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Alcohol and Stomas Advice – Is it okay to drink alcohol with a stoma?

31st October 2017

If you’re new to having a stoma, or maybe waiting for surgery, you might well wonder whether it’s okay to drink alcohol still. It’s a very valid question and the good news is that unless told otherwise by your healthcare professional you can still enjoy an occasional drink, although you may have to modify the way you do so!

Here are some things to consider:

Be prepared

It’s important to get properly prepared when you know you will be having an alcoholic drink. Firstly, make sure you have eaten as it’s not recommended to do so on an empty stomach. You may want to modify your diet a day beforehand too if you know a certain type of food has a negative effect too.

Make sure you have the right equipment to hand should you need, especially if you’re out or at a friends house. Those with a urostomy may need to bear in mind that there will often be an increased output of urine whilst drinking and plan accordingly.

Hydration is key, dehydration is the enemy

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes the production of urine, informally known as ‘breaking the seal’. Of course, the effect of this is that you can become dehydrated quickly whilst drinking. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water in between or with each alcoholic drink.

Added bonus: Staying hydrated can also lessen the effects of any potential hangover, which is a win in itself really!

Beware certain drinks

Ostomists often remark on how their tastes in alcohol changed after surgery. You might want to be careful drinking gassy (carbonated) or yeasty drinks as these can often lead to your stoma bag ballooning. However, everyone’s different and most people can enjoy one or two before this occurs.

You may find that some drinks affect you differently, but with a little trial and error, you will hopefully find a solution that suits you. Just be careful whilst you’re unsure and as everyone should exercise some moderation.

Maintain some coordination

We keep mentioning moderation, and it’s not just because it can lead to being dehydrated and feeling ill (although, that too). Drinking alcohol can often lead to loss in coordination and function, especially tricky if you need to change your ostomy bag whilst intoxicated.

So, there you have it, the good news is that you can still enjoy a sociable drink with friends post stoma operation! Just be careful and follow the advice in this post and you should be fine.

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