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Post-chemo, is this normal for my bowels?

MargaritaSalsa's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: May 2013

Hey, guys. A tiny bit of background. I'm a 26 year old female who had stage 3 colon cancer found mid-January this year. I had a partial colectomy and have 40% of my colon left and hooked up normally (no ileostomy or bag). I was on FOLFOX and completed 10 of the 12 treatments, albeit not always on schedule. The last treatment was completed the first week of August. I should also mention I have Lynch Syndrome and have had IBS for as long as I can remember.

My bowels were functioning alright after the chemo ended, although for a few weeks I felt I had overrun of candida and took some herbal supplements for that, as well as drinking kefir, which fixed the problem. I had be experiencing diarrhea, piecy stools, and undigested food and yellow bile colors.

Now my bowels are being weird again for the most part. It doesn't seem 100% like it was when I had the candida. I have diarrhea fairly often, I have at least 5 BMs a day, and it's always got undigested food in it. But I also experience the feeling of needing to poop and nothing comes out. It's also been yellow cloudy, almost like how miso soup looks? I can't see the stool in the bottom of the toilet through all of the cloudiness. I'm trying to also take oregano leaf extract because I heard it helps with digestive issues. But if I eat pho or salads, I see lots of leaves and ingredients in the toilet. It's like I'm actually pooping the food back out. Which leads me to feel like my body is obviously not absorbing nutrition properly. I often feel tired, especially by 1-2 p.m. (I do work full time, albeit an office job), and lately I've been taking B12 sublingualy to help with that, which I think it does a bit.

I just keep telling myself I'm only 9 months post-surgery and 2 months post-chemo treatments, but I still get worried. It's almost like I've convinced myself that diahrrea isn't even natural, that having a stomach ache is wrong. Every twinge and every stopped-up feeling makes me just think "recurrence," which I know is pretty illogical. I can't help it though and it's making me anxious. My post-chemo scans were clear and I have my 3 month follow-up scans next week.

I just want to know how normal this is, or is it something to worry about? Thank you so much for reading and for any responses.

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5458
Joined: Jan 2013

My bowels have been all over the place since I finished treatment. Luckily no more diarrhea since the radiation, but when I have to go I have to go RIGHT AWAY, the bowel is not interested in waiting; thus I usually make sure I'm close to a loo at all times. 

Still, I haven't felt that my symptoms were worrying, so if I was you, I'd give the Oncologist a quick call and ask if what you are experiencing is normal.

Best put your mind at ease. 

Good luck, and let us know how you're doing. 

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6711
Joined: Feb 2009

I'm a big vegetable eater with tomatoes and a daily salad and almost everyday there is undigested tomato skins and lettuce floating.  Some things just tend to go through without being digested.  Corn never breaks down that is why ostomy people are told never to eat corn or mushrooms or peels from anything because it comes out undigested and could block the stoma opening.  Call your doctor or surgeon and ask them what they think if you are still concerned.  Never hurts to ask.  My stools are almost always loose. 


Posts: 271
Joined: Nov 2011

I'd ask to have a test for C-Diff.  This doesn't sound right at all to me.



Posts: 529
Joined: Nov 2007



I am almost six years out of treatmet for stage 3 colon cancer.  I still have to watch what I eat.  Lettuce, any type of pepper with skin on, are particularly hard for me to fully digest.  Many of the things you described I still have depending on what I eat, the day, the month, the year or nothing at all.  Talk to your oncologist about your concerns, but sounds like you are doing really well.  You seem to gravitate toward herbal remedies which is great, but immodium can come in really handy.

p.s.  I just spent a month in France eating everything and anything, cause some intestinal problems but - what a wonderful month.

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2012

I am now three years out of treatment for stage 3 colon cancer. My understanding is that the chance of recurrence/metastasis drops rapidly after two years. It's also my understanding that 5 years after, the chance is almost negligible.

Posts: 26
Joined: May 2012

I have been having issue 1.5 years post surgery and I had 3 bouts of c-diff in the past. You get a lot of gurgling and rumbling with that, go about 10-15 times a day, and get the old diff-whiff smell with that. I saw my GI doc last week and we talked about my consistency. He gave me a month supply of VSL3, a probiotic, and toldme to take that 2 times a day along with metamucil. S nice then I have been alot better. Also avoid dairy and gassy veggies. I hope you can get some relief. my tumor was by the appendix so they took out the ileocecal valve during surgery so there is nothing to slow down the process to absorb more moisture. Hell, I look at corn as a gret diet food. If you put nothing on it, it fills you up and you pass everything.

good luck,


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