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GI Symptoms Scaring Me

anicca's picture
Posts: 335
Joined: Dec 2010

I've been having GI symptoms since New Years Eve. I hardly slept that night, and started having pure liquid BM's in the early morning. Stayed in all day and felt fine the next day, even went to a pot luck and ate whatever I wanted. I felt pretty good for about a week, then started to have diarrhea, and had a repeat performance of the no sleep business and liquid stools. Since then, I've been gassy at both ends and have not had a "regular" BM once. Nevertheless, I'm eating normally, and am not bloated, have no pain (except sometimes a little gas pain), and energy is normal. I even went skiing for three days. I called my gyn/onc yesterday morning, and was told to get some cultures done. Saw my family doctor today and had blood drawn (looking for inflammatory markers, and CA-125 at my request), and was given vials for 4 different stool samples. I've had this kind of thing before, but never for so long. If I didn't have OC, I wouldn't be so concerned, but now, I'm totally freaked out. I never thought I would want c. diff, or Crohn's disease, but I think either of those would be preferable to a recurrence. I just had my 3 month follow up after chemo, and my CA-125 was as expected and the CT scan was NED, which just makes me think that if this is a recurrence, I'm in for pure hell.

Posts: 1995
Joined: May 2003

Could be an intestinal bug, or a host of other things. I know your concerns - once you've 'been there', you don't want to go through it again. Just wait for the test results. It's wonderful that your recent tests came back NED! Please let us know what you find out.
Till then. . .

Tethys41's picture
Posts: 1229
Joined: Sep 2010

Maybe you have developed sensitivities to some foods. You could start eating just good protien (healthy meats) and fresh vegetables for a week to see if it clears up. If it does, then you can start adding foods one by one to see if any of them trigger this reaction. Alternatively, you could be tested for food sensitivities.

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

You are probably NOT having a recurrence. Three months is VERY early, first of all, and secondly, it's usually a surprise thing, as the labs catch it before symptoms set in.

Having said that, I understand completely. When I discovered a large lump protruding from my belly - that had appeared virtually overnight - I almost had a full-blown anxiety attack. I thought it must be a tumor, even though I had just had a CA125 result of 6 and a clean CT scan. Turns out, it's a hernia.

I have read a lot about what happens in recurrent OC and nowhere do I recall anything about watery stools. Generally, the opposite is true - mets to the colon/bowel cause constipation, due to obstructions.

I think you have something totally unrelated to OC. I have to keep reminding myself of what my doctor said to me, during a similar moment of panic.....it's not always about the cancer.


Posts: 1223
Joined: Jun 2008

your concerns. I get loose bowels when I am nervous or under stress. I don't even realize I am uptight until my bowels tell me, usually. I do take a prescription pro-biotic and a bit of yogurt every day. The chemo can do a number on the insides.
Take care,

anicca's picture
Posts: 335
Joined: Dec 2010

Thank you all, for your support. I couldn't sleep again last night, so, lying in bed, I got on my phone and googled symptoms for all kinds of things. While I'm no closer to knowing what's wrong, I do now know that my symptoms are not specific to any of the possibilities I could think of.

As Carlene said, it doesn't appear to be a bowel obstruction (my worst fear.) Wish I had googled that one two weeks ago! One of the symptoms for that is lack of flatus, and I have the opposite! (blush) I wish I thought it were anxiety, but it's lasting too long for that, in my case. I did give up dairy for a while, hoping it was lactose intolerance, but that doesn't seem to be it either. Hopefully, I'll have test results back by the end of the week. If nothing is found, I'm going to get the exact probiotics I took after surgery and see if that helps.

Special thanks to Carlene for the words "it's not always about the cancer!"

Posts: 86
Joined: Jan 2010

I have also had all sorts of bowel problems and all three of my doctors attribute it to my pelvic radiation treatment (resulting in radiation proctitis or enteritis). However in going to a gastroenterologist (they also are familiar as they treat a lot of colon cancer, he did have a few suggestions. You might want to consider probiotics-chemo and radiation can kill the good bacteria in the GI tract. he said some people regrow or replace those bacteria quickly and others do not.
Second, I had chronic diarrhea and he suggested I drink liquid immodium every day as a precaution as he was not concerned about getting too much of it and the liquid is quick acting.
It may just be that I get further out from radiation, some of the scar tissue is healing (that was his hope) but these two things have helped me.

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I also had pelvic radiation (28 rounds), and my bowels have never been completely the same. But when I was really having trouble, my oncologist referred me to a nutritionist that put me on the BRAT diet on Bananas, Rice, Applesauce & Toast. I was to supplement that with at least a tablespoon of Greek or other priobic yogurt daily and 64 ounces of non-caffeine/ non-alcoholic liquids daily, plus a mulivitamin & calcium tablet, plus 2 envelopes of Carnation Instant Breakfast (CIB) in milk. After the loose bowels improved (about 10 days) I was to gradually add in fiber-rich foods. It really worked for me. Now when I have chemo-induced problems I go back to the same strategy. (I stir 1 of the CIB into the yogurt to cut the sweetness; and I add the other to heated milk just before bed to help me sleep like a baby.)

anicca's picture
Posts: 335
Joined: Dec 2010

I got test results today. All but 2 of them are in, and those are for parasites. My CA-125 is up 3 or 4 points to 15. I know that is not supposed to be significant, but it was only 200 before my surgery. All of the tests that did come in are negative, so no inflammation (Crohn's, colitis, etc.), no c. diff, no other disease causing entero-bacteria. Will call again on Monday, and if everything else is negative, then I have to see a GI guy. Results will be sent to my gyn/onc, of course. I wish the CA-125 had not budged an inch. I'm eating everything in sight out of pure anxiety.

kikz's picture
Posts: 1347
Joined: Jun 2010

I spent most of December housebound with the same kind of symtoms you have. I was freaked out of course. I had a scheduled appointment with my onco for a Friday and they upped it to Monday because of my concern. When I saw the doctor she was not too concerned. I came right out and asked if it could be colon cancer and she said no. She suggested I get a colonoscopy and when I groaned she said I didn't have to do it right away. She did not have me do any tests or give me any medication. I mentioned I have had IBS in the past but not like this. She kind of ran with that and suggested I eat more fiber and drink Metamucil. I left not too happy because I was running to the bathroom even during the night and sometimes not making it. Well, it ran its course and lessened until I am pretty much back to normal. I am happy it's gone but don't have any answers as to what it was.


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

I too have experienced "strange bowel habits" which are lots of wind, rushing to the toilet only to find I have only passed a very small amount like a "splodge". Sometimes I only pass clear mucus. However, this usually lasts a few days to a week and then everything returns to normal.

I too have been very confused by this but like you Karen I have a history of IBS so my doctor has never shown concern.

Tina x

anicca's picture
Posts: 335
Joined: Dec 2010

Something I hadn't mentioned is that I felt a large mass under my belly button. I know I have an umbilical hernia, so I thought that could be it. Then it seemed to get bigger, and my husband could even feel it. This alarmed me horribly, because I felt my ovarian tumor grow from a small hard spot to a huge protrusion in the 4 months it took me to find the right doctor. So, last night I had to work briefly, and the tights I put on happened to be very tight around the waist and I was in pain. When I got home, I changed and lay down a while, then we went out to dinner. By the time we got home from dinner, all the pain was gone. When I got in bed last night, I felt my belly, and the lump was gone! It must have been a loop of intestine that wasn't processing very well. I woke up this morning and everything was back to normal. I am so relieved! I am new to this, and I guess I am going to have to face more uncertain situations in the future. It's clearly best not to get all worked up about it! Hope I can manage better next time. Thank you all for your patience & advice.

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