Ileostomy food tips for good output

Andy Fletcher
Andy Fletcher
All of us will at some point or another suffer somewhat. Following or tailoring these tips may hopefully help you enjoy your day better!

The output of an ileostomist can vary in viscosity – on a good day you may have an output similar to thin porridge, and on a bad day, it will be as runny as tap water, and twice as messy….

Having a watery output naturally comes with its own problems – dehydration, a feeling of lethargy, or a constant worrying over leaks; the list is endless. How do you prevent this?

What you eat and what you drink, how energetic you are, or how immobile you are all play an active part in deciding the thickness of your poo. Illness, however, plays the biggest part.

As I have had my Ileostomy for 11 years now, I feel well versed in trying to make my life a little better with a thicker output, so this month, I thought I would share my methods with you.

Over the years, I have found certain foods are better for me – for example, chicken is brilliant – soft, spreadable cheese however is a major contributor to ruining my day. 

Below is a list of foods that will make your output thin.

  • Raw Vegetables
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Alcohol
  • Fresh Fruits
  • Fried Foods

There are however some foods that can actually help thicken output.

  • Bananas
  • Boiled Rice
  • Marshmallows
  • Toast
  • Yoghurt
  • Tapioca
  • Peanut Butter
  • Apple Sauce
  • Cheese

As an ileostomist, we don’t have the same digestive tract that a normal person would, so the following foods can pass through your system pretty much undigested.

  • Celery
  • Popcorn
  • Chinese Vegetables
  • Coconut Skins
  • Raw Coconut
  • Coleslaw
  • Raisins (and other dried fruits)

If your output is watery thin, it is very important for you to drink plenty to help prevent dehydration – this is especially true in hot weather or when exercising – strangely for me, the hotter I am, the worse my output.

You could also try Loperamide to help thicken things, but as is it a drug, it’s not meant as a long term solution. I only use it in worse case scenarios, and then only realistically use it twice in any one week.

Another “all else fails” method is to use a powder or gel thickener inside the pouch – these work by thickening any liquid in the same manner that cornflower does to soup …. except better. I use these every day as a matter of course anyway, just to be on the safe side. Naturally though, you need to replenish every time you empty, and if you use too much, it’s possible that your output will become too thick to actually drain away.

All of us will at some point or another suffer somewhat. Following or tailoring these tips may hopefully help you enjoy your day better!