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Recurrence of diarrhea after improvement following completion of radiation treatment - normal?

Posts: 557
Joined: Oct 2018

I thought I was out of the woods, but I guess not.  I finished pelvic external beam IMRT about a month ago for UPSC/clear cell, isolated tumor cells found in one of the two sentinel nodes.  I had horrible diarrhea during radiation treatment after the first two weeks.  About two weeks after completion of treatment, the diarrhea pretty much stopped, and I began to have formed BMs, even to the point of formed stools every other day.  I was eating pretty much only protein and simple starches, but I was able to add in melons and banana.  But a few days ago, I began to have abdominal bloating - even without having eaten anything - and now the liquid diarrhea is back.  I continue to take a Culturelle probiotic daily, and eat only protein, simple starches, and melons.  But even if I eat nothing, I'm still bloated, with perceptible upper abdominal distention.

I've read that it can take up to three months to get over the acute radiation injury to the bowel and bladder.  But I was doing so well - felt great, and solid, dry stools, even had to have a sip of coffee every other day because of constipation (my usual state).  Now I'm back to pure liquid stool, with rare fecal incontinence.

Did anyone who had IMRT have this on and off diarrhea afterwards?  Is there hope that I'm going to improve again, and stay that way?  I'm prettty discouraged.  Sure, I knew that there was a small possibility of chronic radiation injury showing up 18 months or later, but when my function returned almost to normal, I thought I'd be okay for the next year and a half, at least.

Donna Faye's picture
Donna Faye
Posts: 430
Joined: Jan 2017

Z, I am 14 months out of rad treatment like yours. I have to be careful what I eat and I keep Immodium

with me all the time. I may go a few days with almost normal but then I eat something and back comes

D !  i believe this will be the case for me from now on so I just take the I and all goes well. Otherwise doing well. 

jan9wils's picture
Posts: 167
Joined: Mar 2017

I had issues for well over a year after radiation. I took and still do take probiotics daily which helped me greatly. I was careful about when, what and where I would eat. I took lomotil 4 times a day for months and then gradually backed off until I no longer needed it. It eventually went away for good. But there was a period of time where I "yo-yo'd" between being regular and then having diarrhea. One thing I learned is sometimes there is a bit of blockage from constipation,  and only liquid or gas will get around. And so I needed to add fiber instead of avoiding it. I was glad to add green salads and raw fruit back into my diet. I sure hope you get some relief and soon.

Armywife's picture
Posts: 452
Joined: Feb 2018

Zsa zsa, I'm so sorry you're having these problems.  I didn't have radiation, so I can't weigh in, but I do understand the frustration. Hoping things clear up soon.

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