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What if you get colostomy diarrhoea?

What is colostomy diarrhoea?

Colostomy diarrhoea is the frequent passage of watery waste from your colostomy. Sometimes but not always accompanied by tummy ache or cramps.

What can cause colostomy diarrhoea?

  • Food Poisoning.
  • A tummy bug.
  • Some medications.
  • Radiotherapy to the bowel.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Emotional upsets, stress, anxiety, shock.
  • Diet.

Hints and tips

  • Do not stop taking any prescribed medication without first discussing it with your doctor.
  • If symptoms persist, your doctor may require you to provide a stool specimen. He may also prescribe anti diarrhoeal medication and rehydration solution.
  • Try to find ways of managing stress and anxiety.
  • Keep a food diary to identify and eliminate foods that may not ‘agree’ with you.
  • You may find a drainable pouch more convenient until the bout of diarrhoea has ceased.

Food and drink

Certain foods and drinks may cause a bout of diarrhoea for some people, yet for others will have no ill effects at all. Some foods and drinks are recognised as ‘natural’ laxatives and can include:

  • Some green vegetables.
  • Oranges, figs, prunes.
  • Spices.
  • Beer, lager, prune fruit juice.
  • Some low calorie sweeteners.

Other foods and drinks can have the opposite effect, these include:

  • Under ripe bananas.
  • Smooth peanut butter.
  • Apple sauce made with cooked apples.
  • White rice.
  • Noodles and pasta (not wholemeal).
  • Natural or probiotic yogurt.
  • Arrowroot.
  • Buttermilk.
  • Marshmallows (about 30 a day).
  • Jelly babies (about 200g/8oz per day).
  • Pretzels.

If a bout of diarrhoea persists for 48 hours or more, seek advice from your doctor or stoma care nurse.

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