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chronic diarrhea resulting from radiation treatment 30 yrs ago

  My mother had cobalt radiation 30 years ago which saved her life, but over the years, she's had increasing problems with chronic diarrhea.  It's now life-threatening, as she has lost 30 pounds in the last six months and is down to 82 pounds.  She's also vomiting several times a week.  Her digestive system seems to be completely worn down and she is quite weak.  Tests ruled out any other disease.   Her doctors haven't offered much in the way of treatment.  Is there anything that can be done?
Dear jean,
I am uncertain that all of the current symptoms ( vomiting and diarrhea) experienced by your mother can be explained on the basis of the previous radiation therapy.  It is possible that your mother has a radiation-induced stricture ( obstruction) as the cause of the vomiting.  If this is the explanation, then an abnormality should have been seen on one of the abdominal x-rays.  The diarrhea could be due to radiation colitis but it would be unusual to also have vomiting.
I suggest that you talk with your mother's doctor regarding a repeat search for treatable causes for her symptoms.
This information is presented for educational purposes.  Always ask specific questions to your personal physician.
*keywords: radiation

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