Tips & Tricks

Over the course of 20+ years of a Familial Polyposis diagnosis, I've lived with an ileostomy for 6 years before having my straight pull thru completed. I've encountered countless hospital admissions, medical tests and procedures, 7 surgeries, and ongoing battle with electrolytes. I've learned a few things along the way that have always stuck with me. These are all things that my doctor has okayed for me but you should always consult your doctor first before following someone else's tips

Do you have some tips you'd like to share? Email them to me!

  • Have your doctor monitor your Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Hemoglobin/Ferritin, Albumin, B12, Vitamins K and D, and Folate levels. These are all necessary for electrolyte balance and health.
  • It's common to have anemia and B12 deficiency without a colon. It is also common to have other minerals and vitamin levels to be low. Anemia and deficiency of B12, Folate, Vitamin K and D will all affect your energy level.
  • V8 is a better option than Gatorade, in my opinion. V8 has more electrolytes and less sugar than Gatorade. Gatorade 2 series does have quite a bit less sugar than Gatorade original, but the amount of electrolytes in V8 far out number any of the Gatorades. And V8 acts as a stool thickner, this can be helpful with excessive diarrhea.
  • There are several hydration products specifically designed for those with malabsorption.
  • Be mindful of foods containing magnesium, sugar, or artificial sweeteners if you have issues with diarrhea. Magnesium, sugar, and artificial sweeteners increase diarrhea and artificial sweetener actually increases diarrhea more than sugar does.
  • If you struggle with low sodium, consider mixing 1/2 tsp of salt in an ounce of V8 and drink the mixture.
  • Some believe pickle juice has various health benefits including helping relieve muscle cramps. But be careful, with a short bowel it also can increase diarrhea and the sodium can raise your blood pressure.
  • If you struggle with potassium, consider using Nu-Salt - a salt substitute that is low in sodium, high in potassium. If you have kidney problems, consult your doctor as excess potassium can be deadly.
  • Zinc helps promote healing and immunity.
  • When changing an ostomy, apply pressure with your hand or wave a blow dryer over your applied ostomy appliance for a few minutes to help it seal and further adhere to your skin.
  • Eakin Seals are a wonderful alternative to ostomy appliance glue - plus there's no sting!
  • To protect your teeth when you vomit, don't brush your teeth right after. Instead rinse your mouth and spit several times and later on then brush your teeth. Also try rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash to help neutralize the acid from the vomit and remineralize your teeth to protect against cavities.
  • At risk of fecal leakage? Try a liner or even period panties. Cloth pads are a great alternative to the standard menstrual pad that is made with plastics. Cloth pads are better for the skin and the environment. Click here to see my review of cloth pads.
  • If you lack the energy for cooking, try using a crockpot with frozen or canned vegetables to make your meal preparation easier. Grocery stores are also now carrying pre-packaged crockpot meals. See more of my cooking tips here.


  1. Having to live with an ileostomy may be a better choice compared to living with a bowel condition

    1. Absolutely! An ostomy can make a huge difference to quality of life