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After any bowel operation, you may notice that certain foods upset the normal working of your bowel (or your stoma, if you have one).
High-fibre foods, such as fruit and vegetables, may make your stools loose and make you pass them more often than normal. Depending on the type of surgery you’ve had, you may have diarrhoea|. Tell your doctor or nurse if this happens, as they can give you medicine to help.
It’s important to drink plenty of fluids if you have diarrhoea. This is often only temporary, and after a while you may find that the same foods don’t have any effect. There are no set rules about the types of food to avoid. Some foods that disagree with one person may be fine for another.
You may also find that your bowel produces more wind than before, and this can sometimes build up in the abdomen and cause pain. Drinking peppermint water or taking charcoal tablets can help reduce this. Your doctor can prescribe these for you, or you can get them from your chemist.
It can sometimes take months for your bowel movements to get back to normal after surgery, and you’ll probably need to find out which foods are right for you through trial and error. Some people may find that their bowel is always more active than before their surgery, and that they have to eat carefully to control their bowel movements.
If you continue to have problems, it’s important to talk to a dietitian at the hospital, as they can give you specialist advice for your individual situation.
You may find our information on eating problems and cancer| helpful.
Content last reviewed: 1 July 2012
Next planned review: 2014
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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