I will always remember the first few days of having my stoma. The thought of eating anything but soup and ice cream scared me as I thought food would give me a blockage. I had no clue how my stoma would react to food and after being so ill with my ulcerative colitis, the thought of eating food which once caused me to flare was equally as terrifying.
Slowly, I realised that my stoma actually did work and I could eat lots of different foods which I couldn’t before. It was just a case of trial and error which still scares me but I now do more and more regularly.
One of the foods I never thought I’d be able to eat was salad. Raw veg used to make me flare badly and I’d read a lot about how many people can’t eat it with stomas. For well over a year, I daren’t try anything raw incase I got a blockage, especially after I did once eat raw carrot and get a blockage! However recently I started being a bit more adventurous with what I was eating and now I’m ordering salads as an actual meal (which is something I never ever thought I’d do!)
Tips for eating harder to digest foods
I feel like I should say first that maybe don’t try raw veg and high fibre foods straight after surgery. Your body is still getting used to this new way of working and your stoma is more prone to blockages as it is still swollen and healing from surgery.
Chew your food well
I am known for being a very slow eater but I’ve gotten quite used to it! I make sure I chew all of my food incredibly well so it’s easier to digest. Yes, it means you eat longer but it’s definitely better than having a blockage
Drink plenty whilst eating/once you’ve finished
I always make sure I drink water after I’ve eaten a meal as I read somewhere that it helps with digestion. If I’ve eaten something which is harder to digest, or I’m worried I haven’t chewed as well as I should, I’ll sometimes have a coke as well as it works wonders for small blockages
Try not to talk too much when eating
Now this is much easier said than done. Anyone who knows me knows I can be a bit of a chatterbox but the downside to this is that you can end up with a lot of trapped wind around your stoma which can take the pleasure out of eating a bit.
It’s really important to note that everyone with stomas, be it colostomies or ileostomies, reacts different to different foods. Some people can’t eat raw foods whereas others can eat just about anything. Foods I can’t eat are whole nuts, mushrooms and sweetcorn and raw carrot.
If you’re introducing high fibre foods into your diet, start slow and build yourself up. Don’t go and order masses of salad or big pieces of meat as a first go. If you are worried, it might be worth talking and getting some advice from your stoma nurses
Leave your tips for eating high fibre foods in the comments below!