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Dietitian Q/A

Because of the contents of some questions and the large number we receive, the MUSC Dietitians only answer selected questions. Although we discourage questions regarding personal health problems, scheduling an appointment with the outpatient dietitian to address these concerns is encouraged. Appointments can be made after a physician referral is received.

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 Question:  My husband has been a patient at MUSC and the VA hospital in Charleston this past year. He had rectal cancer and had a colostomy done at the VA hospital. Recently his colostomy was revised and an ileostomy was done in place of the original colostomy (because of some prolapse problems he had w/ the colostomy after chemo/radiation treatments). Since having the ileostomy, I've noticed my husband has a LOT more gas production, which is causing loosening and premature bag failures for us. I do not feed him any known gas producers (like beans, cabbage, cauliflower, or broccolit). I've tried "Beano" before meals, which hasn't helped much. Recently I've tried Gas X, but haven't been on that long enough to evaluate progress. Are there any other dietary suggestions of things to avoid in his diet that might be helpful to us??? We can't even get an 8 hour period for sleep at night w/o having to get up and "deflate" his bag. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Excessive gas is a common complaint with any type of ostomy. Typically, in the first few weeks after surgery it will be the worst. As the bowels become less swollen this should improve.


However, the gas is still likely to occur. Continue to limit gas forming foods: asparagus, cucumbers, broccoli, cabbage, onions, dried beans, fish, eggs, nuts, beer, and milk products (except ones with live cultures), and fish. Beano will help with these foods and with an ileostomy it is best to chew the Beano to improve its effectiveness. Foods that contain live, active cultures (yogurt, buttermilk, kefir) may also help reduce gas formation.


Other things that may help:
1)      Eat small frequent meals (4-6 daily) rather than 3 large meals
2)      Don’t chew gum
3)      Don’t smoke
4)      Don’t drink through a straw
5)      Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly
6)      Avoid carbonated beverages

Answered: 01/15/2012

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