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Urgent help please

Hi all,

My partner has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer. Mets on his liver. He had a 5 day course of radiotherapy three weeks ago and had his first lot of chemo on Monday (oxaliplatin and 5fu. Rather than the expected diarrhoea he is actually really struggling to go to the loo despite movicol and a lot of fluids. He is not obstructed but is really uncomfortable and anxious. Just wondered if anyone else has been through this. Ironically I’m a stage 3 bowel cancer survivor (14 years all clear) but mine was a very different journey. Would really appreciate any help or advice. Thank you. Rachel :x:


Thanks. Have called the Christie help line but no one very concerned as he’s not obstructing. I think we were wondering if anyone else had a similar experience. Rx


Hi @Rachel69 I was on Oct and 5 FU for 6 months. I think it affects everyone differently. However I did take prune juice/prunes daily, and maybe it’s coincidence but I didn’t suffer from constipation. I can understand hubby’s anxiety. If nothing is working I would call the unit again, as hubby will get very uncomfortable. Hope you can get some help, and sorry I can’t be of any greater assistance to you. Diane :x::x:


Thank you Diane :x:


Hi @Rachael69, I had constant diarrhoea on the cap tablets except in the first three days after the oxaliplatin infusion which actually had the opposite effect and was constipating. It was the only thing that I blessed the oxi for so I reckon it will be that. I will hope that things will get better for him and above all, that he can stop feeling so horribly uncomfortable and anxious.
Hugs, Gypsyxxx


Hi @Rachel69 I’m sorry that you find yourself here but you will receive so much support, love and advice from everyone. I don’t know how I’d have coped without this forum. It helps not to feel so isolated and alone. I hope that your partner will find some relief from his discomfort very soon.

I see that you’re at The Christie, my husband is also treated there. It’s encouraging to hear that you are 14 years clear of bowel cancer. Take care - Elaine :x::x:


Thanks Elaine. So bizarre as I was a patient voice for the charity and did a few campaign launches!!! I was 34 with a three week old baby when I was diagnosed!! It’s very sad to be here again. Rx


Hi there #Rachel69 could you not ring the accute team treating your husband they might recommend a warm bath orsomething els or might want to s e him. Anyway good luck to the pair of you.


Polly 1

Hi @Rachel69 has he tried lactulose? If needed my husband uses that, movicol or senna, kiwi fruit and lots of liquids.


I always became very constipated in the few days after my treatment, so Im sure it's just a normal reaction :x::x:


Thank you, it’s reassuring to know that someone else has had the same. Rxx


Hi @Rachel69 , my hubby has always struggled with bouts of severe constipation post diagnosis. Currently he can only go when he uses 6-8 moviol a day, plus stool softener, plus senna at night, but I must stress this is under medical advice. It may help you to know that that amount is fine though, as Mark adamantly refused to go above any directions on the box, and part of his constipation issues stemmed from this reluctance as he just would not take the high doseage.

There does come a place where enough medication works though, you’ll be pleased to hear!

My advice is definitely to ask your team.....

Sarah :x:

Polly 1

Hi @Rachel69 it's fairly normal to get either constipation or diarrhoea with chemo.

When my husband started chemo they gave us a big bag of medication for antisickness, steroids and both diarrhoea and constipation which seemed strange but you could get either. When on oxaliplatin and 5FU he used to start having senna tablets on the day of infusion and for a few days after with lactulose if needed. He has also been hospitalised overnight once with diarrhoea.

Now he is on 5FU with Cetuximab he dosnt have senna the specialist nurse told him to try having one movicol on day 3 (pump off day) which worked.

You will soon get into a routine for future treatments to keep things moving. All the best :x::x:



Hi there. Yup another one with the same problem. My hubby had a nightmare with constipation during his treatment - sometimes he would cry in agony. I tried hard to give him very healthy food and things like warm water with lemon or food high in anti oxidants to flush it all out. He also took movicol religiously and drank prune juice. It helped a little.

Really thinking of you both. Tiffany :x:


Thanks Tiffany. Feel bad that this makes me feel better but it’s good to know others have had the same problem. Rxx


@Rachel69 i had such bad constipation on my 1st cycle of oxy that i ended up with bad haemaroids ( not spelt correctly). I had cyle 2 oxy yesterday and already have constipation but they gave me some stool loosening tablets this time and they appear to be working.
I think its going to take some jigging around for him to see what works for him.
But he is definitely not alone with this!
Love to yoy both.
Dan :x::x:


Thanks Dan. We tried the prune juice and senna....something’s happening so it’s fingers crossed !! R :x::x:


Hi @Rachel69, my hubby also had the same chemo as your hubby. He also got very constipated and prune juice really helped. He used to drink prune juice from the first day of each cycle so he was already one step ahead of the constipation. Hope he has less problems with future cycles. :x::x:


Oh yeah i started on the prunes yesterday too.


Hello @Rachel69 (and @EssexDan) Pure Pomegranate (PomWonderful) is also good and it’s an antioxidant - for what that’s worth (tis expensive though 😐)


Thanks again everyone. Finally spoke to radiotherapy consultant who said this was a normal reaction to the radiotherapy along with the start of chemo. They are suggesting pregabalin to stop the neuropathy in his bowel and we are currently able to supply the rest of our village with prunes ( I may have overstocked slightly) .

🙏🏻 Rachel, :x::x: