CSN Login
Members Online: 0

You are here

A cancer question?

VickiCO's picture
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

OK, that was tongue-in-cheek, but I need some help. How do you all manage bowel problems? I am usually constipated because of pain meds, and my lack of a rectum I guess. I use Miralax (doctor's orders)then I suddenly get diarrhea where I am literally in the bathroom 30 times a day. To stop it, Imodium. Then I get blocked up from the Imodium. Vicious circle. I've tried the prune juice, dried prunes, etc and that doesn't work. This is wearing me out. How do I achieve a balance? This is a serious question, I'm not trying to be funny.

Thanks, Vicki

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

There is enough $hit going on in here, this place needs some Miralax.
I feel sorry that you have to go through this Vicki, I've had bouts of going like crazy, then getting crazy from not going. I do not have an answer for you. Maybe (just maybe) we can get back on track and help each other.

CherylHutch's picture
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Hey Vicki,

When you are constipated, instead of using a laxitive product, have you tried using a stool softener? I wonder if the roller coaster between being constipated and having diahrrea is because of the products?

When I had diahrrea, I did use the Immodium which worked great for stopping it. I never really did have a constipation problem, so to speak, although there was a couple of times where I think the Immodium was the problem for me. So I used a stool softener and that seemed to do the trick. If I felt in any way constipated, I used it... but if I had the diharrea, I always have Immodium on hand.

Just a suggestion.



daydreamer110761's picture
Posts: 497
Joined: Dec 2008

I tend to start using that on Thursday morning because I know once the needle comes out the other end starts flowing, but I only use it Thursday and Friday, if i didn't I would be constantly in the bathroom within an hour of being unplugged. It seems to just slow things down, as I still go, and don't think that stopping things completely is a good idea. However - this last time around (number 10, i am on 11 now) i kept taking it because I kept going, got stopped up and ended up with a hemmoroid - OUCH! won't do that again! what a PIA!

Posts: 124
Joined: Jan 2008

I had my ileo take down surgery in November '08. I haven't had much trouble with diahhrea, except that when it does hit, there is no stopping it or holding it (I have no rectum either). But I did have constipation issues at first. I started with a stool softener pill - just one a day. Then I added 1 fiber pill a day. That did the trick and eventually I had to cut back on the fiber pills because they got things moving so much I couldn't stop. I don't know that the stool softeners and/or fiber pills would be any better than the Miralax (I've heard that is good too), but it's a couple of alternatives you might want to experiment with. I completely sympathize with you - it's so hard to find a balance and it's a lot of trial and error.

PamPam2's picture
Posts: 376
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi Vicki
Have had same problems. I have found that the Omega brand ground/milled flax seed and plenty of water works well for me, just a tablespoon a day, in about a week got very regular without the bouts of diareah and constipation, you can put it on cereal,in salads, in yogart, cook with it, I just put it in water and drink/chew it down, you can get it at health food stores and they have a web site you can order from. Wall-mart also carries ground flax seed in the baking/flour section that is inexpensive. Being natural it does not cause me the harsh effects like cramps and diareah that laxitives do to me. Give it a try.

VickiCO's picture
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

I'll try that. I used to work for Wild Oats Markets before Whole Foods bought them out. I should have thought of that! The cramps and gas are the worst....here's hoping something works.

Thanks Everyone! Vicki

kimby's picture
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007


Sorry, I'm missing so much colon and small intestine that I will forever have the opposite problem. I just had to say though - canzer question? Is this a canzer board? Where did you ever get an idea like that? I don't know where you come up with this stuff....geesh

grins and giggles,


VickiCO's picture
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

You crack me up....OK, my tongue is out of the cheek now.


fighting for mom's picture
fighting for mom
Posts: 96
Joined: Jan 2009

My mom had severe diarrhea and was using a combo of immodium plus prescription stopper upper (can't recall the name) and tincture of opium. Well- it did the trick all too well- she ended up with a bowel obstruction and hospitalization.

Her surgeon said to eat 1/2 cup cooked rice and 1 orange every day plus drink gatorade every day. So far- so good. She also had a change up with chemo meds- no more oxy. I am sure that helped immensly.

She is so glad to not have the diarrhea!

Hope you get things stopped- literally.


Kathleen808's picture
Posts: 2361
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi Vicki,
I know when Dick had his surgery his colon surgeon (he teaches colon surgery at UCLA med school) said he should try to let the body work it out. He said that it was best to not jump on either the diarrhea or the constipation too quickly. He said the same thing about balance. I know that it is a big issue if there is a blockage so I know he was more saying see what the diarrhea is going to do and don't be too quick to try to fix it because it can lead to constipation. He said to let the bowels (whatever is left) learn to reabsorb the liquid. He said that left alone it should be able to reabsorb most of the liquid properly.
I also know that everyone is different. Our little 12 year old just got out of the hospital for seizures and severe constipation. That GI doc put her on Miralax everyday and said it is much better to have very loose stools than have it be in the other direction. He has her on 1 cap at dinner and 1 at night. Once she has had 3 or more movements a day (I know it is not 30) then he will bring the dose down by a teaspoon but only every three days. He reduces the dose very slowly so the body has a chance to adjust and to stop the yo-yo thing.
I wish you the best.

VickiCO's picture
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

Thanks for this. I did talk to doc yesterday and he said it was time to wean away the "help" and let my body take over. The Miralax dose I was taking was only half, but he said let's eliminate it and see what happens. Imodium really messes me up, so I had already decided to forgo that unless I travel. There's the rub. I am taking my first trip since DX next week - an 8 or 9 hour drive to Utah for a trade show. Now, to get there we have to drive across Wyoming, where you can go a loooong distance between gas stations and rest areas. I may end up with my butt behind a tumbleweed at some point! 8^)

Thanks to all for the advice....this board family is the best.


Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

Hello there, I have the exact problems you are talking about. I know this may sound weird but I eat alot of bananas ( alot to me is 2 a day), for some reason it seems to keep me from getting plugged up and keeps my stool loose but not real bad. I use Imodium especially if I will be in a car for more an hour, and I ALWAYS have TP in all my vehicles, for the just incase situations. So dont forget the TP!!! Bananas always seem to calm my stomach as well, so you might want to try it. I would also watch how much dairy products you take in, for some it can plug you up, but for me it does the oppisite. Just some thoughts.

Hope you are feeling well other then this problem. It will pass and you will get to feeling better soon.

God Bless ya

snommintj's picture
Posts: 602
Joined: Mar 2009

I wrote a post a few weeks back called Getting Things Going, or something to that effect. It will truly help with the constipation. There are several steps you can take to ease your bowel function try them and let me know.

msccolon's picture
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

Looks like you have already gotten a bunch of good advice. My thoughts have already been mentioned, you need to let your body retrain itself. The intestines are a funny organ; they don't like to be messed with and sometimes they can be difficult to regulate. It is very easy for them to become lazy and dependent on help either way. I am one who never takes laxatives or anything to help a stool, particularly during chemo. I always knew that the first 2-3 days I may not go, but hey, it's not like i was eating that much anyhow! Plus, I knew, like clockwork, the chemo leaving was going to start a torrent of diarrhea, so anything in there was bound to come out and did. Now I DID learn to get ahead of the diarrhea, however, by stopping the movement of liquid through the intestines long enough for some absorption and usually only needed 1 or 2 doses of corrective medication. Lomotil was the med of choice, but if i found myself needing to take more than 3 consecutive doses, i switched to hyocyamine, which ALWAYS did the trick; it's like a muscle relaxant for the intestines. Remember also that if you are having diarrhea, it's going to take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after you STOP the diarrhea before a reasonable amount of stool will form, ready for normal elimination, so i think most people tend to freak out too soon and try to remedy "constipation" that doesn't exist (and why the remedy results in another bout with diarrhea!). Rice water is a good natural diarrhea remedy, but doesn't touch chemo related diarrhea. As far as helping to move your bowels through, lots of water and some fiber pills can really do the trick! And I have to add another vote to John's post on getting things moving.

nudgie's picture
Posts: 1483
Joined: Sep 2006

Before my DX I was not the best at eating right and only ate about a day and did not drink water and I was always constipated, but at last, this has CHANGED. What helps me stay regular is drinking at least 70ozs of water each day, eating fiber in-riched foods and plenty of exercise.

Fiber One breakfast bars
Fiber One yogurt
Fiber One cereals
Kashi bars (high in fiber and protien)
Fruits (apples, blackberries, blueberries, canalupe, etc)
Wheat bread w/fiber

chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

I found that I went through the same vicious cycles... especially during chemo.

Stool softeners worked better for me than laxative. It didn't quite get so extreme... I didn't find anything better than immodium though. If I remember right, I used 1/2 the dosage mostly, though. If 1/2 didn't work fairly quickly, I would take the other 1/2.

One of my chemo nurses recommended this to me as a shake and it did tend to keep me fairly happy. I recommend a good blender to do this, I have burned out a few over the years. Now, I've had a Kitchen Aid that seems to have lasted longer than any others.

I would try to regulate myself with diet as well. I know that even now (nearly 5 years out) I will still tend to get constipated or loose if I don't eat right, depending on what I've eaten. It gets better, but it sure took a really long time to get better.


Mix 1 Cup of Water, 1 Handful of Almonds, 2 Tbsp. Flax Seed, 2 Tbsp. Oatmeal to make milk.

Add: 1 Banana, 1 Apple (I slice mine) 1 Slice Melon, and a Few Frozen Berries (I like to use 1 Cup as it chills it).

trainer's picture
Posts: 242
Joined: Sep 2008

Apples and sunflower seed kernels set me free!

Subscribe to Comments for "A cancer question?"