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The nutritional needs of people living with a stoma

24 November 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 21

A stoma is surgically formed to divert the normal flow of faeces (colostomy and ileostomy) or urine (urostomy or ileal conduit) into a stoma appliance. A concern of patients following the formation of their stoma is what they can eat and drink. Unfortunately, there is limited evidence (Mitchell et al, 2020) to guide this advice, most of which is anecdotal. It is important to consider the reason that the stoma was formed, as well as the type of stoma formation when considering diet.

When stomas are formed for cancer, for example, there may be pre-operative weight loss or in an emergency there may be cachexia. Weight loss may also occur pre-operatively for people with inflammatory bowel disease, due to the frequent toileting when their disease was in flair. For people with Crohn's disease, there might be long-term issues with absorption of nutrients, whereas for people with diverticular disease there might be the need to address constipation.

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