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Diarrhea... help

Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2017

I’m  getting radiation treatments everyday and have suffered with diarrhea since the first treatment. It has gotten progressively worse to the point where I am barely eating. I had a bite of banana and 1/2 English muffin for lunch. 20 minutes later I had such an attack of diarrhea that it made me weep. I take 2 Imodium before I have a slight breakfast then 1 pill after every bout. For the most part I am done eating for today. I don’t have any appetite. I’ve tried all the nutritional drinks I can think of. They all made me nauseous and again diarrhea shortly after I drank them. 

I know I should be eating and drinking more but I can’t figure out how. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


ckdgedmom's picture
Posts: 166
Joined: Oct 2017

definitely discuss this with your radiology oncologist...in fact I would call them today and see if you can talk to a nurse...

I never had severe diarrhea like you are experiencing but many times I was nauseous as well so I took Zofran and that helped the nausea and stopped the diarrhea...

hang in there...wish I had more to offer...see if maybe they can get you an Rx...

Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2017

I didn’t know Zofran could help with diarrhea. I’ll ask about it.

Any tips for easy to eat foods? Basically I’m down to mashed potatoes and popsicles.


ckdgedmom's picture
Posts: 166
Joined: Oct 2017

my nurse at radiology suggested it because it will plug you up...I had plenty leftover from chemo so I just took one when I got the nausea/diarrhea

are you on a probiotic?  that will help too...

when my kids were little it was always bananas, rice, applesauce and toast...don't do anything with milk or a lot of fiber...

a baked potato might help? eggs? so you get some protein?

oh girl I hate that you are going through this...

maybe they can prescribe you some Lomotil...that is fo diahrrea...

Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2017

Yes I am taking a probiotic. After my treatment today I got an IV to help with dehydration. Luckily my electrolytes were good thanks to bananas and GatorAid. I’m going to try taking the Zofran 3 times a day to see of it’ll stop things up. Also just got a new prescription for Lamotil. 

Thanks for all your support.

CheeseQueen57's picture
Posts: 802
Joined: Feb 2016

I took Culturelle and never experienced diarrhea during radiation. Good luck. 

cmb's picture
Posts: 357
Joined: Jan 2018

I've dealt with diarrhea ever since I started on Metformin a few years ago. I had several bad bouts while on chemo, for which I took Imodium.

Knowing my tendency, I was worried about diarrhea when I was about to start radiation. But the nurse gave me a low fiber, bland diet plan to follow. The one time I deviated (fresh tomatoes from the farmers market) I immediately had diarrhea. After that I stuck with the diet. It was a boring five weeks, but it did work for me. I've included the plan given to me below, in the hope that it may give you some other foods to try (and avoid). 

Radiation Treatment Low Fiber, Bland Diet  


Foods Allowed

Foods to Avoid

Milk/Milk Products

Skim or lowfat milk and milk and milk beverages, plain or flavored yogurt if permitted by your doctor

Yogurt containing fruits that are not allowed


Beef, lamb, veal, poultry, pork, canned ham, fish and liver. Meat should be baked, broiled, boiled or pan fried in a small amount of oil

Rare meat, sausages, hot dogs, cold cuts and any other spiced, cured or smoked meat or fish


Eggs prepared any way



Lowfat cottage cheese, lowfat cream cheese processed cheese and any mild flavored cheese (American, Swiss or Muenster)

Strong flavored cheese

Potato or Substitute

Boiled, broiled, creamed, mashed, scalloped, and baked white or sweet potatoes without skin, macaroni, noodles, spaghetti and white rice

Potato skins, and potato chips, French fries


Canned or cooked: asparagus, green and wax beans, beets, carrots, eggplant, mushrooms, pimiento, pumpkin, spinach, winter squash and tomato sauce

Raw vegetables or salads. Peas, com, cucumbers, all dried legumes and gas-producing vegetables like baked beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, green pepper, and onions


Applesauce, bananas, and cooked or canned fruit

All other fresh fruits, and dried fruits including raisins, berries, figs, coconut, and pomegranates


Apple juice, cranberry juice, apricot or peach nectar

All others including orange juice


Bread or toast: French, Vienna, refined whole wheat, light rye without seeds. Melba toast, rusk, zwieback, white or graham crackers, plain crackers without seasoning or seeds for hard rolls, plain sweet rolls, plain coffee cake, waffles, pancakes, cornbread, and French toast

Coarse whole wheat, whole grain, bran, rye breads and grains, dinner or sweet rolls with nuts, fruit or seeds


Dry puffed wheat or rice cereals; cream of rice, cream of wheat, farina, hominy grits, Malt-0- Meal, and oatmeal

All dry bran, granola and wheat cereals or cereals made from prohibited flours and foods

Fats (use minimally)

Crisp bacon, butter, margarine, oils, cream dry cream substitutes mayonnaise, shortenings, smooth salad dressings, sour cream, smooth gravy, and white sauce

Salad dressings made with prohibited ingredients and tartar sauce


Cream and broth based soups made with allowed ingredients

All others


Custard, gelatin, ice cream, sherbet, bread pudding, rice pudding, tapioca and other plain puddings, frosted or unfrosted cakes and cookies, and pie made with allowed foods

Any dessert containing nuts, seeds, raisins, coconut, or fruits not allowed


Salt, allspice, cinnamon, mace, monosodium glutamate, paprika, sage, and thyme, all flavoring extracts, and chocolate

Pepper, chili powder, cloves, dry mustard, horseradish, nutmeg, garlic and onion seasoning, and all other spices and herbs


Fruit-flavored drinks, decaffeinated coffee, weak tea, coffee with milk or cream limited to one cup with meals as tolerated

All others including alcohol and carbonated beverages


Jams, jellies and preserves without seeds or skins, sugar, syrup, honey, hard candy, smooth cream candy, smooth peanut butter, and marshmallows

Nuts, popcorn, olives, pickles; chili sauce, soy sauce, Tabasco, Worcestershire and other meat sauces, and prepared mustard

Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2017

Thanks for th suggestions. I’ve been trying this diet yet still the diarrhea persists. I can’t stand the smell of most of the proteins like eggs, chicken, etc. mainly eating bananas and potatoes as even toast (white bread) starts things up. I did get a new prescription today. Hopefully it will help and I can eat more.

Thanks again for the feedback.

cmb's picture
Posts: 357
Joined: Jan 2018

I really hope that the new prescription helps. I didn't have nausea or the sensitivity to food smells during radiation, but I had both during chemo, in addition to the diarrhea. For me, anti-nausea medication and Imodium did help (although I still hated to go to the grocery store and smell the food there!). 

Jairoldi's picture
Posts: 204
Joined: May 2017

My radiologist recommended Metamucil along with immodium. The Metamucil adds bulk to the stool.

Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2017

Thanks I’ll try it. 

cmb's picture
Posts: 357
Joined: Jan 2018

My instructions from the radiologist also said to take Metamucil. I only used it a couple of times because it seemed to actually cause diarrhea, perhaps because I already have a tendency towards loose stools,


When I told the nurse, she recommended that I take the one teaspoon of Metamucil in only 4 oz of water, not the 8 oz of water listed on the instruction sheet. I have to admit that since the low fiber/bland diet was controlling the diarrhea for me, I never tried the Metamucil again. So I can't say if the revised amount of water would have made a difference or not, but I'm passing her advice along in case it helps.

Soup52's picture
Posts: 901
Joined: Jan 2016

I was the total opposite and had constipation. I followed the low fiber diet too strictly. For me multiple abdominal surgeries, radiation and chemo have given me lifelong constipation, but I a, alive! I see a gastroenterologist and have learned ways to deal with it.

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