8. Healthy Eating

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The patient will be able to state measures to take to maintain healthy eating habits.


Following pelvic pouch surgery there will be a period of adaptation that may take up to one year. The pouch storage capacity will increase and the number of bowel movements per day will decrease. Stool consistency will thicken over time. Diet and medication can help to improve pouch function. It will be important for patients to resume normal, healthy dietary patterns over time.

General dietary tips:

  • Develop regular eating patterns that allow the pouch to adapt and function in an appropriate manner.
  • Smaller meals may be better tolerated, but in this case it is important to eat more often to ensure an adequate intake.
  • Eat meals in a relaxed environment. Foods should be chewed slowly and thoroughly.
  • Drink plenty of fluids each day (i.e. more than eight cups of liquid per day).
  • Gradually add "potential" problem foods to the diet to see how food is tolerated.
  • Foods that cause a problem should be temporarily eliminated, and then reintroduced at a later date.
  • Strive for a balanced diet. Choose food from all food groups.
  • Include foods and fluids high in potassium and salt during periods of stool looseness and frequency.


Foods or beverages that may cause stool to become loose or to increase pouch output:

  • apple juice
  • prune juice
  • spinach
  • highly spiced foods
  • raw fruit and vegetables
  • baked beans
  • green beans
  • cabbage
  • broccoli
  • caffeinated beverages
  • red wine
  • beer
  • milk
  • chocolate


Foods that thicken stool or decrease pouch output:

  • white rice
  • pasta
  • bread
  • bananas
  • applesauce
  • buttermilk
  • cheese
  • marshmallows
  • toast
  • tapioca pudding
  • potatoes
  • creamy peanut butter
  • yogurt


Foods that may contribute to anal irritation:

  • popcorn
  • nuts
  • coconut
  • certain raw fruits and vegetables
    (eg. oranges, apples, coleslaw, celery and corn)
  • Chinese/oriental vegetables
  • dried fruits (eg. raisins, figs)
  • foods with seeds
  • spicy foods
  • citrus juices

Keep in mind that everyone's response following the pelvic pouch surgery is unique. What may upset or create problems for one individual may be well tolerated by another. Tolerances may change with time, so periodically patients should be encouraged to try small quantities of any foods currently being avoided.

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