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11 year rectal cancer survivor. multiple trips to bathroom daily. looking for solutions via food & alternate pain therapy.

Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2003

My husband had chemo, radiation & surgery in 2001. His intestines are often blocked or just the opposite. He takes mineral oil or Imodium depending on the situation. When he has too many trips to the bathroom in a day, the pain sets in. The pills he takes for the pain ease that problem, but cause others. I'm looking for an alternative (drug free?)therapy for his pain that would not have unwanted side effects. I'd also like to find a list of foods/beverages and their effects on the intestines. (whether they firm or loosen things up) We bought a bidet seat for home and a travel bidet he takes to work that have helped a lot.

God bless you all! Thanks.

Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

My husband had ulcerative colitis for years. His life revolved around chronic diarrhea. Psyllium husks worked well for him. This is the ingredient in Metamucil. People think this is taken for constipation only but it works well for diarrhea too. If constipated it will loosen the stool, if stool is loose it will create a binding affect. My husband took two Metamucil tabs there times a day. If doing well, twice a day. You can also get just psyllium husks at a bulk food store and mix it with water. Tastes awful but is cheaper than Metamucil capsules. Also, pro-biotics (acidophalous etc...) taken with meals will help restore the good bacteria in his intestine. Takes about 2 - 3 wks before you notice an improvement. With the psyllium, it should help right away.

Good luck,

The psyllium husk (even in the form of Metamucil capsules) is considered food vs. medication.

ron50's picture
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

First up congratulations on the 11 years. Second commiserations on the state of your digestive system. I am nearly at 15 years . I was colon so did not have radiation just surgery and a year of chemo. I had irritable bowel before ca and still have it.
I take proton pump inhibitors every day to protect my stomach otherwise I constantly suffer from ulcers. I have up to ten bms a day. If I take too much imodium I suffer much much worse so I tend to try to eat things that pass easy. I always start my day with rolled oats , they bulk up and stop me feeling hungry thru the day. I eat fruit tho I try to avoid the very acid ones. Things like cherries and berries are good. I tend to avoid nuts as they tend to upset my system. Fish and chicken are ok. I love red meat but don't over do it. I love cheese but find that if I eat it I will suffer. I avoid opiates {codeine} and just take standard paraceteamol for pain. It does not help much but at least it does not constipate me like codeine. I avoid alcohol as it upsets my system. I have tried going to the doctor for help but they are not versed in long term cancer survival. To them diahorrea is just that and constipation likewise and the common treatments just don't work for us. The Bidet idea sounds really good I just never leave home without my tube of savlon cream. I wish I could be of more help, sometimes I feel like putting a blackboard in my loo and making a list of things I should not have eaten,Hugs Ron.

Posts: 10
Joined: Nov 2012

AS777 What diet is your husband doing?
I was going 20 times a day, until my onc put me on a diet chart and I started noticing what food sent me to the bathroom and what food made me go once a day. Stay away from high fiber diet and start with a low residue diet. Perhaps he should go vegan, even stopping milk and dairy products to see if it works. Watch the documentary "Fork over Knife" and Read the book "Life over Cancer" which discuss a great deal about diet and nutrition. My husband makes soup for me and food with lot of herbs and turmeric (cancer beater), and no spices at all. I am doing great with that.

Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2012

My onc has been working with me on side effects of treatments. She has just started me on colestipol Hcl 1 gm. She said that it should help with the frequency and diarrhea. I am still trying to figure out how much to take . She suggested 1-3 tablets twice a day. It seems to constipated if I take too much. Good luck !

Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

So good to know that some docs help patients with these issues. Hope things improve

Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2020

I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer 22 years ago this week. I was extremely blessed in that I caught it very early. Treatment consisted of 2 surgeries, no chemo or radiation. Nevertheless, it has lifelong consequences which are getting worse with age. I have taken Imodium on a semi-regular basis for all these years and now find I am needing it more often and in higher quantities. My surgeon told me long ago that there was no problem taking it continually; however, lately I've wondered if it truly is safe on such a long term scale. I feel like my system may not be working right anymore and worry about the effects of so much Imodium. As an earlier comment said, " I have tried going to the doctor for help but they are not versed in long term cancer survival. To them diahorrea is just that and constipation likewise and the common treatments just don't work for us." Does anyone have any knowledge that might help me?

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5459
Joined: Jan 2013

22 year survival is great.  Congratulations!

I know people outside the Cancer community rarely understand the long-term side effects and of course, its not something that is talked about in the usual everyday conversation.  "How are you today?" "Oh, it is a bathroom day for me. And I didn't make it, earlier." Yeah, not something that we usually say, is it.  

It is also true what you say about Doctor's. They rarely if ever, understand what we go through. 

I agree with Danker about the BRAT diet.  

Across the six wonderful years I have been NED, I have kept a list of foods that cause the loose bowel, and of course, know when I am not eating right, which causes the constipation. I still haven't nailed it, though; and just yesterday 'didn't make it in time'.  Ah, it puts a bit of a damper on activities, when you can't guarentee you're going to have a normal day.  I guess we all have to figure out what works best for our bodies and do the best we can. 

You have posted to a very old thread, and if you would like, could start your very own thread, as I think your question is excellent, and may generate more replies if it is new.  Here is the forum home page, where you can start your own thread 



Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2020

Thank you! I'll try the forum.

Helen321's picture
Posts: 1428
Joined: May 2012

Seeing some of the names on these old threads make me cry.  Oh the late nights of craziness.  Ron hasn't been on in a year=(  I wish I had asked for his personal info.

Posts: 1282
Joined: Apr 2012

Try the BRAT diet for a few days and see what effect it has,   Brat is bananas,rice,apple sauce, and toast.  Also maybe he should try LOMOTIL for diarrhea.

You need a prescription for it .but two pills stop diarrhea cold!

Hope this helps his problems!!

worriedson714's picture
Posts: 278
Joined: Dec 2019

My dad uses Senokot dual action when he has trouble going hope it helps I watched my dad for the most part live in a bathroom for a year its rough good luck to your husband and you . 

Posts: 147
Joined: Jun 2018

i started taking x1 teaspoon of Bentonite clay in a glass of water every day in April. i found it helped with firming up and going less. now in August i take it if i notice i am starting to go alot again. if you try this put the water in the glass first then add the clay . if you put the clay in the glass then add water it is harder to mix and goes lumpy. if you are taking supplements don't take at the same time. it's meant to help with good gut health which is why i started taking it . also found after a 6 week shut down here with only powdered coffee to drink at home having a strong cafe coffee when the cafes reopened was not good. turns out coffee can have a laxitive effect Frown 

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