Ask the Nurse

If you have a question for our nurses, please post it here or email nurse@bowelcanceruk.org.uk. Typically you will receive a response within 2-4 working days. Please note this is for non-urgent enquiries only. If you are feeling unwell please contact your hospital team or GP.

Posts in this section can only be replied to by the nurses. If you wish other users to respond to your question you will need to post it in another topic on the community as well.

Yvonne

Abdominal pain.

Hi, my abdomen feels very sore . I’ve had a bad week with pain, a sulky bowel/stoma and inconsistent output. I’ve been drinking lots of fluids and eating very little to persuade things to soften up. A week ago, the pain was initially so bad I had to call 111 and I was booked in to go to the hospital if things didn’t improve. I was given Buscupan and Codeine (Cod only if I needed). On examination I was guarding. There was no output from my stoma and I was in agony. I was advised to drink fluids for 24 hours. 60 hours and I had a bowel movement. I’ve seen the GP post 111 too. Stoma nurse advised Movicol which moved things along. My bowel is still very sluggish and keeps going to sleep - more than it should do! I’ve restarted Senna and I’m trying to increase/maintain fluid intake with some success. What concerns me is my abdomen is still very sore. I’m going to revisit GP after Bank Holiday. This is not serious enough to call 111 again but I wondered whether you could offer any insight as to what I else I could do? I am 6 months post surgery having had an ELAPE. (Similar to an APR). The stoma is permanent. Thanks for reading.

Charlotte Nurse Advisor

Dear @Yvonne,

Thank you for your post and I am sorry to hear about the problems you are having with your stoma. Firstly, if you are having problems with output I would definitely avoid taking the Codeine as much as possible as this causes constipation.

Can I just ask when you had the severe episode of abdominal pain and no output from the stoma was the stoma still passing wind or nothing at all?

Kindest regards,
Charlotte

Yvonne

Hi and thanks for the message on Easter Monday! Sunday 14th April...every thing was pretty normal until lunchtime and then whoof... couldn’t move in the end. Yes agree re Codeine it was just in case after the 111 visit but was told to call ambulance if it spiked again. Stoma was in a coma... but visiting GP used a stethoscope and confirmed noises... to some degree. I felt slightly queasy and very thirsty so I was sipping water for a while and had to resort to paracetamol which didn’t touch the pain at all. Stoma Nurse advised Movicol for 3 days with success and said she would contact my surgeon (who’s on leave so I have been informed). So I made an appointment to see my GP. He examined me on Wednesday I was still getting pain/discomfort/soreness just like Sunday but without the guarding. I still feel that today when I push on various parts of my abdomen. I am a bit frightened to eat too many solids although I’m sure we’ve probably turned a corner but as I say its the soreness that’s bothering me. Very many thanks for reading this.
Yvonne.

Charlotte Nurse Advisor

Hi @Yvonne,

It is possible that some scar tissue has formed inside the abdomen - these are called adhesions. In some people the scar tissue can cause some narrowing of the bowel (if the scar tissue forms in a band around the bowel). This narrowing can cause intermittent blockages of the bowel.

I'm not saying this is what is going on with you and certainly it is possible to get intermittent problems with bowel function after a major resection for no apparent reason.

I think it is important you keep in touch with you stoma nurse and hospital team and report if you get another episode.

With kindest regards,
Charlotte

Yvonne

Thanks @Charlotte, trying irrigation on Thursday which has been planned for a few weeks now so if I’m continuing to get pain then this at least will rule out blockages etc.

Best wishes,