14 December, 2018
The tree is up, the presents wrapped and I’m ready to track Santa on Christmas Eve – oddly the kids, at 21 and 15 aren’t as keen on that bit but I’m not going to let them stop me! I’m also not going to let my colostomy stop me from enjoying the festivities, although as ostomates there are a few things it’s worth considering over the next few weeks to be prepared for Christmas.
Make sure you have plenty of stoma supplies to last you over the holidays. Most delivery companies will only be closed for a few days but may have a cut off date a few weeks before for deliveries before Christmas.
When it comes to food with a colostomy the rule is that there are no hard and fast rules, we are all different and will react differently. But many of us, me included, do tend to over indulge over Christmas, and as they say, what goes in has to come out! As I mentioned, there are no foods that will upset everyone, but certain foods may affect output more than others. These are probably the same foods that affected you pre stoma but you will be more aware of it now. The following MAY effect your output:
Mince pies/Christmas pudding/Christmas cake – anything with lots of dried fruit may cause wind and increase output.
Sprouts – Stoma or no Stoma, sprouts and other brassicas are well known for producing excess (and smelly) wind. At least you will be charcoal filtered – I know some of my family who could do with a filter too!
Stuffing / Onions – these may also cause extra wind
Nuts / satsumas, oranges – many ostomates eat nuts and oranges with no issue at all but for others they may lead to a blockage.
Alcohol – some people find certain types of alcohol can make them more windy (especially if fizzy) or their output loose. I know I have to avoid red wine as it speeds through me in no time!
Chocolate – this can have a laxative effect if eaten in large quantites. I am very pleased to say that I can eat bucket loads with no effect! Phew!
This list isn’t exhaustive and if you are trying a food for the first time post op it’s always a good idea to try a small amount at first and see how you get on with it. And chew chew chew!
Further information on food can be found in our in our Healthy Eating Booklet and if you feel unwell or are worried you may have a blockage over the holidays please seek medical advice.
I have already mentioned alcohol in the list above but also remember to keep non alcoholic fluids up too! It’s easy to get out of the habit of drinking when your routine changes and dehydration can cause output from a colostomy to slow down and thicken up. This could result in issues like pancaking and lead to leaks. For ileostomates and urostomates dehydration may be noticebale more quickly and lead to more serious problems so it important for all ostomates to drink plenty of fluids regularly throughout the day. This can be juice, squash, coffee tea etc.
If you are going away over Christmas, firstly can you please squeeze me into your suitcase? Almost as important as taking me with you is to ensure you have enough stoma supplies. We recommend you take double the amount you would usually use over that period of time, and if you use closed bags it’s an idea to pop some drainables in too as they are much easier in the case of an upset stomach. If you are travelling abroad you may want to take a Colostomy UK travel certificate too, which explains in different languages that you have a stoma.
The support we offer at Colostomy UK does not stop for Christmas. The office will be closed for a few days and our amazing team will have a well earned rest. But the Helpline and Facebook group will be open for business as usual so if you have a worry, big or small we are always there to help.
Everyone here at Colostomy UK, wishes you the very best over this festive season as we enter into 2019.
Sarah Squire, Trustee, Colostomate and Volunteer