Sometimes a problem in the bowel will require surgery with an incision made into the bowel to fix this problem. These incisions will sometimes necessitate the use of a bag which is worn outside the body and which collects waste. This is called a colostomy bag. When this occurs, you will need to be mindful of your diet in order to make the experience of having the colostomy bag as easy as possible.
To start, slowly add foods back into your diet in order to determine how they will affect your stool. Many patients will be able to be able to return to a fairly normal diet, but since this type of surgery will affect all patients differently, it is important to determine how various foods affect your stool.
Try eating your foods at the same time each day to help regulate your bowel movements. Eating a big meal in the middle of the day and a smaller one at night or eating five or six smaller meals may help you achieve this. When eating, make sure you chew your food completely and stay away from leafy vegetables, as this may cause a blockage to the bag. Also, fresh fruit may cause your stool to be loose.
Make sure you are drinking at least 2 qts. of water every day. This will help to keep your body hydrated and keep the stool moving loosely through the bowels. The colon normally absorbs some of the water in the stool back into the body, so you will lose water with the stool moving into the bag instead of the colon. Maintain an ideal body weight, as this will help regulate your stool.
Finally, make sure that you avoid foods with high fiber for at least 6 to 8 weeks after you have your surgery. Fiber acts as a regulating factor, and when you are getting used to the colostomy bag, you will want to be able to control your stool production as much as possible. Also note that certain foods will change the color of your stool. For example, beets may turn the stool red and vegetables like broccoli may change the color to black. These changes are to be expected and should not cause any concern.