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Chemo Update & Constipation

Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

Received carboplatin on Tues and doing ok so far.  Today, day 2, feeling a little more tired today and the constipation seems to be a problem.  I took Colace and 2 Senokots this morning and will get Miralax later today but drinking tons of water so hopefully things will get moving soon. 

Anti-nausea meds work great so I am glad about that.  I take 1 before I get up in the morning and then another 8 hrs later. 

Need advice about the constipation to get ahead of it next treatment on Nov 15 which will include taxol also.  How did you ladies take the Colace and Senokots during your treatment that helped keep the constipation away?  Maryanne

Posts: 800
Joined: May 2016

My first chemo i wasnt prepared for the constipation as much as the other ones.  I think if i remember right i started taking colace when i started noticing the symptoms.  It was a little too late and it took quite a few days to have a bowel moement and it wasnt pleasant.  I learned my leason.  I took the colace with me to my next doctors apt and asked him if i could take it the day of my infusion.  He said yes and i took the pill right then because i was doing chemo that day.  from then on i just took it the morning of my infusions and for a few days after too.  Sometimes i would take Miralax instead.  Both seemed to work for me. 

Hope that clears up for you soon.


Editgrl's picture
Posts: 903
Joined: Jun 2015

It may take a while for things to get moving again.  My infusions were on Friday, and usually it was Monday or Tuesday before I had a bowel movement.  After the first go round, I started taking Miralax the before chemo and continuing for a 3 or 4 days.  It's my understanding that Miralax takes a while to become effective.  With the exception of one session, even with my preparation, my digestive system just seemed to stop the day of chemo, but I was far more comfortable after I added Miralax to my regimen.  I also had a fairly fruit and vegetable heavy diet that I think helped as well.  I occasionally used Smooth Move tea, too, which was a pleasant way to get some senna into the system.

After that first go round, as long as I wasn't uncomfortable,  I didn't stress over whether I had "gone" that day or not, and my body eventually figured things out, with a bit of help.  Usually by the end of the first week, things were pretty much back to normal.

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

I have never been as pro-active as I should be with this problem.  My first oncologist recomened Senna-s ( generic Sennekot).  My second and present oncologist recommended Myralax.  Both worked but I didn't start using them until I needed them.  I was always afraid I would need to go while I was on the road or have to go while I was at my appointments.  Last year after an open bowel resection I was,told to take colace every day to,keep.things moving. 

My first line treatment was the sandwich and the first time I met with my radioligist he ask me if I had any disestive issues and I said constipation.  He,replied with a rather sly grin, " I can cure that for you", and he sure did! for the time I had external radiation.

luckily it seems to go away when chemo is finished.

Hugs and prayers, Lou Ann

Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

Thank u for the really good advice.  I bought some Miralax today and things r kind of going, hopefully tomorrow it will be better.  Trying to stay on top of things but you never know which side effects you will have but it seems like constipation is a very common one. Maryanne 

Posts: 529
Joined: Oct 2016

it was truly awful because I tend to naturally have a bit of a problem in that area ;)  Like the others mentioned I stayed on top of it- I also used smooth move tea and ate similiarly to Editgrl.  I still found the 1st couple of days really challenging!  Good for you being so on top of it and drinking plenty of water- I think you'll find things much easier :D 

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers <3  (((HUGS)))


EZLiving66's picture
Posts: 1434
Joined: Oct 2015

I took the Miralax before my first chemo but chemo made my IBS even worse so I had to use Immodium to stop my poor digestive system from going into triple overdrive.   However,  I took too much and for the first time in my life,  I was constipated.  I quit taking anything and went back to my good ole self in about 24 hours.  It may not be perfect,  but at least I'm familiar dealing with the IBS.

Good luck!!!! 



DrienneB's picture
Posts: 186
Joined: Aug 2013

It was truly awful and like I'd never experienced in my life. I got in the habit of cubing a couple of watermelons and storing in the fridge the day before each treatment. Besides drinking water, I would plow through those watermelon chunks in the days following, and it helped. I also used a stool softener called "DulcoEase Pink" which contained docusate sodium, as recommended by nurse practitioner. I used Miralax a coule of times as well. 

Soup52's picture
Posts: 903
Joined: Jan 2016

I've done it all and constipation continues to be a problem for me though not as bad as during chemo and radiation. 

Kvdyson's picture
Posts: 789
Joined: Jan 2016

I took Miralax 2x/day during treatments after a terrible bout on constipation following my first chemo treatment. The oncology nurses gave me their "secret" emergency mixture to help with that episode. Here it is in case you ever need it (it tastes horrible but it works pretty quickly):

1 cap full of Miralax (the cap that comes with the Miralax bottle) + 1 cap full of Milk of Magnesia (the cap that comes with the MOM bottle) + 2 MOM caps full of prune juice. Pour all ingredients into a microwave-safe cup and warm in the microwave. Stir then drink. If you don't feel something moving down there within an hour, do it one more time. It worked like a charm for me. Hope you never need to try it!


SandyD's picture
Posts: 130
Joined: Oct 2015

I've always had a problem with the kind of IBS that cycles between constipation and diarrhea. Starting after surgery and throughout chemo I had severe constipation. In addition to the senokot and collace that I took throughout chemo, after surgery I was advised by one of the nurses to try prune juice that I'd warmed. It generally worked within 1-2 hours although I generally upped my liquid consumption and ate some high fiber food (like an apple) as well.

Posts: 72
Joined: Sep 2016

I just had #2 chemo of taxol/carbo on Wednesday.  Had worse constipation ever next day, but got through it.  (or it got through me, LOL)  As advised by my doc's PA, I will now be taking colace regularly throughout treatment, really watching what I eat, and eating small amounts throughout the day.  Drinking tons of fluids is a constant, too.  All this has helped already, making me a much happier person!    Hope you find relief, too...~LL

NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Mar 2013

Just my two cents, I used Miralax the morning of chemo and I think twice or three times a day for the first few days after chemo.  It is higher than what is recommended on the bottle, but if I recall, my chemo nurse told me it was fine.  (I remember hearing one woman say in the chemo room, "Miralax is a miracle")  Good luck!

Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

It's getting better. I took Miralax twice yesterday and that seemed to help get things moving a little. Maryanne 

Posts: 257
Joined: Aug 2016

Second day after chemo and my mom is starting to feel the side effects--> an upset stomach (she describes it as something moving), some nausea throughout the day, fatigue, and a bout of dizziness when she woke up this morning. She seems to be able to bowel movements with her intake of colace, prune juice, and a cap of Miralax.

How bad was it for you guys on the 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the worst? For my mom, she says it's about a 2 to 3.


Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

Hi Rebecca - It was about an 8 until I started taking Miralax.  Very miserable!!  I take it 2x a day now with the Colace and Senokot and it has been working great so now I know to keep taking it and hopefully prevent constipation.  On the advice from the ladies here, I also took my anti-nausea before I got up first thing in the morning.  I was able to stop them after 4 days and have been good since, eating everything I can.  I only had the Carboplatin for my 1st chemo but on Nov 15 my dr is adding the Taxol so it may give me more side effects but I am hoping not many.  Prayers for your mom that she starts to feel better soon!!  Hugs, Maryanne

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