The Sussex Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Support Group




Sue Field, Stoma Care Nurse at Conquest Hospital,St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex has written a letter outlining travel advice for Ileostomists. To see her letter in full, CLICK HERE.



Diet is an important part of our lives and eating a healthy balanced diet is something that we hear more about everyday.
I am a Colorectal/ Stoma Care nurse and have found that one of the main concerns my patients have on discharge are issues relating to their diet, this can often be due to what they should or shouldn’t eat, or whether, what they choose to eat, will affect the Ileostomy and management of it. 
I chose to write this piece, as I feel that it is an important to try to clarify some of the issues relating to diet and hopefully answer some questions that may occur for Ileostomists. 
It is often difficult to give dietary advice and although it is significant to have an understanding as an Ostomist, I have written this, only as a guideline. 
Diet is individual in terms of what may work for one person could possibly have a completely different effect on another.
As an ileostomist, there are very few hard and fast rules on what you can and can’t eat, although there are some foods that it is important to be cautious with, all in all the key is to ensure that a healthy balance is maintained in your diet.

Below are some key points to be aware of as an Ileostomist

-It is advisable and a government recommendation, that we should eat five fruit or vegetables per day, this rule is the same for Ileostomists.

-As an ileostomy is formed at the end of the small bowel there is no process for absorption of water or salt, as this is the job of the large bowel, therefore it is important that ileostomists ensure that they take sufficient intake of fluids and salt in their daily diet, to replenish any loss. The recommended fluid intake is 2 litres per day and Ileostomists should have no less than this.

-An Ileostomy output should be a porridge like consistency, although due to the faecaes coming from the small bowel it can often be very liquid, foods to help to thicken the output include Marshmallows, Jelly babies, Cheese, Pasta, Rice and creamy mash potato. 

-Foods that should be eaten with care are foods that don’t break down easily if they are not chewed well; these include Nuts, Sweetcorn and Mushrooms. As these foods don’t break down it is possible that they can swell up and cause a blockage within the small bowel.

-Other foods that may be avoided or eaten with caution are some fibrous foods, these foods may cause excess wind, for an Ostomist excess wind can cause ballooning in the bag, especially if the bag does not have a filter. Foods that may cause this include Beans, Peas, Onions and Pulses.

-Beer and Fizzy drinks can sometimes make the stoma more active and may also cause wind.

-Foods such as Onion, Fish and Baked beans may cause odour.

-It is important to be aware that there are some foods and medicines may change the colour of the output of the stoma, these include Beetroot (red), Anti-biotics (Green) and Iron tablets (Black).

We should remember that eating should be enjoyable but as an Ileostomist there may be some foods that will need to be avoided if planning on certain activities.
To ensure that you are aware of what food affects your Ileostomy, it is often a good idea to write a food diary, therefore enabling you to plan what foods may need to be avoided at certain times so that your Ileostomy does not affect your life socially.

Nicola Bristow 
Colorectal and Stoma Care Nurse.


If you have any concerns and would like to speak to someone, contact details for the Sussex ia committee or your local stoma nurses can be found via the menu on the left of this page.

You can also post a question at the Forum.