Can you drink alcohol with a stoma?

Can you drink alcohol with a stoma?

Let's start this post by saying that drinking alcohol with an ostomy is not the same for everybody, as is the case with a lot of things in ostomy life. It is also different depending on which ostomy you have - ileostomy, colostomy or urostomy.

Ant answers: Can you drink alcohol with a stoma?

For those of you who haven't seen Ant's first vlog with us, "What clothes can you wear with a stoma?", you can view it here.

A little recap on Ant (@ibdlife)... Ant is an IBD & Disability advocate and is an ambassador for both Unhidden Clothing and Pelican Healthcare. He had his stoma formed two years ago as a result of Ulcerative Colitis and shares insights into his life with a stoma, including stoma fashion, body confidence, education and is also partial to a happy dance or two!

*Note: Ant's video is viewable through YouTube directly only, with it discussing alcohol - Please click below*


Amy's thoughts

We spoke to Amy, who has been a long-term Comfizz blogger and now works with us as our Social Media and Marketing Specialist, about her experience with alcohol post ostomy surgery:

"I am not a big drinker but I am partial to a G&T! Up until around half a year ago, I was able to drink pretty much any alcoholic drink besides a mixed alcoholic drink such as a cocktail without experiencing any adverse effects, but this changed. 

I developed really watery, high volume output when drinking prosecco and wine (on different occasions), and struggled to get it under control, which made me feel really dehydrated and under the weather, so since then, I haven't had anything but gin and tonic or gin and lemonade, a few drinks at a time.

I make sure that I take loperamide usually when I am going out and know I'll be having alcohol and also try to drink alcohol with food. If I know I'll be having alcohol, I also ensure I am hydrated before and during as much as I can by having weak squash, especially in larger volumes if it is also hot.

Admittedly, some of my decision to drink less comes from my emetophobia (fear of vomit) and fear of lacking control in my body down to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so I wouldn't say it's straight forward with me! I've been so ill for 21 years of my life already, so where I can help it, I try to avoid being ill if it's within my control. I don't need alcohol to have a good time but sometimes just 1 or 2 can help take the edge off if I'm anxious."

Hand pushing a whiskey drink being offered away from them

Things to consider with alcohol after ostomy surgery

  • Your medical team should be able to advise you when you can start to introduce alcohol back into your diet after surgery. Always listen to your body and seek medical advice before drinking alcohol on medication or maybe just avoid it altogether if you are feeling under the weather.
  • Alcohol can cause dehydration, so stay hydrated with fluids that don't have this effect in between alcoholic beverages.
  • Beer (and other fizzy beverages) are known to speed ostomy output up and make colostomy and ileostomy output more liquid, meaning things flush through your system quicker. If you're having trouble with your output, again, it's maybe safe to avoid it.
  • Fizzy drinks can also increase wind which can lead to your ostomy bag ballooning and also more noise from your stoma. To get rid of fizz from a drink, stirring a fork in the drink rapidly can help.
  • Getting on top of your output, especially if it speeds up and is liquid, can help to reduce dehydration. Tablets such as loperamide, sweets such as marshmallows and stopping drinking alcohol can help this. It's always best to input these things one thing at a time to allow them time to take effect. The last thing you want to be doing is bringing your ostomy to a standstill!

Cheers with gin and tonic and a lady smiling

Drinking in moderation

... Maybe not something we all want to hear! It is generally advised however that drinking in moderation is best with an ostomy. Sometimes, I can have one drink and feel quite tipsy, and other times I can have two or three and be okay for no rhyme or reason. 

You may not be able to tolerate alcohol as well as you did pre-ostomy surgery as well, so it's important to remember this when drinking post surgery, when you've been advised that it's okay to do so by your medical team. 

Also, it's not ideal needing to do an emergency bag change (if the situation arises), whilst drunk! 

Two men cheers with a beer each

Rehydration solution

You can still get hangovers with an ostomy (and often, they can be a lot worse)! Whether you have over indulged or not, I’d definitely recommend taking some form of rehydration solution at the end of the night and the morning after.

Solutions such as Dioralyte and ORS Hydration tablets help with this, as well as drinks with electrolytes such as Lucozade Sport.

You can also make your own St Mark's electrolyte solution which I’ve never tried but I’ve been told it’s bearable if you add a little fruit squash to it rather than try it on its own.

 Rehydration solution

Disclaimer: As always, this post is from our vlogger, Ant's experiences and our Social Media & Marketing Specialist, Amy's experiences with ostomy life & living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Nothing in our blog posts should be taken as medical advice. It's always best to consult a medical professional if you have queries or concerns.

Comments & useful links

Please leave us a comment below with your experience and/or tips you may want to share.

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    Hi Michelle, thank you for your comment. Definitely not a party pooper! Your body, your choice! We hope you got on okay at the weekend & managed to enjoy it.

  • Michelle

    Reading this today makes me feel so relieved. I’ve struggled over the past 8years feeling like I’m a party pooper because I’m always thinking of how poorly I’m going too feel the next day, how quickly the output will start. I never actually realised these thoughts could lead to anxiety & making me feel like I never want to do evenings out because I feel I can’t drink. I’m actually going too try the suggestions & see if I’m able too manage a cheeky few drinks at the weekend.

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