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Rectal Cancer / Vagina Shrinkage and Shortening / Chronic Diarrhea

Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2014

I'm 48 years old and last year I was diagnosed with Rectal Cancer stage 4 and had 28 sessions of radiation, surgery to remove my rectum and 18 inches of my radiated colon with an illeostomy bag, 2 months later had the bag removed and 4 months of Chemo which finished in November 2013. The radiation fused my rectum and vagina together so when the rectum was removed the vagina became smaller.   I was told the cancer is completely gone.  Overjoyed!

I now deal with the inablility to be intimate with my husband and diarrhea at any inconvenient time.

My current solutions:

Vagina- I have a series of different dialators that range from  extra small to large including half sizes.  I've gotten to medium plus (not big enough for my husband yet - still forging ahead)  Taking a hot bath or getting in a hot tub before using the dialator helps soften.  Always use lubricant because radiation causes long-term drying.

Diarrhea- I have had to take 2 tablets of Immodium 3 to 4 times a day.  When it gets real bad I have to take Norco (pain killer) to stop down my system because the maximum immodium is 8 pills per day.  I only take the Norco before bed to sleep otherwise I get up to go to the bathroom 4 to 5 times at night - hard to get a good nights sleep. The stool is caustic to sore skin tissue and if it's soft or loose it will continue to hurt.  A barrier helps keep the stool away from the skin.  There are many out there but some sting.  My suggestion is Desitin generously coated and then put a small folded up tissue in your crack.  You get used to the feeling.  Don't wipe harshly after going to the bathroom.  Having a generous amount of barrier helps with wiping because you won't irritate the anus as much.  Re-apply I also take Citrucel to help form the stools and also Align Probiotic.  I haven't had an inconvenient diarrhea incident in a long time. I wear liners just in case.


-I would like to eventually get off of the Immodium and Norco.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

-I would like to be intimate with my husband again.  Any suggestions?





Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2013


I completed chemo/radiation of 12-12-12.  Due to the extensive radiation to my pelvis, I too, had issues with being intimate with my husband due to scar tissue in my vagina.  Although I am 56, and was thrilled to still be alive, I wasn't willing to give up intercouse.  I, too, used dialators and have FINALLY came to a place where intercourse is enjoyable again.  Don't give up, use them everday and when insertion isn't painful any longer, move to the next size.  IT"S WORTH IT!  (I found that AstroGlide Gel worked better for me than KY)  Good luck and don't give up!

NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 468
Joined: Mar 2013

God bless you ladies.  People really don't have a clue. 

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