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Stoma Surgery Recovery Diet

Ask the Nutritionist

Q: My wife had a stoma operation and lost her appetite. How can I get her to eat?

A: Please keep in mind that each individual responds to surgery and the recovery process differently. It will be through trial and error that you develop a diet approach that works best for you. In the weeks and months that follow, it will be important to reintroduce new foods slowly and monitor for intolerance.

During the first 6 – 8 weeks, this will include low fiber, low residue, low fat, and low sugar foods. All of these initial restrictions are to prevent high stool output and ensure maximal nutrient absorption. Adequate nutrition will expedite the healing and maintain your energy level, so eating regularly is important.

Some tips that might help include:

  • View food as therapy for healing and a source of energy.
  • Set a schedule for eating throughout the day.
  • Small, frequent meals may be better tolerated. Aim for 5-6 mini meals per day.

Examples of foods to include:

  • Unsweetened Applesauce
  • Pasta
  • Toast
  • Cooked fruits and vegetables
  • Low fat yogurt
  • Baked fish or chicken

Adequate hydration is also extremely important. Try to drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of non-caffeinated, unsweetened beverages every day.

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  • Ask the Nutritionist

    • Do you have questions about making healthy food choices during and after cancer treatment? Our team of nutrition experts can help. Submit your question through our Ask the Nutritionist form.
    • To create a customized plan, please schedule an appointment with a Dana-Farber nutritionist by calling 617-632-3006.
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