I've been having increasing problems with my large colon and lower bowel during chemo - irritation, bloating, pain, wind (gas) etc etc. My GP feels the chemo is causing this - said this was the most frequent issue raised by cancer patients she sees. The inner surface of the colon is losing cells from the chemo and becomes inflamed by the irritation. It seems to be cumulative - worse now after 4 cycles than at the beginning and I remember this happening to some extent with my 1st line treatment. She prescribed a relaxant (for the colon etc) and also following something like a low residue diet - plenty of carbohydrates but no wholemeal bread or pasta etc, no raw veg, little fruit or veg generally, no foliate veg eg broccoli, no nuts, seeds - in other words a very bland diet and all cooked if possible. This of course is the opposite of what I normally eat and what is usually described as healthy these days. It will certainly lead to constipation! However, I'll give it a try as I'm pretty uncomfortable at the moment and would like to go on holiday in about 12 days time. Has anyone else had this problem and solved it with this approach?
My gyn/onc surgeon instructs all his patients to follow the low residue diet for 2-3 weeks after surgery. I had my ovaries and tubes removed laparoscopically and followed the low residue diet for almost 2 weeks. Amazingly, my digestive system was better than it had been for years. No gas, no constipation, little bloating, no diarrhea...things I have always had in the past. As soon as I added some fruit and other things in a few days ago because I got bored with the diet, I had some bloating and gas cramps. I think the diet may have its merits. Just my own personal experience with it.
That's very interesting. Because I noticed after treatment 4 that I was sooo bloated again. Now I know why.
Of course I am an IBS constipation sufferer and not new to a life of bloat and discomfort. After all doctors recommended a high fiber high residue diet I found that the more fiber I eat the worse I feel. So yes, low-residue diet (or little or no food) does the trick. That's why chocolate is so good :) Now I am trying to balance it somehow. I still eat the veggies etc because I think it's important but I learned how to dose it and time it.
Thanks for getting back on this - interesting you have the same sensations. I also had IBS/constipation before the ovca like you milashka and was indeed a late diagnosis as a result. Do you have fruit/veg juices? Advice I found on the net said you could have these (apart from prune juice!) provided all the pulp was sieved out. Interested that you didn't have constipation oceanbreeze - that's the bit I most dread. I've got to think about how to tackle that without irritating my bowel. Do you think it best to take something with fibre in or not (to help any constipation)? I appear to be able to eat quite a bit but mostly from the white bread/rice/pasta group with some meat/fish/cheese etc. I think it's mainly about removing some of the main culprits - veg like broccoli (foliates), seeds, nuts, peas, lentils etc, plus the wholemeal type carbos, seedy fruit and veg and/or with skins. Any others you know of? I'm really going to have to think hard how to vary the food! Cheers, Jenny
So did you have IBS symptoms that covered up the OvCa symptoms? That is what happened to me.
I do not drink any fruit juices, too sweet for my taste. I make cranberry juice from concentrate, with no added sugar. I used to drink prune juice but can confirm that it made me feel bloated.
The food to avoid, for me, comes from both lists: lentils, beans, oats, nuts, pasta, white bread, cheese, bananas.
BTW I had "diarrhea" (meaning 2-3 BMs per day) from the chemo for about 3 days after treatment (felt like an intestinal flu), then back to normal. I was horrified of more constipation with my already sluggish gut but it was only slightly worse then what I have been experiencing for years. I never had any problem with blockage. My oncologist told me to take a laxative every day unless I knew I can move my bowels without it...which I cannot. So I drank "get regular" tea every night and was fine.
Did your doctor give you a copy of the low residue diet? My doc gave me a list of everything that was allowed and all foods to avoid. Also a sample meal pattern: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I know you can have any fruit or vegetable juice without pulp except prune juice.
If you want the whole list, let me know and I'll post it for you.
Well I've been on the low residue thing for about 48 hours now and it does seen to be helping - my large colon has calmed down a lot tho' my lower bowel was a bit painful today. It's very kind of you Christina (oceanbreeze) to offer a copy of your food list - I live in the UK so it might be a bit expensive to send it. I've printed off some stuff from the net - some different items on the lists but mostly the same. My email address is ***@**** but don't feel obliged. I'm not sure if the IBS covered the cancer developing but it certainly led my GP down the wrong track especially as I had a u/s scan early on to check my ovaries which came up negative, so that counted ovca or cysts out for some months. Guess it was just too early for anything to show up. Anyway that's long ago and I have to live with now. I hope the chemo (just on carboplatin for the last 2 cycles) won't make things any worse and that my guts can last out! Jenny
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