What is constipation?
Constipation causes your colostomy to work less frequently than usual, and your stoma output becomes drier and harder.
What can cause colostomy constipation?
- Medication, particularly pain relief containing morphine or codeine, antidepressants, iron supplements, calcium supplements, indigestion remedies and water tablets are amongst the most common culprits.
- Inadequate fluid intake or dehydration.
- Inadequate amounts of natural soluble fibre in your diet.
- Change of routine or eating pattern.
- Anxiety or stress.
- Lack of exercise.
Hints and tips
- Do not stop taking your prescribed medication.
- Increase your fluid intake, particularly water and pure fruit juice, especially during hot weather and after exercise.
- Increase your intake of natural soluble fibre such as fresh fruit, vegetables oats, wheat or cereal.
- Liquorice from health food shops, dark chocolate and root ginger are just a few suggestions that can benefit some people.
- Trial and error, try to find out what works for you.
- Take regular meals.
- Try to avoid stress, or develop ways of coping with stress and anxiety.
- Inactivity after illness or surgery can add to the problem of constipation.
- Do not take laxatives or herbal remedies without first seeking professional advice.
- Constipation should never be ignored, as it can be a contributory factor in the development of a parastomal hernia.
Sometimes very watery stools without any solid waste can be a symptom of constipation. If there is no output from your colostomy for 2-3 days or if you feel unwell, speak to your doctor or stoma care nurse.
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