Teresa, Bowel Cancer Australia's Nutrition Adviser

The average person is expected to consume up to 30 grams of fibre a day.  A low fibre diet is less than 10 grams of fibre per day and a medium fibre diet is under 20 grams of fibre per day.  A low fibre diet is quite the reverse of what you are used to being told to eat when you have or have had bowel cancer.  Normally you are told to eat plenty of fibre; however, for some people this can cause bowel problems.

A low residue diet is usually suggested for people with an ostomy bag.  Often after reversal they may be advised to return to a 'normal' higher fibre diet.  In some people this causes frequent bowel motions, wind and bloating for a few months or more depending on each individual. 

If you are having difficulty with frequent bowel motions after surgery, have had an ostomy reversal, or are having excessive wind and bloating a low fibre diet may be suitable for a further period of time.  You can slowly reintroduce higher fibre foods once your bowel settles.  If you additionally have other bowel conditions such as diverticulitis (acute/flare up), irritable bowel syndrome where diarrhoea is the predominant symptom, Crohn's disease (acute/flare up) and colitis (acute/flare up) you may benefit from a low residue diet.

Download our Low Fibre Diets (Low Residue) resource.

Visit Bowel Cancer Australia's resource webpage for information about adding healthy fibre foods to your diet.

Eating healthy can be a challenges, particularly for bowel cancer patients. Check out our high and low fibre recipes on our recipes webpage