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lack of bowel control

melbas's picture
Posts: 43
Joined: Jul 2010

Hey y'all, I had my last radiation on Sep 7, 2010, yet I still suffer from not being able to control my bowels. It's embarrassing as well as inconvenient. I know I've heard alot of you had the same problems...can anyone tell me when it ends? Thanks & prayers, Melodie

mp327's picture
Posts: 4148
Joined: Jan 2010

Unfortunately, this seems to vary between each of us. I can only speak from my own personal experience. I am over 3 years out of treatment now and while I don't have accidents, per se, I am not willing to chance passing gas unless I'm in the bathroom. The only time I really feel like I might not be able to control my bowels is if I have a bout with diarrhea, usually caused by something I ate that didn't agree with me.

If your problem seems to be related to diarrhea, you might try routinely taking a half Imodium tablet daily to slow things down. It was also recommended by a poster on another board that children's Imodium is lower strength and can be effective. Also, please remember that diet can have a huge influence on how our bowels act (or act up). Too much fiber is not a good thing and it can be tricky to reach the correct balance. Salads are still not my best friend, so if you are eating salad frequently, you might stop for awhile and see if that helps.

If your muscle tone seems to be weak, then doing Kegel exercises may help. I know they are primarily used to help with bladder incontinence, but when I do them, I notice that it also involves the anal sphincter, therefore, it could possibly help.

The main thing is to not get discouraged. I promise you that things continue to get better with time.

Posts: 475
Joined: Mar 2011

I do not have diarrhea but do have frequent BMs. I am 34 months post treatment for anlal cancer. My last treatment was 01/2009. My oncologist suggested I take immodium daily to help with frequent BMs. He said it would not hurt to take immodium on a regular basis. I take 3 immodiums each morning after my first BM. Also, within the last 3 weeks I started eating ACTIVIA which seems to help plus it tastes good. I like the peach the best. It has probiotics which help regulate your colon. Prior to eating ACTIVIA I was having 4-5 BMs daily. After I started eating ACTIVIA I normally have 2-3 BMs daily. Prior to anal cancer my normal BM habit was 1-2 times daily.

Hope this is of some help.

Posts: 1255
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi, I finished treatment about 7 months ago but unfortunately or sometimes fortunately I had a colostomy put in before treatment and still have it. Its handy with the lack of control but can get in the way at times too. I do though have a BM about 3 times a day and definately depends on what I eat. Though fiber and vege's are good for you I really have to limit how much I eat and that makes a huge difference. It sounds like a pretty comon problem and everyones body heals at different rates. Good luck to you....again, we're all in this boat together!!

melbas's picture
Posts: 43
Joined: Jul 2010

I finally did take immodium today, and I do think I'm going to ad it to my daily regimen of pills. I had to have my daughter in law go buy me underwear...I was down to 4 pairs and I can that many in a single day. I go see my gi doc Thursday, hopefully all the tests he has run on me in the past will show some answers. I've also been sleeping alot again lately, but when I had my last blood work they told me my platelets were very low, so I will probably have to have a transfusion soon. Every time I go to sleep my husband will come and wake me to see why I am sleeping. I've only been out of tx a little over a year, maybe he'll get a clue one day. Prayers, Melodie

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