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Christmas with an Ostomy

Christmas is just around the corner now, the holiday period will bring changes to your daily routine which can affect the function of your stoma.

Christmas with an Ostomy

We have created some simple tips on what to look out for to help you enjoy the Christmas festive season without causing too much disruption to your stoma.

Don’t forget that over the holiday period your home delivery service may operate reduced opening hours as will GP surgeries, Stoma Care Nurses, chemists and other suppliers. Ensure you have enough supplies to do you over the holiday period and that you order them in time before your supplier closes for the holidays.

Travelling over the Christmas period 
If you are going away on holiday over the Christmas period extra preparation will help make your holiday relaxing and problem-free. You should take extra supplies with you to ensure you have more than enough to do you if you experience any problems. You may wish to find out from your stoma nurse if they know of any professional assistance in the place that you are travelling to, just in case you need to contact someone when you are there.

As well as the family gatherings and exchanging gifts, food often plays a major role in our holiday season. We eat richer foods than usual and our food intake increases. Many people with ostomies can enjoy a normal diet, however food tolerances can vary from person to person. You should be able to enjoy most festive foods the best advice is to stick with what you know you can digest and don’t forget to chew. The list below is a general guide to help you avoid any diet problems over the festive period: 

1. Wind / flatulence (Colostomates & Ileostomates)

Excess wind can be problematic as it causes the pouch to ‘balloon’. Although most pouches contain filters to remove gas, you may want to try to avoid it in the first instance. The following are considered common foods for causing gas:

• broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, onions, garlic and brussel sprouts
• fish
• baked beans
• beer and other fizzy drinks
• chewing gum
• eggs
• spicy foods

Prevent wind by:

• Drinking peppermint tea.
• Eating yoghurt or drinking yoghurt drinks.
• Eating at regular intervals as advised.

2. Constipation 

Constipation may occur as a result of medication or not drinking enough fluids. If you are suffering from constipation it may be worthwhile to try the following:

• Eat more fruit and vegetables.
• Drink plenty of fluids - water is best.
• Drink fruit juice or prune juice.
• Increase the amount of wholegrain and/or bran in your diet.

3. Diarrhoea (Ileostomates & Colostomates)

Diarrhoea can be a sign that your body is having trouble digesting food. If this is the case, you should try to remove fibre from your diet and instead eat foods that thicken your stool.Foods that may lead to diarrhoea include: 
• spicy foods
• cabbage and other green vegetables
• fruit except bananas
• alcohol
• prunes or prune juice and citrus fruit juices

Foods that might help to solve this problem: 

• boiled milk
• very ripe bananas
• cheese
• rice / noodles / pasta
• yoghurt
• marshmallows
• jelly / jelly babies

4. Blockages (Ileostomates)

As the ileum is quite narrow, foods which are high in fibre can cause blockages after surgery. As a result your output will lessen or even stop, while you experience pain and nausea. If you chew your food well and drink lots of fluids this should help to avoid this risk.

Foods that may cause blockages inlcude:

• coconut
• celery
• popcorn
• dried fruits
• nuts
• coleslaw
• vegetable skins
• peas

Fore more dietary advice please download our Diet booklet, written especially for ostomates 

Please send us some of your favourite festive recipes, we will publish them all on our Facebook page!

You can still have an alcoholic drink, as long as it doesn’t interfere with any medication you are taking. It is advisable to speak to your stoma nurse if you have any concerns about this. However, it is best to avoid excessive amounts of alcohol as it can leave you dehydrated.

We hope this advice will help you have an enjoyable holiday season and enjoy it to the full.

Greetings from the Eakin team we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and healthy 2016!