Ileostomy Diet

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Ileostomy Diet

        When you suffer from a disease of the digestive tract, dieting should be a common thing for you. However, an ileostomy diet is somewhat different than other types of diets out there for two very specific reasons: first, not every patient who suffers from a digestive problem has undergone an ileostomy surgery and second, the ileostomy diet takes into account the special nature of the digestive process of the affected persons. All of this might sound a bit odd, but if you actually know what an ileostomy is and what it is used for, you will understand the precautions taken when designing a diet for something like that.

       Basically, an ileostomy is a medical procedure designed to separate the smaller intestine from the larger intestine. The reason behind this type of surgery is not really obvious: when a person suffers from colon or anus cancer or some sort of serious digestive problem, the physicians need to find a way to stop the disease from spreading to the entire body. Often, the way they choose is the ileostomy surgery. The technicalities of the operation are better left to be explained by your attending physician, but the main steps are the following: the surgeon will cut open your abdomen and look for the permanently damaged part of your intestine. He or she will, then, remove it carefully. The remaining part of the intestine (usually the smaller intestine) will be connected to the lateral abdominal wall. Where that part of your intestines touches the wall, a sort of hole is created, which is called a stoma (from the Greek word that means "mouth"). On top of this hole, practically protecting it from the outside world, a pouch will be installed. This pouch has one other purpose, except the one mentioned above: it is the place where all the wastes that your body produces are deposited.

       Therefore, to keep both the pouch and yourself in good shape and functioning for a long time, you must follow completely the ileostomy diet that your physician recommends you. Of course, these ileostomy diets are created specifically by a medical doctor for a particular patient, taking into consideration whatever other illnesses that person might have, but there are some general rules that you can obey and be sure that you are doing nothing wrong. One thing that most people do not understand is that a diet does not imply only a complete change in the food you eat, but also in lifestyle. Ileostomy patients need to keep in shape, to exercise almost every day and to never skip one physiotherapy session. Also, when you notice yourself getting depressed, it is best to seek guidance from a specialist.

       The most common tips and tricks about an ileostomy diet are the following ones:

  • You should avoid high fiber foods: usually, these types of foods can block the stoma and that is not something you want to happen.
  • You should avoid foods that are hard to digest: they can cause loose stools, severe pain, blood in the stoma and excess gas.
  • Foods to avoid due to their ability to block the stoma: popcorn, fruit and vegetable skins, nuts, corn and dried fruit. While it is true that chewing food properly and thoroughly will reduce the danger of blocking the stoma, not everyone is that patient or that lucky. It is best to just eliminate them from your ileostomy diet. Seeds, coconut, salads and raw vegetables are also bad.
  • You should not eat whole grain cereals: try to eat only pastas, refined breads and cereals. The whole grain cereals contain too many fibers and they can easily block your stoma.
  • Drink water: you have to keep hydrated permanently to help the digestive process to run smoothly.