Fatty food

My husband has had a colostomy for 6 months. Initially he had trouble with a blockage, and spent another 2 months in hospital having that sorted out!! Since February it has worked quite well, and we have been trying different foods. Last Wednesday we were on holiday and had fish and chips for tea. On Thursday he felt poorly and began to be sick. By Friday I was really worried and thought this was another blockage. I rang the stoma nurse, who thought he should take a laxative, which he did. We had the results of that last night.

I am now beginning to wonder if it was the grease in the fish and chips that upset him, and not a blockage at all, in which case he didn't need a laxative!!! I think we are so hung up about a blockage that we think its always that. Has anyone been upset by fatty food, and did it resolve without a laxative?.  

  • I had a colostomy about fourteen months ago following a total blockage requiring emergency surgery.  So I too worry about it happening again.  I was told immediately afterwards that due its favourable location I could eat and drink anything.  So it has proved, I'm pleased to say.  Recently my stoma pace-of-output has been varying and I too was concerned about a blockage; though I haven't felt or been sick.  My stoma nurse is relaxed as after a day or so normal service is resumed.

    Clearly being sick is worrying and we shouldn't try to advise you about that in a forum - it's for the pro's.

    I agree with you that the problem may well have been the specific meal itself, but not necessarily the fat if other fatty food is acceptable.

    I do find carry-out fish and chips to be a meal I can no longer always finish as it gets cold, despite still having an excellent general appetite (my wife's unwanted and delightfully fatty second sausage from her 'full English' the other day went down well as a third one on mine.)

    Just some thoughts about your question though.  I wonder if it's a coincidence. Years ago when I was 'intact' I had an iffy green-lipped mussel.  Stomach cramps and sickness ensued until my body had sorted things; I can't remember what happened 'below' as I wasn't focussed on that orifice then in the way I am now. ;-) 

    Could the sickness have been from a dodgy piece of fish from an unfamiliar chippie while the stodgy nature of chips and  batter as they cool affected the rate of flow (which you don't mention but I guess must have been part of the cause for alarm and treatment)?  Alternatively pehaps the frying medium used, maybe modern, or lard if the place is traditional disagreed with him and the stodginees caused the slow-down?

  • Hi Bagpuss the Third,

    Thanks for your reply. Its the first time he has tried fish and chips from a chip shop since his operation. I wasn't impressed by them. The fish was obviously frozen, and I left the middle bit of mine as it could have been cooked more. If its fresh fish it falls apart, and this didn't. I had read on a past forum that fish and chips had made the person pass hard pellets, and he needed a fish hook to get them out!!! Our experience was a bit like that!! He was sick every time one came, which was very like his blockage experience. Anyway, he seems better today, and we are not touching fish and chips again!! 

    We are still finding our way around all this. It's certainly a learning curve!!!

  • As I understand it nearly all fish these days is frozen at sea, so there was no excuse at all for the place selling you part-thawed stale fish; they, and their competitors, always have to thaw it somehow.

    The trouble for us colostomees is that it's hard to tell if it's us or the supplier!  We tend to think (or at least I do) that differences or shortcomings in what we eat are the result of surgery and, especially, medication.

    The fact that you left some of yours tells a story, doesn't it?  By the time one partner realises that it's undercooked the other partner has unwittingly eaten something properly cooked, but with a different problem which would upset anybody.

    That's a positive to me.  If it was the fish, your husband's body dealt with it 'normally', distressing though that is.  And if the fish wasn't cooked properly maybe the batter wasn't either, producing a different outcome (so to speak) because it wasn't 'bad 'as such.

    If you've got a local chippie that you trust perhaps you could try again - maybe a bag of chips first?

  • We rarely have fish and chips. Its a 'treat' when we are away in our camper van!! I've had far better fish and chips in the North of the country. This was not far from home, in the South.!!! He has had chips at home, but they are oven chips. I threw the chip pan away years ago when I was diagnosed with high cholesterol.

    Its so nice to talk to others who have experienced similar things.

  • Hi NannyAnny

    My experience of eating food like this with my colostomy is that it is likely to increase my output. I tend to eat basically anything I want and I’ve never had a blockage but some foods like fish and chips or a full English will just exit quicker than other foods. I can sometimes go a couple of days without any real output but as long as there is a little something coming out I know I’m not blocked. And some things just upset our tummies in the way they would have pre surgery. I’ve never needed to take any laxatives even once in more than 2 years so maybe I’ve been lucky. I’d give it a go again from a trusted chippy! 

    Sarah xx


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  • Hi NannyAnny

    i can eat anything now. I just have to chew longer than before. Fish and chips are definitely a lovely treat especially from a good chip shop. I’ve eaten Chinese with no issues. I seem to be fine with all the food I had before my op. Apart from sweetcorn I have a soft leaf salad with no problems I’ve even eaten nuts however got jaw ache from the endless grinding so I didn’t really enjoy them. 

    Best Wishes

    Artsie Ann 

  • Hi Everyone,

    Just thought I would update you all. And if this helps anyone in the future, well good!!!

    We spent a very quiet weekend with him not moving from his chair, not interested in anything, eating little, and drinking not much more. By yesterday morning I was really worried. He woke me at 5.am with dreadful stomach pains and a runny output which he has never had. I rang 111 who sent an ambulance, and they assessed him and after ringing several people for advice decided he could stay at home, but to ring back if anything else happened. By afternoon his stomach was up and I thought this was all too much like his previous blockage. He refused to eat or drink, was sick about 3pm bringing up the familiar black stuff. I rang 111 again and another ambulance came. They arranged to take him to the bowel assessment unit at the local hospital. There he had loads of tests and an Xray. They think it could have been constipation/scarring, or the bowel twisting. He emptied two bags of grey liquid at the hospital, and after eating and drinking nothing all day had 3 or 4 drinks when he got home. I hope normal service is resumed today!!

    Thanks for all your replies. I'm now not sure fish and chips has anything to do with it.!!

  • Goodness me. You’ve really been through it. I really hope things settle. Thanks for the update 

    Best Wishes

    Artsie Ann 

  • Interesting. While he was in hospital he met someone who had a stoma for 30 years with no problems. He had just had  a similar experience!!