Expert guidance on living with a stoma whilst staying hydrated and maintaining a healthy diet

Food Irritant Solutions - Part 1

Food Irritant Solutions - Part 1

When the body has recently had surgery (most likely within the first 6-8 weeks) it can be extra sensitive, which can mean some symptoms occur when consuming certain food or drink products.

A sensitive gut or bladder is more likely to be irritated and this can mean food and fluid passing through the body quicker than normal; this can cause cramping, bloating, a more liquid stool, or a higher production of urine.

The below table highlights some of the irritants that are known to cause problems and suggests some alternatives.

In this part we are focusing on starchy carbohydrates, meat, dairy and fruit.


Possible Irritants

Food groups

Foods to avoid or reduce

(higher fibre / irritant)

Foods to include

(lower fibre / irritant)

Starchy carbohydrate-containing foods/ingredients

(includes bread, potatoes, cereals etc.)

Wholemeal, granary or bread and rolls that contain nuts, seeds and dried fruit chunks. This is the same for bread-like products like chapati, naan etc.

Wholegrain/brown, wild or under cooked rice.

Bulgar wheat, couscous, buckwheat and similar grains.

Potato, yam, cassava and taro that aren’t peeled or soft.

Weetabix®, Shredded Wheat®, oat- or wheat-bran type cereals (e.g. Bran Flakes), porridge, muesli, granola and other higher fibre cereals.

Crackers that have nuts, seeds and dried fruit chunks e.g. ‘Ryvita fruit crunch®’.

White or ‘best of both’ type breads or rolls. This is the same for bread-like products like chapati, naan etc. Tacos, tortillas.

White rice, pasta, polenta and noodles.

Potatoes (white and sweet), without the skin. Yam, cassava and taro well-cooked without the skins.

Non-fibrous cereals that do not contain nuts, seeds or fried fruit e.g. Rice Krispies®, Cocopops®, corn and frosted flake type cereals.

Crackers without nuts, seeds or dried fruit chunks e.g. Digestives, cheese-flavoured crackers or ‘Original Ryvita®’.

Meat, Poultry, Fish and Vegetarian Protein foods Steak, gristle-containing, tough or very dry meat, poultry or fish, skins e.g. chicken or fish skin, bones, pulses and lentils (includes chickpeas and beans) and houmous/hummus.

Well-cooked, non-dry and skinless meat, poultry or fish e.g. pork-chop, chicken or fish fillet, mince. Eggs (in any form) e.g. boiled or scotch-eggs.

Tinned fish where the bones are easily chewable.

Tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, mycoprotein e.g. Quorn.

Battered, pastry-covered or bread-crumbed meats, poultry, fish and other protein sources.

TIP: Serve with a sauce or gravy to add moisture and aid chewing.

Dairy and its alternatives Yoghurt or cheeses with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and granola-like cereals.

Yoghurts or cheeses without nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Yoghurts with fruit pulp e.g. Muller® fruit corner.

All types of milk, including cows and other animals as well as plant based milks e.g. soya or almond.


Dried fruit e.g. raisins, sultanas, dried figs etc.

Fruit with skin or that is stringy and fibrous e.g. non-peeled apples, oranges with lots of pith (white stringy bits), rhubarb, pineapple, figs, dates and coconut.

Under-ripe fruit e.g. green bananas, green mangos.

Fruit with pips or seeds e.g. berries like raspberries and blackberries.

Peeled fruits e.g. apples, grapes, peaches, plums etc. Oranges and similar fruits without the pith (white stringy bits), berries e.g. strawberries, bananas, melon and other soft fruits. Tinned, puree or cooked fruit (without skin, pips or stones).

TIP: Tinned or jelly fruit pots e.g. fruit cocktail are easy dessert or snack choices.

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