Prevention of a Small Bowel Obstruction
Some ovarian cancer survivors are at high risk for a small bowel obstruction. This may be due to surgical adhesions or the tumor itself. First it is important to know what the signs and symptoms are of a partial small bowel obstruction.
Some symptoms may be cramping, gas, bowel changes, nausea and vomiting. Vomiting and increasing abdominal girth and pain may indicate a total obstruction. Keep in mind that symptoms may vary by individual and severity of the obstruction. It is important to notify your doctor immediately.
With a partial small bowel obstruction, there may be dietary changes to prevent a complete obstruction. These include:
- Eat smaller meals, more frequently throughout the day.
- Follow a low fiber diet. Avoid fruits and vegetables with skins and seeds; avoid whole grains, nuts and seeds. White bread, white flour based pasta and peeled potatoes may be tolerated. Low fiber cereals include: puffed rice, Cheerios, cream of rice, cornflakes.
- Avoid fatty and greasy foods. These are much more difficult to digest and may stay in the stomach longer causing greater discomfort.
- Drink plenty of fluids: water, broth, tea, gelatin and juice may help you stay well hydrated. Some people find that full liquids: hot cereals, puddings, milkshakes and nutritional drinks are tolerated. If nausea is persistent, switching to nutritionally concentrated liquids is worth trying.
- Avoid lactose containing drinks if gas or milk intolerance is noted.
- Avoid gas-forming foods such as gassy vegetables (ex: broccoli, cauliflower), soft drinks, beans and chewing gum.
For more individualized assistance contact the registered dietitian at 215-829-6560.
High Protein Smoothie Recipe
- 8 oz. vanilla or plain yogurt
- 1 scoop of whey protein powder
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup of frozen fruit of choice
Place all ingredients in a wide mouth cup. Blend with an immersion blender. Drink in 4 oz. increments throughout the day. This recipe provides approximately 410 calories and 28 grams of protein.