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People with a colostomy often have issues with gas and constipation. Fortunately, there are diet and lifestyle changes that can help. Discover practical tips here.
Gas and constipation are two common issues that you may experience after your colostomy surgery. Of course, diet has a big impact on both.
Dealing with gas
As your bowel recovers after surgery and begins to function again, you will notice gas in your pouch. The amount can vary. If you experienced excessive gas before your surgery, you will likely have it after your surgery.
Gas can be caused by the foods you eat. It can also be the result of swallowing air. Drinking carbonated beverages, smoking, chewing gum and chewing with your mouth open can all increase the amount of air you swallow.
If you are concerned about gas, you can use a pouch with a filter. The filter lets gas out of the pouch, but keep odours at bay. It also minimises gas from building up, so the pouch does not inflate like a balloon. Filters work best with a more formed discharge, but can be used with other output consistencies.
Below is a list of foods you may want to avoid, since they can increase gas:
Dealing with constipation
Constipation may also occur when you have a colostomy (you may have also experienced this before surgery). Certain medications may cause this issue, such as some pain relievers and antacids. Other reasons for constipation include a diet lacking in fibre and inadequate fluid intake. Sometimes simply increasing your fluids, taking a mild laxative or increasing your fibre consumption will fix the problem.
Additional causes of constipation include eating foods low in fibre, such as many meats, dairy products, refined sugars and processed or fast foods. It’s also a good idea to avoid foods known to thicken stool, such as:
Foods that help naturally with constipation include bran, fresh vegetables, fruits (fresh and dried) and whole grains.
If diet changes don’t work
If you’ve made changes to your diet and lifestyle and constipation or severe gas still persist, consult your healthcare professional for guidance.
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