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Strange bowel movements

Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

Here I am again, I do apologise but you guys are the only people I can think of to answer my strange and bizzare question.

Just a reminder.............. I have stage 4 PPC where the fluid went to the cavity around my lungs. Because my numbers went up so drastically and the CT scan showed little change I am confused.

So, I am having very strange bowel movements. I pass long thin pencil shaped stools frequently (3 -4 times a day) I have the urge to open my bowels regularly. I put this down to IBS but I think it is my cancer now. The latest thing really spooked me. I passed wind this morning and felt my bowels open at thr same time. I rushed to the toilet and found that all that had happened was clear muscus liquid in my pants.

I am now wondering if the cancer has now gone to my bowel/rectum? Was the muscus part of the "normal"! fluid that is in our peritoneal cavity but because I have cancer has it spread to my rectum.

I have tried to speak to my onc but he is busy and has not contacted me yet. I accept I am stage 4 but I now concerned I may have bowel/rectal cancer now.

It all sucks doesn't it?

Thanks for listening my friends.

Tina xx

Barbara53's picture
Posts: 658
Joined: Aug 2009

Tina, if it's not one thing it's another! When my mother had "small diameter stools" (medical language) it was a partial bowel obstruction that resolved itself. Do call your doctor, and meantime don't push your luck with food. Liquids are less likely to backfire on you as your intestines find a comfort point. And don't jump to the premature conclusion that it's cancer, because adhesions that form after surgery can cause the problem, too.

Good luck, girl!

kansasgal's picture
Posts: 122
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi, Tina!
I usually post on the uterine cancer board as I have been diagnosed with and treated for two types of endometrial cancer. You gave an excellent description (from the stools themselves to the mucus) of my symptoms when an episode of diverticulitis begins. I have had diverticulosis for many years with a few episodes of diverticulitis. It causes a bowel blockage or at least a partial blockage. Barbara's advice to try following a liquid diet is good. No caffeine. No milk. Let the bowels rest as much as possible while you are waiting to hear from your doctor's office. If it is only a temporary blockage, as you are feeling better you might try a low fiber/low residue diet for a few days as you work your way back to your regular diet. I call it the "white" diet. White bread, white rice, white mashed potatoes! I hope you feel better soon!

Hugs from Sally

leesag's picture
Posts: 625
Joined: Jan 2010

Ok, really bad pun totally intended!

On a more serious note Tina, I had fluid in my peritoneal cavity and a tumor on the outside of my bowel when I was diagnosed. I'm not sure which of these, but I guess it could be a combination of both, resulted in "ribbon" bowel movements for me. I realize, this may not be the answer you were looking for, on the other hand, if it's ascites or a small spot on the bowel, it was resolved with the removal of both for me.

I know how you feel, with every cough, sore throat or headache, I worry that yet another type of cancer has wandered in to join the party. You had mentioned that you felt bloated, so it could be some fluid build up that is putting pressure on your innards.

Hugs and Healing Thoughts heading your way!


Mwee's picture
Posts: 1341
Joined: Nov 2009

I have no expertice with this because I'm a constipation queen, but please call your Drs. so you won't worry and I just stopped by to say....... It does all suck and to offer a ..
((((HUG)))) Maria

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

I think I would suspect a bowel obstruction, as well. I had a BO and that was my first clue, or should have been: skinny stools. If it's not a total obstruction, it may well resolve on its own. If not, you will know it soon enough (vomiting and/or really bad abdominal pains that come in "waves", much like labor pains).

I've had Diverticulitis, too but I experienced vomiting and diarrhea with mine. Really BAD vomiting and diarrhea.

BTW....a bowel obstruction does not necessarily mean you have tumors in your intestines. Call your doctor ASAP and get him/her to check it out. Mine was diagnosed with a plain old x-ray.


NCEllen's picture
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

Well, since I've been the most recent recipient of the BO- award.....my symptoms started five days ago with acute vomiting for about an hour. That stopped, but so did everything else- no appetite, no gas/stool, nothing. I went almost 2 days, but by the end of the second day my tummy was starting to feel tender, bloated and I knew something was up. Went to the ER (while on vacation)- had abdominal films that confirmed small bowel obstruction. Had an NG tube placed and NPO 2 days, then clear liquids and now full liquids (like creamy soups, ice cream, pudding etc). I'll stay on this diet until I see my doc on Monday. You will feel better when you talk to your doc too, but until then the liquids esp. clear for now wouldn't hurt. Best to you- it may resolve on it's own too. Hugs from the NC mountains- Ellen

Posts: 208
Joined: Nov 2008

Wow Ellen,
What an awful experience away from home. Bowel obstructions are the worst. 'Hope it resolves itself and you are feeling better soon. Ginny

Cafewoman53's picture
Posts: 737
Joined: Jul 2010

I hope your DR has contacted you but if he hasn't could you call your chemo nurse to talk to them ?

leesag's picture
Posts: 625
Joined: Jan 2010


Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

I don't have a chemo nurse. I changed hospitals and my original nurse has never been in touch. I requested a new one but still waiting!!!! I did mention the bloating to my onc who said it could be the cancer cells attaching to the bowel wall????

My problem seems to point to a partial blockage as I now experience lots of strange wind followed by a bowel movement where I only pass thin, loose or small stools. I am bloated but when I have been to the toilet the bloating is gone. I used to think I had ascites but in the morning my stomach is OK.

I am still waiting to here from the hospital about going in to start my chemo and I am still waiting to speak to my onc as I phoned his secretary with these questions again.


msfanciful's picture
Posts: 581
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Tina,

I am so sorry I've been missing your posts of late.

My oncologist, told me that bowel obstruction is our number one concern, so as a result I keep a constant watch (literally) of my bowels,bloating/gas issues.

The one question that comes to mind is how long has this change in the stool lasted? Has it been a week? 2 weeks or more?

Another thing had you changed your diet from a fiber-diet to non-fiber perhaps? I ask because when I eat less fiber my stools change to pencil thin, but when I go back to eating more fiber, they get right back to normal.

Don't be so quick to assume that you have bowel/rectal cancer; also as we age our bowels/intestines are less able to process as efficiently anyway; so it can be a whole host of other reasons, okay?

I just don't want you to worry, but your doctor not getting back to you doesn't help either. I tell you I can never understand the insensitivity of these docs nowadays! :-(

Please keep in touch when you find out exactly what is going on.


Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

Thanks for your reply. I am due to begin Caelyx (doxil) on Thursday this week. My bowel movements are "of an urgency" after I have eaten and I also have alot of gas. I suspect my cancer cells may be pressing on my bowel wall?????? I have no blood or anything like that. Sometimes I am perfectly fine (when I am concentrating on something else - like at work) and then when I am home and eaten my evening meal - I have this bloating and gas explotions lol.

I am hoping the chemo will sort it all out.

Take care Tina xx

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