Diet and Exercise

Learn to understand what foods are best for your stoma and enjoyable to eat.


Everyone reacts differently to certain foods, regardless of whether or not they have a stoma. For you, the best option is to have a varied diet where all food groups are eaten in moderation to aid recovery and good health. Following your surgery you will probably discover which foods may cause an upset or ‘windy’ stoma and when to avoid eating them.

Food management after surgery

After surgery, it is important to resume a healthy diet to promote healing and regain any weight that you may have lost. However, while recovering, you may not have a great appetite so the following tips may help:

Eat small, frequent meals (5-6 daily)

Chew food thoroughly to aid digestion

Reintroduce your favourite foods slowly

Meat and dairy products are rich in protein so are recommended for healing

Daily food management

After your initial recovery period you may have regained your appetite and be ready to eat a varied diet. These tips are good to keep in mind:

Eat 3-4 meals daily, at regular intervals

Eat a varied diet, spread across all food groups

Drink plenty of fluids. It is advisable to drink around 2 litres of fluid a day to keep hydrated

Try to avoid eating late at night as this can make your pouch fill up quickly and interrupt your sleep to empty it

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Following surgery the thought of exercise may be the last thing on your mind, however, exercise can aid recovery and help you feel better, quicker. It is important to start off slowly. Walking is an excellent gentle exercise that you can do daily with friends, family or alone. Gradually increase the distance and pace as you get stronger and fitter. Brisk walking is a great way to stay fit.

Abdominal support garments can give extra support to your muscle wall during exercise. These support garments reduce the risk of causing injury and a hernia developing. For lighter support try a Pelican Support Waistband. If you require a firmer support, take a look at Eakin Support Belts. HiLine also provide support wear garments and belts. Make sure you stay hydrated before, during and after exercise.

Always speak to your GP or stoma care nurse before you start more strenuous sporting activities. It is recommended that support garments are worn for the first three months following surgery.

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