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Halloween and sugar – should ostomates be afraid?

30th October 2018

As all ostomates will know, diet can be the most difficult thing about having a stoma. It’s important to know how certain foods and drinks affect your body and your stoma. Of course, Halloween is one such time of year when sugar seems to become one of the main food groups. For parents who have children with a stoma, it can be difficult to know whether you should allow them to indulge along with other kids, which is something we’ll aim to discuss in this post.

There’s no getting around it, regardless of whether someone has a stoma, sugar is associated with a number of negative health issues, including obesity, tooth decay and a weakened immune system. Health guidance would suggest that parents of all children should be careful and monitor the amount of sugar they allow their child to consume. But what about issues that are limited to those with a stoma?

Well, for an ostomate, excessive sugar consumption can lead to bloating, constipation or irregular bowel movements. Excessive sugar can start to affect the digestion cycle and result in the person feeling rather sick. Some sugary treats have other effects too, for example, jelly sweets can cause a thickening of the stool.

Our advice would be that, much like any child, the answer is in moderation. In restricted amounts, salts and sugars can actually be beneficial for someone with a stoma to help replace minerals lost via the stoma output. There’s no reason that your child shouldn’t be able to enjoy trick or treating this Halloween, or if you have the stoma, to enjoy some sweets yourself!

A couple of popular ideas for avoiding overindulgence include:

  1. Ration the sweets that have been collected by trick or treating and implement a strict 1-2 treats a day limit. Not only will this avoid excess sugar, but it also helps to spread the fun of Halloween over a longer time period!
  2. Many parents who have children with dietary restrictions will drop non-sugary treats at neighbours houses and ask them to give those to their child instead. Healthy snacks or small toys might be an idea if you’re concerned but don’t want your child to miss out on the fun.

We hope you find this advice useful – Happy Halloween everyone, we hope it’s ghoulishly good!

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