For the first month or so after ileostomy, a diet low in roughage is best, giving the intestine time to heal. Roughage is present in raw produce and whole grains. After that first month, a normal diet is customary, but a regular meal schedule is beneficial, according to Mayo Clinic.
Food with roughage is generally considered positive for health, as fiber absorbs fat and cholesterol in the intestines and shuttles it out of the system in the stool. However, the intestines are still tender after the surgery, so the first month after the surgery is not a time to load up on that type of fiber. After the first month, when a normal diet is permitted, it is still helpful to eat at regular times. Avoid overeating or skipping meals so that the intestine has a regular workload. Over time, identifying foods that cause constipation or a more liquefying effect on stool helps the patient make further dietary modifications. Hydration in the form of 64 ounces of water or diluted electrolyte beverages is vital to maintain proper intestine function after an ileostomy, as stated by Mayo Clinic.
During an ileostomy, the surgeon connects some of the small intestine to the abdominal wall as a temporary solution when a blockage or other condition prevents food from reaching the bowel and exiting normally. This temporarily allows stool to exit the body. After the interfering condition is resolved, the doctor sews back the remaining portions of the intestine. Dietary changes after surgery are designed to expedite the healing process, notes Mayo Clinic.