• Diet and Rectal Cancer

    Asked by CrazyHarry on Friday, March 8, 2013

    Diet and Rectal Cancer

    Does anyone out there have a diet that will help keep my pooping regular? I'm on Senna daily with an occasional Miralax. I'm swinging back and forth between diarrhea and constipation.

    Is there a diet out there that works for you that will work for me?

    Docs told me to try a low residue diet. The GI Surgeon told me I was too cuddly and need to lose some weight (30 lbs) before my surgery in 2 months so she can do the procedures laproscopically.

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • LauraJo's Avatar

      Hey Harry,

      Don't know exactly where you are at in your treatment plan, but I have had some real improvement in the last few months by adding a daily probiotic. You would, of course, want to check that with your oncologist. My gastroenterologist said some folks are helped by it, some people not at all.

      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Hi Larry,

      I think LauraJo has an excellent idea re probiotics, but since the GI doc wants you to drop a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time (and I don't know if you're going to want to live at the gym), I think the best think to do (btw, I'm a Medical Librarian, I don't offer medical advice, I offer referrals) is to suggest you see a nutritionist familiar with Rectal Cancer, Ulcerative Colitis, Krohn's disease, etc.

      She/he would be the best person to tell you what would be the foods that would be the least likely to add fat to your body without adding too much of whatever type of fiber might irritate your condition.

      Best of luck to you,

      over 3 years ago
    • cindywho's Avatar

      Hello CrazyHarry I myself am a rectal cancer survivor had 2 surgeries wore a bag for 6 months. I go thru the same ordeal as you are. But I have never had the constipation just the diarrhea but then it goes away. I don't take anything for the diarrhea it only lasts about 3 times to the toilet and then it is gone. I myself take a probiotic called Culturelle and it is working great for me. So the next time you go to your doctor see if you can try and do the probiotic. Good Luck hope to hear from you how things are going. Cindy Burnett rectal cancer survivor going on 4 years.

      over 3 years ago
    • CrazyHarry's Avatar

      My major problems are on the constipation side. When things stop for a day. Very uncomfortable.

      over 3 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      I had a resection for early colon cancer and had/have the same annoying issues. Besides probiotics and yogurt, my doctor had me experiment with Psyllium Fiber (Metamucil). Right now I take the capsules, 2 in the morning and 4 at night. I have really had to experiment. The fiber adds bulk and can help diarrhea if you take less liquid. Take more liquid & fiber fir constipation. Boy did I struggle, even had to quit work. At least my control is a bit better, but if I skip the fiber I am either going a lot or having the opposite problem. I will always need to know where a potty is at a moment's notice, but I am at least more comfortable now. I hope your issues get resolved and you seek out professional diet advice. Good luck to you!

      over 3 years ago
    • NanaL's Avatar

      Hey Harry, I also had rectal cancer which spread to my lungs and I have a permanent colostomy. The chemo totally screws up my digestive tract. I recently under the advice of my oncologist started taking Align which is a probiotic you can buy over the counter. I'm on my second week and I think that it's helping. I still take 1 to 2 senna pills each night and it seems to keep things moving. I know how frustrating this can be. I also have put on weight and need to figure out how to cut out the carbs and salty foods. I get steroids every two weeks with my chemo so that certainly doesn't help. I find when I'm nausea crackers or something salty helps. Please let me know or post if you get some good diet tips. I love salads and fruit but can only eat them sparingly as it gives me diarrhea. Good luck and keep us posted.

      over 3 years ago
    • joyce1979's Avatar

      Hi, there, I don't have the constipation but do have loose bowels which seem to just happen. Have noticed when I eat shredded lettuce, I have bathroom issues. When I eat yogurt, I feel better. During the holidays, I had prime rib, salad, and baked potato. I was in bathroom trouble for 3 days. First constipation & then loose b.m.'s. I think I will try the probiotics as I have used them in the past when taking antibiotics (to prevent yeast infections.). Usually this happens in the evening: after 3 or 4 trots to the bathroom, I take an Imodium. Also hope this helps. Oh, nice to hear from people with rectal cancer ( since we are grouped with colon cancer.)

      over 3 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar
      Nomadicme (Best Answer!)

      I've dealt with constipation all my life. It was the worst ever after my mastectomy operation (10 days no movement, due to pain killers and anesthesia). It was worse than anything else.

      What works for me is fiber. I chug a glass of water with 2 tablespoons of psyllium husks (active ingredient in Metamucil, much cheaper), followed by a glass of water 3 times a day (and drink more water in between). I've been told by friends I've given the mix to that it's disgusting, obviously they don't suffer from ad constipation.

      During my 10 day ordeal I used glycerine suppositories which didn't get things moving, but I think saved my rectum. Maybe they will work for you? (I think I didn't go deep enough or held it for long enough). I believe glycerine is an inert substance, so it shouldn't interfere with your cancer, but I'd check with the pharmacist and/or another healthcare provider.

      Weight loss, is that ever difficult! I've been using myfitnesspal (free app) to keep track of all I eat. It has helped me lose 10 lbs in a month (have you seen "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead"? Both men in the movie lost over 80 lbs in 60 days, not sure if that's too healthy, and I certainly don't have that kind of willpower).

      over 3 years ago
    • SherriqFL's Avatar

      My daughter is just starting this process and the chemo. We have found juicing as a way for her to get nutrition. We bought a juicer from amazon.com home delivery. You can buy organic veggies at almost any grocery store now. This may help you with the weight loss. Maybe juicing will help take away some cravings that aren't good for you. There are online books with receipes to fight cancer. Here is what I posted as caregiver:

      All I can say to everyone is juicing makes an incredible difference. There are receipes dedicated to cancers. We found that the stem of a pineapple about the first 2 inches from the yellow portion where the leaves are connected is an actual cancer fighting food. Who knew? Not me. You have to pull off the leaves and then you have a pure white stalk that according to books is to be juiced. You can add other veggies to it or have it along with the yellow fruit section. But don’t throw it away…

      over 3 years ago

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