How to manage radiation-induced diarrhea?

zsazsa1
zsazsa1 Member Posts: 547 Member

Well, it's begun, and I can only assume it's going to get worse.  I'm trying to eat white rice, white potato without the skin, and meat/eggs.  Any other recommendations for what I can/cannot eat?  I already know that I should avoid fiber.

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Comments

  • Sallythatgirl2
    Sallythatgirl2 Member Posts: 1
    edited April 2019 #2
    How to manage radiation- induced diarrhea

    Oh yeah I am dealing with this right now. Everything is a challenge and I learned the fiber thing by accident. I eat rice, potatoes,toast,crackers,bagels,ripe bananas,sugar free jello. I have 2 weeks to go .I wish you well.

  • CheeseQueen57
    CheeseQueen57 Member Posts: 933 Member
    edited April 2019 #3
    Never had diarrhea

    I started taking Culturelle about a week before starting my heavy duty radiation and never had diarrhea.  Never altered my diet. But had bad nausea until I got the meds adjusted. Good luck. 

  • zsazsa1
    zsazsa1 Member Posts: 547 Member
    Welcome to the boards, Sally.

    Welcome to the boards, Sally.  Want to tell us a little about yourself and your journey?

  • MAbound
    MAbound Member Posts: 1,164 Member
    Benefiber

    When I started having diarrhea as a late occuring side-effect of radiation I was advised to take Benefiber and favor foods with soluble fiber over insoluble.  Foods that are a good source of pectin also help. Here are two sources:

    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-soluble-fiber

    https://www.livestrong.com/article/289067-list-of-foods-high-in-pectin/

    I had mild nausea with the diarrhea, too, and sometimes all I could eat for dinner was green beans or oatmeal. I dealt with the diarrhea for over 6 months, but eating this stuff helped to make it less watery and gave me a chance to make it to the bathroom. I was pretty much home bound while it was going on, so my sympathies. Hope this helps.

    CQ is right about the probiotic.

    Lou Ann always advocated for a LO-FODMAP diet, so you might look into that, too.

  • cmb
    cmb Member Posts: 919 Member
    edited April 2019 #6
    Diet

    I have diarrhea at the best of times so things were much worse during chemo and radiation. I did end up following the low fiber, bland diet that the radiation nurse recommended. It was very boring but it worked for me. I posted a copy of this diet in a post last year. See https://csn.cancer.org/node/314626

  • zsazsa1
    zsazsa1 Member Posts: 547 Member
    Thanks.  I just took a look

    Thanks.  I just took a look at it.  I can do that.  I just hope it helps.  I have only gotten through about ten of a planned 28 treatments so far!  I don't know how I'm gonna make it!  The worst is that I have to have a full bladder and an empty rectum for treatment - which is very hard to achieve, when I'm having such bad cramping from diarrhea.  I'm thinking that maybe I just won't eat until after radiation treatment each day.

  • cmb
    cmb Member Posts: 919 Member
    Eating before radiation

    I had my radiation treatments at 9:15 in the morning. I didn't eat or drink coffee (also a diarrhea catalyst for me) until after I had the radiation treatment. 

  • zsazsa1
    zsazsa1 Member Posts: 547 Member
    Now I'm reading about

    Now I'm reading about radiation-induced enteritis, both acute and chronic.  Did anyone have any medication prescribed during treatment to try to protect the bowel cells from radiation injury?  I just don't see how that wouldn't also protect the cancer cells, too, which would undermine the efficacy of treatmtent.

  • suzycruise76
    suzycruise76 Member Posts: 160 Member
    zsazsa1 said:

    Thanks.  I just took a look

    Thanks.  I just took a look at it.  I can do that.  I just hope it helps.  I have only gotten through about ten of a planned 28 treatments so far!  I don't know how I'm gonna make it!  The worst is that I have to have a full bladder and an empty rectum for treatment - which is very hard to achieve, when I'm having such bad cramping from diarrhea.  I'm thinking that maybe I just won't eat until after radiation treatment each day.

    Zsa Zsa

    Zsa Zsa,oh,how I feel for you!I just finished my chemo-radiation,which lasted for 5 weeks,5 days a week,weekends off. I had a similar dilemma to yours,but a bit more complicated:my chemo consisted of pills of Xeloda,which I needed to take at home twice a day,12 hours apart. I had chosen 9AM and 9PM. I HAD to eat 30 minuts prior to swallowing the pills. My radiation had been scheduled every day around noon. I had daily diarrhea,thankfully not watery till the last week.

    But there was still a problem:I would had loved NOT to eat before going to the hospital for radiation,which way I could had prevented bouts of diarrhea...but I must had some food for Xeloda. 

    When I was done with the pills,I had to make sure to have my bladder full...plus I had been taking public transportation to the hospital;now: being worried about having diarrhea and holding my bladder full,and being on time for my appointment it has been stressful as hell!

    I managed by some miracle all of those 25 days without having an embarrasing accident.... Yesterday was my first day of freedom from it!!!

    It is only first part of my cancer journey;there are some tests and many appointments waiting for me,and later a colon tumor surgery.Who knows,what will happened after that?

    Zsa Zsa,I wish you to get through this difficult stage and every other treatments that are waiting for you!

    Suzy

     

  • zsazsa1
    zsazsa1 Member Posts: 547 Member

    Zsa Zsa

    Zsa Zsa,oh,how I feel for you!I just finished my chemo-radiation,which lasted for 5 weeks,5 days a week,weekends off. I had a similar dilemma to yours,but a bit more complicated:my chemo consisted of pills of Xeloda,which I needed to take at home twice a day,12 hours apart. I had chosen 9AM and 9PM. I HAD to eat 30 minuts prior to swallowing the pills. My radiation had been scheduled every day around noon. I had daily diarrhea,thankfully not watery till the last week.

    But there was still a problem:I would had loved NOT to eat before going to the hospital for radiation,which way I could had prevented bouts of diarrhea...but I must had some food for Xeloda. 

    When I was done with the pills,I had to make sure to have my bladder full...plus I had been taking public transportation to the hospital;now: being worried about having diarrhea and holding my bladder full,and being on time for my appointment it has been stressful as hell!

    I managed by some miracle all of those 25 days without having an embarrasing accident.... Yesterday was my first day of freedom from it!!!

    It is only first part of my cancer journey;there are some tests and many appointments waiting for me,and later a colon tumor surgery.Who knows,what will happened after that?

    Zsa Zsa,I wish you to get through this difficult stage and every other treatments that are waiting for you!

    Suzy

     

    I cannot imagine how I would

    I cannot imagine how I would have done this had I been forced to take public transportation to my treatment appointments all through this.  I feel for you, Suzy.

  • Soup52
    Soup52 Member Posts: 908 Member
    I never had diarea with

    I never had diarea with radiation. Idolized the diet too closely and had constipation which:I had a little of before and continue to have.

  • barnyardgal
    barnyardgal Member Posts: 272
    I had diarrhea. It wasn't too

    I had diarrhea. It wasn't too bad, but I took Imodium and probiotics. I did go to work most of the time thru radiation and I was always a little worried since there were only public restooms but fortunately the Imodium worked pretty well. I wasn't thrilled about diarrhea but for me it seemed a breeze compared to the chemo induced constipation. The only thing I ended up with is a small hemorrhoid. 

  • zsazsa1
    zsazsa1 Member Posts: 547 Member
    edited April 2019 #14
    Had a discussion with the

    Had a discussion with the radiation oncologist yesterday.  He said that the treatment I've had thus far (about 12 of the planned 28 treatments) will have been for naught unless I complete it - that there is no efficacy unless I get to ever 4000 (plan is 4500 to nodes, 5000 to vagina).  I don't know what to do.  He said it's unusual to see diarrhea this badly this early, and he couldn't say if it didn't forbode long term diarrhea.  I'm going to add in the probiotic.  I'm already basically eating only rice, white bread, meat.

  • DM_K
    DM_K Member Posts: 51
    I had terrible diarrhea and nausea during radiation

    I found if I ate before radiation and took zofran (which also has a constipation agent) before my treatment it really helped.  Sometimes I needed to take Immodium too and towards the middle of the treatment I had to take lomotil a few times only, it's pretty strong.

     

    Radiation side effects were much more difficult for me than chemo but it's still doable.

  • jan9wils
    jan9wils Member Posts: 180 Member
    zsazsa1 said:

    Had a discussion with the

    Had a discussion with the radiation oncologist yesterday.  He said that the treatment I've had thus far (about 12 of the planned 28 treatments) will have been for naught unless I complete it - that there is no efficacy unless I get to ever 4000 (plan is 4500 to nodes, 5000 to vagina).  I don't know what to do.  He said it's unusual to see diarrhea this badly this early, and he couldn't say if it didn't forbode long term diarrhea.  I'm going to add in the probiotic.  I'm already basically eating only rice, white bread, meat.

    zsazsa1 I too had horrible

    zsazsa1 I too had horrible diarrhea throughout my radiation treatments. Pretty much right from the start. I was told to eat "white" which I did but worried about nutrition. I took lomotil several times a day, a probiotic, and ate a peanut butter sandwich on white bread for lunch. I used a water bottle to clean myself. I was teaching and I saved most of my eating for evenings so I wouldn't embarass myself at work. I completed all of my treatments but the diarrhea persisted for months afterward. I went to a homeopathic pharmacist and he changed my probiotic and recommended B12 and B6 in addition to a multivitamin. Voila! almost overnight I improved. I was excited to eat salads again! I sure hope you can get some relief.

  • zsazsa1
    zsazsa1 Member Posts: 547 Member
    So I did a little reading

    So I did a little reading about probiotics, and in mice it was found that starting the probiotic BEFORE radiation tx seemed to help prevent the damage.  I'm gonna try the Culturelle now, but I wish I had known this!  Also, Jan, what probiotic did the naturopath switch you to?

  • CheeseQueen57
    CheeseQueen57 Member Posts: 933 Member
    zsazsa1 said:

    So I did a little reading

    So I did a little reading about probiotics, and in mice it was found that starting the probiotic BEFORE radiation tx seemed to help prevent the damage.  I'm gonna try the Culturelle now, but I wish I had known this!  Also, Jan, what probiotic did the naturopath switch you to?

    It’s a shame

    you didn’t find the Culturelle info on here because it was pretty widespread when I was going into radiation. And I swear, I had no diarrhea. 

  • jan9wils
    jan9wils Member Posts: 180 Member
    edited April 2019 #19
    zsazsa1 said:

    So I did a little reading

    So I did a little reading about probiotics, and in mice it was found that starting the probiotic BEFORE radiation tx seemed to help prevent the damage.  I'm gonna try the Culturelle now, but I wish I had known this!  Also, Jan, what probiotic did the naturopath switch you to?

    The name of the probiotic is

    The name of the probiotic is UltraFloa Balance by Metagenics taken twice a day. 

  • zsazsa1
    zsazsa1 Member Posts: 547 Member

    It’s a shame

    you didn’t find the Culturelle info on here because it was pretty widespread when I was going into radiation. And I swear, I had no diarrhea. 

    I"m starting it now, but boy

    I"m starting it now, but boy do I wish I had known this beforehand!  According to the mouse study, the probiotic helped if begun before radiation, but not afterwards.  I just had no idea.

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,032 Member
    I gave details on a study

    I gave details on a study that was shared with me pre-radtation: https://csn.cancer.org/node/319319

    There should be more in the Uterine threads. 

    here is the "Let's talk about radiation thread" as we all had a good chat here:  https://csn.cancer.org/node/296985