Colostomy diet and hydration advice

After your surgery you may find your appetite is reduced, but it is still important to eat little and often to help your recovery. You should be able to eat normal foods and return back to the food you enjoyed before your surgery. You may find that some foods can upset your stoma, but this may be a one off and we would advise you to try them again in a couple of weeks.


Dietary tips for the early days:

You are likely to have lost weight following your surgery. It is important to increase your intake of calories, fat and protein to aid your body’s healing process. In addition to your normal diet, you should look to include the following foods:

  • Full fat milk and cheese
  • Double cream (add to soup, mashed potato and puddings)
  • Snack on biscuits and cakes
  • Foods high in protein each day such as fish, tender meat and eggs
  • Drink regularly to avoid dehydration

Ongoing dietary advice:

  • Eat and drink regularly
  • Include fruit and vegetables daily
  • Have foods high in protein each day such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk or yoghurt
  • Include carbohydrates with each meal such as bread, potatoes, pasta, rice and breakfast cereals
  • Include milk and dairy foods two to three times per day as they are rich in calcium – choose lower-fat varieties as a healthier option

People with a colostomy will experience the same common digestive issues that they may have had before their surgery, such as wind, odour, constipation and diarrhoea.


Sometimes certain foods can give you wind. The following foods may increase wind:

  • Cabbage
  • Beans/lentils/pulses
  • Cauliflower
  • Sprouts
  • Spicy foods
  • Onions
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Chewing gum

Leafy green vegetables can cause more wind in the early days. Try root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes.

Solutions to reduce wind:

  • Avoid talking and drinking whilst eating and keep your mouth closed whilst chewing
  • Avoid drinking with a straw
  • Eat regularly and avoid long gaps between meals
  • Allow fizzy drinks to go flat
  • Try drinking peppermint drinks such as cordial or tea
  • Eat live yoghurt – 1 carton per day. The natural kind seems more effective
  • Keep mobile
  • A void smoking and chewing gum


The following foods can sometimes cause odour:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus

Solutions to reduce odour:

  • Eat live yoghurt
  • Peppermint oil capsules (available from chemists and health food shops)
  • Peppermint cordial, diluted to taste
  • Peppermint tea


Diarrhoea can be caused by many things including diet, medication and your emotions. Common foods that can cause loose stools:

  • Green vegetables
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Raw fruit
  • Prunes or prune juice

Solutions to reduce loose stools:

  • Very ripe banana
  • Marshmallows or jelly babies
  • Live yoghurt
  • Apple sauce
  • Cheese
  • Noodles
  • Boiled milk
  • Starchy foods such as white rice, pasta, white bread and potatoes
  • Tapioca and other milk puddings
  • Smooth peanut butter

If you do experience diarrhoea, it may be advisable to temporarily use a drainable bag that can be emptied, rather than repeatedly removing your usual closed bag as this can make the skin sore.

Constipation: Constipation can be caused by various reasons, such as some medication, diet, lack of mobility and lack of fluids.

Solutions to reduce constipation:

  • Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables
  • Eat wholemeal/wholegrain products
  • Drink plenty of fluids – approximately 2 litres each day (avoiding caffeine)
  • Take some gentle exercise
  • Try fruit juice or prune juice
  • Try a mild laxative

If you have persistent diarrhoea or constipation, please contact your Stoma Care Nurse or GP for advice.