Foods that may cause wind / flatus

  • Beer
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Cauliflower/broccoli
  • Onions
  • Beans – Kidney or Baked
  • Pulses
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Milk & Milk drinks
  • Fruit
  • Cabbage/Sprouts
  • Chocolate
  • Eggs Products

Foods that may cause liquid stool / Alievate constipation

The following foods may cause increased diarrhoea. Try them in small amounts first and only avoid them if they cause discomfort:

  • Raw / undercooked vegetables
  • Spices
  • Prunes/Figs
  • Chocolate
  • Dried Fruits
  • Fresh fruit
  • Salad dressing
  • Pure Fruit Juice
  • Highly spiced/Fatty Foods
  • Bran
  • Cereals
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach

Do not be concerned if your colostomy does not work every day. The food listed above can be eaten to stimulate bowel function

Foods that can thicken output

These are good in the early days after you stoma formation as they help to thicken the output and make managing the stoma easier

  • Bananas
  • Boiled rice
  • Smooth peanut butter
  • White Bread
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Cereal Porridge


Your daily fluid intake is very important. Drink 6-8 cups of fluid a day. Suitable fluids include:

  • Water Milk
  • Tea/coffee
  • Hot chocolate
  • Malted milk drinks
  • squash

If you suffer from constipation make sure to increase your fluid intake. If you take part in strenuous exercise, holiday in hot climates, perspire during spells of hot weather or the contents in your pouch are very loose your fluid intake should be increased to avoid dehydration. Fluids high in salt such as Bovril or sports drinks are very good as they replace lost salt and glucose.

Signs of dehydration

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations (feeling that the heart is pounding or jumping)
  • Confusion, sluggishness, even fainting
  • Inability to sweat
  • Decreased urine output: a darker urine colour may indicate dehydration.

What to do if any of these signs occur

Suck on Ice lollies made from juices and sports drinks.  Drink carbohydrate/electrolyte containing Drinks.  If you are diabetic only use rehydration solution from the chemist.



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