Ileostomy Don’ts

  • Don’t fast.   Fasting can lead to serious electrolyte imbalances, even when adequate fluid intake is maintained.
  • Don’t limit fluid intake.  Ileostomates are always slightly dehydrated due to the constant outflow of fluids, so maintaining fluid intake at all times is a must. You need to drink at least two quarts of fluids a day.
  • Don’t eliminate salt from your diet.  Since salt is also lost with the fluid outflow, even those with high blood pressure should not eliminate salt altogether. Be careful adding excessive salt to your diet. The normal American diet is already loaded with more than enough salt for your needs. Consult your physician for your recommended salt intake when other physical problems are a consideration.
  • Don’t put things into your stoma.  Do not allow anything to be put into your stoma without your own doctor’s personal supervision. Less familiar doctors have sometimes given incorrect routine orders in hospitals for enemas, etc. Question any procedure that intrudes upon the stoma, including suppositories. Do know how to irrigate your stoma in case of a blockage.
  • Don’t take any medication unless you know it will dissolve quickly and be fully absorbed.  Before filling new prescriptions, be sure to ask your pharmacist whether it will dissolve in the stomach quickly. Coated and time-released medications will not be absorbed and will pass through without benefit. If in doubt, purchase only six pills, and try them before getting the rest of the prescription. Women should be especially alert when taking birth control or estrogen replacement medications.
  • Don’t take any vitamin B-12 product for granted.  Have your doctor check your B12 level whenever you have a blood test taken. Some ileostomates with some of the small intestine missing may require B12 injections when they do not absorb enough of this vitamin.