If you have a question or would like to suggest a question for us to include in our next update, please contact us via e-mail at or call the office at (301) 946-6661.
What foods can I eat?
Just like before your ostomy surgery, it is important to eat a well balance diet. You may find some foods cause your stoma output to be more liquid or runny, increase the amount of gas produced by your body, or even cause you pain. If these foods present you with a problem, simply do not eat them.
Having an ostomy does not alter your ability to digest and absorb food and nutrients. There is however, a risk of blockages at the opening of your stoma caused primarily by a narrowing of the bowel as it passes through the abdominal muscle wall. Foods that contribute to blockages differ by individual, but can often be attributed to stringy and overly fibrous foods.
Add high fiber foods into your diet slowly and cautiously until you know how they will affect you individually, and as always, chew your food well. This is truly the best advice to avoid most blockages.
With an Ileostomy, how much water or other fluids should I drink daily?
An Ileostomy is unique from Colostomy's and Urostomy's in that you have typically have no large intestine. The primary function of the large intestine (colon) is to absorb fluid. To make up for that loss of absorption, it is very important for you to drink at least 80 ounces of fluid a day. This may include drinks such as juice, water, tea and other fluids. Sports drinks like Gatorade are high in potassium and sodium and are particularly helpful in hot weather or if your stoma output is very watery. If you find that your are fatigued, light-headed, dizzy, have muscle cramps or very high output this could be a sign you are dehydrated. Try adding in Pedialyte, Nuun tablets or DripDrop to increase the amount of electrolytes you are drinking. Depending on the severity of your symptoms you may need to go to a local ER to get IV fluids.
How often should I change my appliance?
This is a very individual answer and one that is certainly not the same for everyone. The one certainty is that there truly is NO absolute. You should expect a predictable, sustained wear time from your appliance of choice. Somewhere between 3-5 days, sometimes more towards the 3 others more towards 5 or 6. As others may have told you, every person's skin and acceptance to different appliances is different.
If you are having trouble with skin rashes or breakdown, having trouble getting your appliance to stay in place, or trouble finding the right appliance system for you, please take the time to contact your local WOCN (Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse), formerly know to many as an ET Nurse.
If hospitalized, should I take my own appliance?
In a word, YES
There are 3 major manufacturers of ostomy supplies (ConvaTec, Coloplast, and Hollister) and each are as unique as each of us. What works for you, may not work so well for the others. It is for this reason, that we strongly encourage you to always take your own supplies and appliances with you.
Can I drive and wear a seat belt safely?
YES, you can drive and should wear your seatbelt at all times. If the seatbelt crosses your stoma a small soft cushion over your stoma will provide some protection from the seatbelt.