Welcome back to our two-part series on caring for your child’s stoma. In part one, we discussed what a stoma is and how it is created and then took a look at the care and management of a healing stoma site. In part two, we are going to discuss how different foods might affect your child’s stoma, how to manage day to day activities, and how to reduce complications.

At Alaska Pediatric Surgery, Doctors Roaten, Proctor, McAteer, and their surgical team have been caring for the children of Alaska and their stomas for decades. If your child requires a stoma creation or management, you can trust the team at Alaska Pediatric Surgery.

How Diet Affects Your Child’s Ostomy

Because of the location of an ostomy in the digestive system, children with ostomies become more easily dehydrated. It is important to ensure your child is staying hydrated and eats well. The foods and beverages that your child consumes will have an effect on the ostomy and its output. Here are some helpful tips on selecting optimal foods.

Foods to Limit Gas and Odor

  • Yogurt
  • Cranberry juice
  • Parsley

Foods that Increase Gas and Odor

  • Beans and peas
  • Cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and asparagus
  • Garlic and onion
  • Pickled goods
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Spicy foods
  • Fatty foods

Foods that Cause Loose Stool

  • Apple and grape juice
  • Spicy food
  • Beans
  • Raw fruit
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Chocolate
  • Dairy
  • Fried food

Foods that Thicken Stools

  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Cheese
  • Rice
  • Toast
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Peanut butter
  • Crackers
  • Tea

Foods that May Affect Stool Color

  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Kool-aid
  • Foods colored with food coloring
  • Iron pills
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Jell-O
  • Tomato sauce or soup
  • Licorice

Foods that May Block a Stoma

These foods should be limited to avoid complications or be eaten in small amounts and chewed well.

  • Raw fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Dried fruits
  • Fatty or greasy foods
  • Popcorn
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Corn

Day to Day Activities and Your Child’s Stoma

For the most part, once healed, your child can resume normal activities. There are few limitations or special considerations. While healing, your child should avoid abdominal exercise or heavy lifting, but once healed, they may resume normal abdominal activity. If you have a young child, you may need to protect the site to avoid them picking at the ostomy pouch — one-piece outfits help. Avoid tight clothing on top of the pouch or belts and waistbands that will continually rub or irritate the area. Avoid letting a seatbelt sit directly on top of the ostomy. Although your child can run and play as normal, they should avoid rough horseplay or contact sports that may dislodge the pouch. Your child can swim and bathe as normal, simply leave the pouch on and ensure it is sealed. It is a good idea to always carry extra supplies, just in case. For specific care or limitations, your pediatric surgeon should give you specific care plans.

Stoma Complications

Once the stoma is healed, it should not cause many problems. However, there are some things to be aware of and address right away. For irritation around the stoma, ensure that you are keeping the area clean and dry and changing the pouch regularly. If your child has a skin sensitivity, use skin-Prep before applying adhesive to the skin. Some common stoma complications may include:

Retraction

The stoma will be lower than the surface of the skin, or appear to be inside the belly. This is not normal and should be addressed with your pediatric surgeon.

Prolapse

With a stoma prolapse, the stoma may appear to be longer or protrude out of the belly more than normal. If this happens, don’t try to push it back in, but call your pediatric surgeon to have it assessed.

Bleeding

A small amount of blood may be normal if the stoma site was bumped or scraped. However, if the stoma site bleeds without trauma or there is blood in the stool, you should have your child assessed immediately.

Obstruction

If you notice that there is very little or no stool in the pouch that is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and/or abdominal pain that doesn’t go away, it is important to have your child assessed for an obstruction.

Infection

If you notice bright redness, warmth, swelling, fever or discharge (other than stool) coming from the stoma, this is an indication of infection and you should contact your pediatrician.

At Alaska Pediatric Surgery, we don’t want you to wait until there is an emergency to contact us. For all of your child’s stoma questions or concerns, contact a member of our caring pediatric surgical team today.