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Constipaption after chemo

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

I've had 3 chemo treatments and have had 'bathroom problems' for about 4 days after each treatment. I have no problems the rest of the time.

I've noticed many of you have had bowel obstructions or serious problems during chemo, some required hospitalization. I want to avoid that.

I have a treatment this coming Wednesday and wondered if anyone found something that might help during those four days or prevent that problem?

shoppergal
Posts: 118
Joined: Mar 2009

I had alot of problems with this, among other things! I found if it was really bad I took a stool softener. I never took what the label reccommened though because then I would end up with more problems. I found if I took 1 pill that seemed to help. If I took to many I then had to take immodium and it became a vicious cycle! So far you seem tobe doing well, keep it up and best of luck!

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

Did you take the stool softener before you became constipated? Would I take one on Thursday morning, after chemo on Wednesday? This has happened every chemo treatment. :o(

Any suggestions on brands of softeners? Any you would avoid? I don't want gas pains or diarrhea!

lmliess's picture
lmliess
Posts: 331
Joined: Dec 2008

UGH! I don't want you to go through constipation either. I was in the ER 2 times last week with my colostomy and constipation but this is my plan now and it seems to work (so far...):

I get up, have a full glass of water.
Walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes to 'wake things up'.
Have a glass of prune juice while making my oatmeal.
After oatmeal I have black coffee

Then I have a total of 3 stool softners a day (100mgs each). Make sure it is only a stool softner and not a laxative too.

Then before bed I mix a glass of Miralax with a little cranberry juice.

I hope this helps!!!

lmliess's picture
lmliess
Posts: 331
Joined: Dec 2008

I would take the stool softners before if you know chemo is constipating.....

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

I saw a post by you last week while I was having such problems and I decided I needed to take charge of this before it got too bad! Coffee and lots of fluids didn't help.

I got some Plum Smart with fiber and am drinking that now. I would assume that would be about the same as prune juice. I like prunes, tho. :o) My walking is done late afternoon or evening. I don't have a treadmill so we go to the mall and walk when Jim gets home (one car).

I'll get some Miralax and stool softener. In fact, I thought I probably should begin the regime on Wednesday before chemo so Thursday is no problem. Is Miralax a laxative? Does it cause gas pains? I hate gas pains!

lmliess's picture
lmliess
Posts: 331
Joined: Dec 2008

Miralax is a mild laxative and so far has not caused me gas pains. It says it can take up to 2 to 4 days to work so you may want to take it a few days in advance. Same with stool softners, they can take up to 2 - 4 days. So maybe you want to start Sunday?

I don't think it matters when you walk - I think just walking helps at anytime.

I have been wanting to try the Plum Smart too - but I have to wait a few more weeks to add fiber according to the docs with my colostomy.

Good luck!!!

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

The first day I drank it, I filled a big water glass and WHEW.... Now I drink 6-8 ounces so beware!

The doctor put me on a regular diet less than 18 hours after surgery, but I didn't have a colostomy. I still was very, very careful and avoided things like cabbage. No need to ask for trouble, right?

Thanks so much for your help. We'll go to Wal-Mart today and get those things.

VickiCO's picture
VickiCO
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

I have a constant constipation problem, chemo or not, because of the pain meds. I tried other stool softeners and they triggered diarrhea. Then the onc said try Miralax. I use it every morning. I am not troubled with gas pains (unless I have a carbonated soda! look out for that!) and things move fairly well. I do have a routine of one day going to the bathroom (it seems) constantly, one day hardly at all, then one day somewhat normal...then it starts over again. I can live with that!

And walk, walk, walk

Vicki

robinvan's picture
robinvan
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

Hi Diane,

I've had varying problems with constipation since my colon resection. Chemo or not. I would never know what was coming after chemo so always had to be ready with imodium or stool softeners. Post-chemo, constipation has been an ongoing problem.

I'm a lot more carefull about what I eat. I find that things like white bread really contribute to my constipation. Sometimes I'll move to a soup diet which really helps, along with walks and water.

Constipation is a particular problem for me since I've got an incisional hernia, post liver surgery.

Have a chat with your chemo nurse when you start your next round. He/she may have some helpful suggestions.

Moving right along... Rob; in Vancouver

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

I see my onc. EVERY chemo visit or his P/A. He's always right there, tho. My chemo is done at his office in a huge room filled with beautiful art work, windows on two sides and a t.v. for me to watch my DIY shows.

I go the day before chemo for my liver enzymes so I'll ask that day.

Thanks guys. I've not had any diarrhea and don't take any pain meds or other meds but I do NOT want to have a bowel obstruction or even constipation. It is not fun!

shoppergal
Posts: 118
Joined: Mar 2009

If most people would see what we talk about they would think it's a shitty conversation, or not! Seriously though I didn't take the stool softener until after chemo when I knew how bad things would be, but I probably should have taken them before. My system reacted to them pretty fast so within a couple of hours I would go, thats why I never took as many as they said. What I liked about them is that they didn't give me gas, which I didn't need any more of. On the chemo I found that I was very gassy and it didn't matter what I ate! Since my surgery I've never really gone back to my so called normal bowel movements, I used to go just every morning. Now it can be numerous times a day and I never know when the urge will kick in! Unfortunately, because of the many side effects I have since chemo I take different meds and they all make me constipated but I don't really take anything at this time. You're right a bowel obstruction or constipation is not fun but none of this cancer or chemo stuff is fun!!!!

Greylloyd
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2009

I too have suffered the dreaded constipation after chemo. Like you, it occurs mainly in the first week with no problems the rest of the time.

My doctor recommended me to take a fibre supplement (Metamucil) every morning and evening. He told me that the stool softeners are too harsh when taken constantly and he would prefer me not to use them. The fibre tablets do seem to help me when I remember to take them. They work best if you start taking them before the chemo. I also eat as much fruit as I can during these days to help with the problem.

Good luck

Greylloyd

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

I've never been a medicine taking person, so I'd prefer to do the least possible.

I eat loads of fruit. I am actually eating a bowl of bananas, strawberries and blueberries with a teeny piece of angel food cake right now. I also buy crackers and breads that are whole wheat. You'd think I wouldn't have the problem but I think chemo must slow down my 'gut' because the rest of the time, I have no problem at all.

The Plum Smart with extra fiber gave me lots of gas the first time I drank it. Of course, I drank about 12 ounces! It didn't help after chemo this past week, tho. I sure don't want to go through this again if I can help it!

Thanks, y'all!

serrana
Posts: 163
Joined: Apr 2009

I think I am the poster child for the constipation/diahreha rollercoaster after two years of chemo, a j-pouch, three surgeries etc.
What works for me is no nonsoluble fiber just soluble fiber, two quarts or more water per day of water, lots of walking, and if things are really jammed up then Ducolax 50 milligrams stool softener and a couple of Milk of Magnesia chewables.( This puts me in the throne room for several hours tho) To avoid diahreha I stick with the following: no sugar,no fake sugar, no fresh fruit except bananna/apples, no fresh veggie except avocado, totally non fat program ( no red meat,no dark meat chicken, no chicken skin, no fried stuff etc) This means lots of fruit/veg supplements for which I use "Just Juice" tabs. The best program of all is at www.helpforibs.com where they sell organic acacia fiber supplement which is totally soluble fiber. THere is also a great hypnotherapy program that really works and lots of recipes. This plan is working for me now.

impactzone's picture
impactzone
Posts: 531
Joined: Aug 2006

I know it sound silly with all this other great advice but when I sleep I put a hot water bottle on my stomache. It seems to wake thing up, expand things and does get me gassy but gets it moving. I have used this after 3 surgeries and manybe its just mental but that seems to help along with diet, etc.
Chip

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