Dealing with Gas and Constipation After Colostomy Surgery

People with a colostomy often have issues with gas and constipation. Fortunately, there are diet and lifestyle change that can help. Discover practical tips here.

Dealing with Gas and Constipation after Colostomy Surgery

Learn how to deal with gas and constipation after colostomy surgery.

Gas and constipation are two common issues that you may experience after your colostomy surgery. Of course, diet has a big impact on both.

Dealing with gas

As your bowel recovers after surgery and begins to function again, you will notice gas in your pouch. The amount can vary. If you experienced excessive gas before your surgery, you will likely have it after your surgery.

Gas can be caused by the foods you eat. It can also be the result of swallowing air. Drinking carbonated beverages, smoking, chewing gum, and chewing with your mouth open can all increase the amount of air you swallow.

If you are concerned about gas, you can use a pouch with a filter. The filter lets gas out of the pouch, but keep odors at bay. It also minimizes gas from building up, so the pouch does not balloon. Filters work best with a more formed discharge, but can be used with other output consistencies.

Below is a list of foods you may want to avoid, since they can increase gas:

  • Beans
  • Beer
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumber
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Dealing with constipation

Constipation may also occur when you have a colostomy (you may have also experienced this before surgery). Certain medications may cause this issue, such as some pain relievers and antacids. Other reasons for constipation include a diet lacking in fiber and inadequate fluid intake. Sometimes simply increasing your fluids, taking a mild laxative, or increasing your fiber consumption will fix the problem.

Additional causes of constipation include eating foods low in fiber, such as many meats, dairy products, refined sugars, and processed or fast foods. It’s also a good idea to avoid foods known to thicken stool, such as:

  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Cheese
  • Cooked noodles
  • Pretzels
  • White rice
  • White toast
  • Marshmallows

Foods that help naturally with constipation include bran, fresh vegetables, fruits (fresh and dried) and whole grains.

If diet changes don’t work

If you’ve made changes to your diet and lifestyle and constipation or severe gas still persist, consult your healthcare professional for guidance.