Diet and Nutrition

After Bowel surgery some people find that their appetite has decreased. It is important that you try to eat snacks and small meals at regular intervals. You should also aim for a diet that is varied and avoid foods that cause diarrhoea, wind or pain. To prevent dehydration you should drink at least 8 glasses / cups of fluid per day.

Foods to eat with caution

Foods which can cause blockages in the stoma

  • Wholegrain products
  • Dried fruits and Nuts,
  • vegetable and fruit skins, pips and seeds

Foods that can cause wind

  • Carbonated drinks
  • Green Broccoli, Cabbage, cauliflower
  • Onions
  • Salad (Lettuce, Cucumber and celery)
  • Beans, Peas and Pulses

Foods that may increase stoma output

  • Raw Vegetables
  • Spices
  • Green vegetables (Broccoli, Spinach and cabbage)
  • Alcohol
  • Drinks containing caffeine
  • High fibre cereals
  • Fruit Juice
  • Fish
  • Fruit skins

Foods that may decrease stoma output

  • Marshmallows
  • Tapioca/rice pudding
  • Ripe bananas
  • Smooth peanut butter
  • Fresh pasta
  • Potatoes (including instant mash)
  • White bread
  • Oats

Low residue diet

A diet that is classed as low residue consists of foods that are low in fibre and roughage. The aim of a low residue diet is to reduce the frequency and volume of stools. It also reduces the irritation in an inflamed bowel and the risk of bowel blockages in patients with intestinal strictures (narrowing).

Please click here to access a leaflet which has helpful hints and tips for eating a low fibre or low residue diet

Symptoms associated with Stomas to be aware of

  • Increased watery output from stoma
  • Decrease in the amount of urine being passed
  • Very dark urine
  • Hangover like symptoms such as headache, dry mouth, increased thirst and dizziness

*You may experience any combination of the above symptoms*

What to do if any of the symptoms occur

If you experience any of the above symptoms it is important to rehydrate with a rehydration solution such as Dioralyte or Rehydrate powder dissolved in 1 litre of water and consumed within 24 hours.

Rehydration solutions are available from your local pharmacy

You may also use Isotonic drinks such as Lucozade sport (1 litre to be consumed within 24 hours) increase salt intake by having an extra teaspoon of salt in 24 hours. This can be achieved by adding more salt to food when cooking or putting more salt directly onto your food. You can also consume foods such as salted crisps, Ritz crackers. You could also increase your salt intake by eating  toast or bread with Marmite spread or drinking Bovril.

If your stomal loss is high your doctor may prescribe Loperamide (Imodium) or codeine phosphate tablets to help slow it down. If the capsules pass through the Stoma your doctor can prescribe the medication in form which melts in your mouth.

*If you are prescribed Codeine Phosphate or Loperamide it is essential that they are taken 30 minutes before your meal *


If you have any concerns or questions about your diet, stoma or care please contact the colorectal nurse specialist team - 01484 355062. Please note there may be an answer-machine facility. Please leave your name and contact details so a member of the team can call you back.