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Bowel problems after radiation. Does it get better?

Prissy777
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 2014

I just finished 26 rounds of radiation. I am having trouble with frequency of bowel movements with little production. It is so frequent that is in minutes instead of hours. I am taking imodium to help with this. I do not want to get over constipated however. I am now obsessing and worrying that it will be permanent. I find it difficult to work this way and I don't know how I'm going to manage. Can anyone tell me if they had problems after radiation and if they resolved ok? Thank you so much I really appreciate all your help

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1980
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Prissy:

I did not have pelvic radiation only HDR Brachy radiation so I am unable to really help you on this.  They did not want to do pelvic radiation on me because of the future potential scarring as I scar easily.    I do have to say that I get what I call "achy bowels".   Thats the only way I can explain it.   It seems I get a build up every few months or so.   I am 9 years out from my radiation and I am only now experiencing some of the long-term effects from it.   (ureter stent for left kidney).    Scarring is the major factor with radiation and how one scars nobody can pin point that.   All I can say there are good days and bad days.    I also have a tendency to get soft tissue masses which I am experiencing right now (6 cm) and it runs along my bladder, vaginal cuff, and rectum so a lot of my achiness is probably coming from that.

Maybe some of the other ladies here can help you.  I just wanted to respond.   

My best to you.

Kathy

txtrisha55's picture
txtrisha55
Posts: 685
Joined: Apr 2011

 

While I cannot give you any advice on the radiation and the frequency of bowel movements, I can let you know that there are others on the site that may be able to help.  I did not have radiation after my surgery in 2011 because my dr said she did not want to put me through that and we would save it for later if needed.  So far it has not been needed.   I had the other problem of constipation during chemo.  The other ladies will post with some helpful advice shortly. Praying for all. trish

StrongerthanIthought's picture
StrongerthanIthought
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2014

Me too. Frequent movements and not much warning either.  Have had to change clothes more than once.  Also an abdominal pressue that doesn't seem to be related to needing to go. Talked to gyn/onc about these problems about 3 weeks ago. He did internal exam & sent me for CT scan. Thank God - NED. Dr said these are common late effect radiation symptoms. (BUT he had to do some checking to make sure nothing else going on) Nothing much can be done. BUT suggested probiotics as they sometimes ease symptoms, may take several weeks to notice difference.  I'm just starting to think symptoms might be lessening.  Not fun but I'd do the radiation again - doing everything Dr tells me he thinks I should do.

Hope the info helps, 

Barb

Prissy777
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 2014

Thank You everyone for replying. I will buy some probiotics tomorrow I am one week out from radiation completion. I hope in a month this will have cleared up some. How long does it normally take a month or a couple of months?

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2701
Joined: Mar 2013

Prissy, eveyone is different, but I think the probiotics is worth a try.  I took them and I believe they helped.  As I mentioned here before, (you are all probably tired of hearing it) I was able to meet with a dietician who showed me a study of cervical cancer patients, half who took and half who did not take probiotics.  It was astonishing to see what an impact the probiotics had on the women.  With everything crazy we take, this is nothing and is to help rebuild the good environment in your gut.  

 

Lou Ann M's picture
Lou Ann M
Posts: 996
Joined: Feb 2015

i had similar problems for awhile after radiation.. went to my GP and he recomended Metamucil  he said to give my intestines something to munch on.  try it and it actually worked.  I aways kept a change pf clothes in the car and I got a bigger purse were i could stick and exra set in.  i even used Depends for a little while to avoid embaressment.  It does get better so hang in there.  Hugs and prayers, Lou Ann

caedmon22's picture
caedmon22
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2015

hi prissy,

i finished 25 rounds of external pelvic radiation in late june. my bowels were in a snit for a while, but it has gradually (oh so gradually) eased up such that now i am almost never in danger of messing my pants (or my depends ;). bowel activity is not what it used to be...so i guess this is the new normal. but it is nowhere near as strange and inconvenient as it was in the first weeks after radiation stopped. my rad onc also recommended metamucil, but i have found that it causes me so much bloating it's more worrisome and uncomfortable than it's worth. i take probotiocs but honestly have no clue whether it's doing anything or not. bottom line, this too shall pass, at least partially, and you are early days yet.

hugs!

caedmon

Prissy777
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 2014

How long did it take to.get better?..  Thanks

caedmon22's picture
caedmon22
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2015

hey prissy --

for me it took a couple of months to notice that i wasn't having issues so consistently. and now, 3-1/2 months out, it's really minor. the improvement came gradually over time. i didn't do anything to try to "fix" it, tink with my diet or take diarrhea meds etc. it just gradually cleared up on its own. the intestine goes through a lot when it's being irradiated, so it needs some time to calm down. i'm gradually returning to dietary habits i had before all this (it's taking me a while to regroup emotionally so i've been pretty slack about the whole "eat right" thing)...so i'm about to start juicing again. i'm taking probiotics already. doing more whole grains and high fiber veggies etc. greens. no way of knowing from one day to the next how my intestines will react so i'm making changes slowly and just playing it by ear. if your experience is like mine, you'll be feeling better soon. hang in there!

hugs

caedmon

Prissy777
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 2014

Thank you all for the words of encouragement.   It means a lot to me.

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