Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

General Instructions for the Post-operative Ostomy Client

General instructions for the post-operative ostomy client:

  • Chew food thoroughly.
  • Poor fitting dentures or missing teeth may require diet modification to eliminate some foods that, if not chewed well, may lead to potential blockage.
  • In the initial post-operative phase, peristalsis may be increased, causing food to show up undigested in the ostomy bag. The client should be reassured that, in time, transit time will reduce, and with proper chewing, food should partially, if not fully, be broken down.
  • Avoid consuming too much of one food, especially if it is a food that may cause an obstruction.
  • After 6–8 weeks, most clients can return to a normal diet. However, it is advisable to consume 4–6 smaller meals per day rather than 2–3 large meals, to allow the digestive tract to better digest and absorb. This would be especially true for those with an ileostomy. Clients would be advised to decrease the evening meal if sleep is interrupted due to a full appliance bag in the middle of the night, or reduce fluid intake a few hours before sleep in the case of a urostomy.
  •    Avoid using straws, carbonated beverages or skipping meals as this may cause excess gas in the      pouch.
Chronic Disease
Ostomy Care and Management
Client and Family Education