By Charlotte Guinea
Fizzy Drinks and your stoma
Fizzy drinks will increase the amount of wind that you pass in your ileostomy or colostomy pouch. It is likely to make your stoma more vocal and can cause ballooning of the pouch.
To reduce this avoid fizzy drinks or drink them in moderation. Let it stand once poured for 10 minutes or stir with a spoon to allow some of the gas to escape.
Alcohol and your stoma
You can still drink alcohol if you have a stoma but it is advised only in moderation. Gassy drinks such as beer and lager can cause a lot of wind and loosen the output of the stools. I would always advise that when drinking alcohol for every drink that you have consumed ensure that you drink a glass of water in-between to keep you hydrated.
Excess alcohol will affect you just as it affects people without a stoma. Alcohol tends to make you pass more urine. This can make you more susceptible to becoming dehydrated if you have an ileostomy. The key is to make sure you have LOTS of water whilst drinking alcohol as this will stop you from dehydrating.
Christmas Dinner and your stoma
The majority of us tend to eat more over the Christmas holiday period.
We indulge in different foods that are often richer than our usual day to day diets and our meal patterns may be irregular due to eating later on in the day than usual.
If our food intake increases, our waste output will increase. For those with an ileostomy this is likely to require emptying the pouch more often in a 24-hour period or, for those with a colostomy, this means more pouch changes if you are using a closed pouch.
Different foods will also have an effect on the consistency of the stools that are produced. Foods that are high in fibre stimulate the gut and may produce more wind and looser stools as the waste passes through the gut much quicker giving less time for water to be reabsorbed.
A high fibre intake can cause a blockage, particularly if you have an ileostomy. This is caused by the indigestible fibre that can block the flow of waste into the pouch. It tends to be associated with colicky abdominal pain and the stoma stops working. Should this happen the following steps may help relieve th blockage:
- Stop eating for up to 24 hours but continue drinking plenty of water. This can gently help the blockage release itself.
- Gently massage the abdomen in a big circular clockwise motion. This may ease the pain and help the blockage pass through the bowel.
- Soaking in a warm bath may relieve the spasm and help the food blockage to pass through.
If these measures are successful the ileostomy will start functioning as usual again. You may start eating again but keep to a light diet for the first 24 hours or until stools return to your normal consistency. Continue drinking well to replace the excess fluid you lose through the ileostomy to prevent dehydration.
If these measures are unsuccessful or your pain becomes worse or is accompanied by vomiting you need to seek emergency medical help.
If you start vomiting you can become dehydrated very quickly, especially if you have an ileostomy.
Some of the high fibre foods that may be encountered at Christmas are dried fruits, pineapple, nuts, coconut, citrus fruit pith and skins, celery and sweetcorn.
Most people with a stoma can eat all these foods in moderation and as long as the food is chewed particularly well to aid the digestion process you should be fine. You tend to run into problems if you eat a lot of these foods at any one time. It is always advisable when introducing a new food to your diet to have a small portion first such as one or two tablespoons worth to see what effect it has on your stoma function. Everybody is different in their tolerance and response to foods, plus there is the effect the surgical operation has had upon their bowel function to consider.
Brussels sprouts are notorious for making those who eat them more windy and odorous, as is the case with other vegetables in the brassica family such as cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. Cooking them in water rather than steaming or microwaving will wash away some of these problem chemicals and cooking them on the softer side will help the digestion process.
Other Christmas foods that make an appearance in your pouch and may have an effect on your stoma are:
- Beetroot, which can colour urine and stools red and can easily be mistaken for bleeding.
- Stilton and other smelly cheese, which can increase odour from the stoma output.
- Spicy pickles and pickled onions, which may increase odour, wind or affect your stool consistency.
I hope that this guide helps you have an enjoyable and stress free Christmas Period and wish you all the very best for 2016