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Getting fit after ostomy surgery can feel invigorating. But don’t forget that your nutrition and fluid needs have changed. Explore these do’s and don’ts.
Once you recover from ostomy surgery and settle into a routine, you'll learn what kind of diet works best for you. What we eat is part of what makes us who we are, and having a stoma should not change that. When you exercise, there’s an added layer of nutrition that you need to think about.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep you healthy and active:
DO take precautions to avoid common issues. Nothing can put a crimp in your fitness plans more than diarrhoea, constipation and other common problems. If you have a colostomy or ileostomy, you can try whatever foods you like, but be cautious at first and chew thoroughly to avoid possible digestive problems. Pay attention to your body to learn which foods to eat and which to avoid.
DON’T assume your nutritional needs haven’t changed. All foods contain energy in the form of calories. Your physical activity and metabolic rate dictate how many calories you need. Early in your healing stages, you may require more calories in the form of proteins for good cell and muscle repair. A dietician can offer helpful recommendations as well.
DO keep an eye on your weight. A varied and nutritious diet, with appropriate portion sizes will help keep you healthy. Vitamin supplements also may help ensure optimum nutrition. Remember, fitness results from an ideal balance of diet and exercise.
DON’T ignore your increased fluid needs. If you have a stoma, particularly an ileostomy, you are more vulnerable to dehydration. Drink plenty of water, unless you have a fluid restriction. Exercising in hot climates can be particularly hazardous.
DO act quickly if you become dehydrated. If you need to re-hydrate your body, drinking water is always the best option. Sports drinks can help, as can special rehydrating solutions that are available from most pharmacies.. Use these fluids until you are passing clear or straw-coloured urine through the day.
View or print the full PDF booklet: Living with an Ostomy: Sports & Fitness.
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The information provided herein is not medical advice and is not intended to substitute for the advice of your personal physician or other healthcare provider. This information should not be used to seek help in a medical emergency. If you experience a medical emergency, seek medical treatment in person immediately.