Post Hospital Care
The terms colectomy and colostomy often go hand-in-hand. The term colectomy refers to the removal of all or part of the colon or large intestine. The colon is a long, tube-like organ at the end of the digestive tract. Removal of part of it is often needed to treat or prevent conditions that affect the colon. The term colostomy refers to the procedure that connects the remaining part of the colon or small intestine to an opening in the abdomen. Through that opening, waste leaves the body and is usually collected in a bag.
If your loved one has had this surgery and is now home, part of his post-hospital care will be making sure his diet aids in his healing and is easily processed through his colon. It can be a big change for many, but with time, much of his diet will be able to return to the same as before, with perhaps some changes as he learns how certain foods affect him. Having patience during this time is crucial, as well as having the support of post-hospital care to make the transition easier.
Let’s look at what foods your loved one should limit after having a colostomy. Always work closely with your loved one’s physician for all guidance for care after a colostomy.
- Fried food and foods that are high in fat. This might mean no fast food restaurant trips in the near future as most of the foods served there are too fatty.
- Dairy products such as milk and cheese and especially ice cream because it’s not only dairy but also high in fat. Frozen sorbet can be an option.
- Uncooked vegetables
- Unpeeled fruit (the interior of the fruit is fine)
- Very high-fiber food such as wheat bran cereals and bread
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Corn and popcorn
- Brown and wild rice
- Nuts and seeds
- Cakes, pies, cookies, and other sweets
Some foods can be beneficial to someone who has had a colectomy because they help thicken the stool and cause less odor, something that can be quite unpleasant when having to deal with a colostomy bag every day.
Some great after-surgery food choices for your loved one include:
- Applesauce (unsweetened is best)
- Yogurt (with live and active cultures)
- Cranberry juice
- Well-cooked, sticky white rice
- White toast without a lot of butter
While your loved one will soon be able to eat most foods, these are the best ones to start out with and have his post-hospital care provider serve after he comes home from the hospital.
Another important new habit to learn for your loved one may be chewing his food thoroughly. The goal is to chew the food until it becomes a liquid in his mouth to help with digestion and managing his colostomy. Once the colon has healed, your loved one will be able to eat more of the foods he normally eats.