This is Part 3 of Ostomy Orientation Week – What goes in must come out! It’s all about eating and pooping with an ostomy. Output consistency, foods to help thicken output, blockages, gas and staying hydrated.
1. What consistency is your ostomy output?
They say a toothpaste or porridge type consistency is “normal”. Obviously it depends on a number of things including type of ostomy, diet, liquid intake, medications, how long post-surgery you are, etc. I have an ileostomy, and depending what I’ve eaten, most days mine is kind of like a thick porridge. Unless I’ve drunk apple juice when it comes out exactly the same as it goes in!!!
How would you describe your ostomy output?
2. Which foods work best for thickening your output?
There are lots of different foods that can help thicken your output, but remember, you don’t want it too thick either, and it’s important to keep a balanced and healthy diet! Some of my favourites to help with watery output are jelly beans and marshmallows! Starchy things like pretzels, pasta, and white rice are good, and yoghurt and bananas can help too.
What’s your go to food for thickening your poop?
3. BLOCKAGES 💩 Have you ever had a blockage? What caused it?
Thankfully I’ve never experienced a blockage, but it’s something I’m wary of and know can be painful and are best avoided! I eat basically anything including some of the known problem foods like nuts, corn and some of the stringier fruit and vegetables. My trick is to chew, chew, chew (plus probably some luck)!
I met someone the other day who’d had 3 major blockages after eating Sausage McMuffins! If I am a bit worried that I haven’t produced any output for several hours I’ll normally stop eating solids, drink something hot like a cup of tea and massage around my stoma a bit to try to get things moving.
Who has had a blockage, and do you know what caused it? How was it resolved?
4. What is “Balloon bag”?
That’s probably not the technical term, but I get balloon bag a lot! It’s basically when your bag blows up like a balloon because you’re gassy and producing a lot of wind. Quite often there’s not much output in there, it’s just air. This can be caused by drinking carbonated drinks (including beer, which is my worst culprit!), chewing gum, and certain foods.
I sometimes go off discreetly into the bathroom and carefully let the air out by holding the opening / end of the pouch up and VERY cautiously opening it and pushing the air out (aka “burping your bag”).
WARNING #1: Do NOT attempt to do this if the bag is full of poo!
WARNING #2: This WILL smell!
There are many other tips on avoiding wind. What are your hints?
5. HYDRATION: How much and what do you drink? 🍹🍵
One of the first things my stoma nurse told me was the importance of staying hydrated, and I get a light hearted scolding if I visit her and I don’t have a bottle of water in my hand bag! Ostomates should drink plenty of fluid to stay hydrated. I always carry around a water bottle and have one sitting on my desk at work. You’ll be surprised how many litres you get through if you take a few sips every so often. I try to drink at least 2-3 litres a day. A squeeze of lemon or lime is nice for a bit of zest!
Anyone else have any tips for staying hydrated?
6. Rainbow poop: What foods change the colour of your output?
Ostomate freak out moment!!! Forgetting you had beetroot in your salad the day before!! Many foods can come out in ileostomy poop looking very similar to how they went in, even down to colour. I’ve passed whole pieces of fruit and veg and nuts, even intact corn kernels. I love my pesto pasta, and that often makes my output a speckled green colour! Red velvet cake and anything with a lot of food colouring can look pretty interesting too!
Which foods change the colour of your output?