Constipation during Chemotherapy
Apologies if this article is a little too much information but going through cancer has at least made me more comfortable talking about my bowels well to be honest I dont really have a choice.
My third round of chemo has been shit literally. Sorry to be too graphic but I got so constipated I got to the point where I wanted to call an ambulance as I was in so much pain. I have had haemorrhoids since late last year and I wonder if these were a side effect of the cancer spreading in my organs.
I had been given some constipation sachets to have on a regular basis and then a softener in case things got bad but I left it way too late and even though this happened during my primary cancer I said I would never let the constipation get so bad again. But its hard as you loose track of days and I didnt realise I hadn’t been to the toilet until it came to 1 week and I knew I had to do something.
Haemorrhoids during Chemotherapy
Bloody haemorrhoids at 36 years of age. I know pregnant woman can suffer from piles but at least they are going to get a lovely baby at the end of it what do I get….
Its due to the medication and is a common side effect I dont know what is better constipation or diarrhoea as after the medication for constripation finally kicked it, it went toally the other way.
My best advice is to keep up with the constipation medication find what dose is suitable. I kept thinking I was OK and then I would stop Movicol so now I have decided to have at least one per day and see how I get on.
If you do suffer from constipation / diarrhoea or piles then do speak to your health care team. My district nurse got me a gel cushion to sit on. I used Movicol and then had to use diarrhea meds all prescribed by oncologist.
It has been torture. I hope I am through the worse now as not only has it been so painful but it has limited what I could do. Its not as if you want to leave the house if you dont know when you need to go to the loo.
Unfortunately this like I say is a common side effect of chemotherapy and here are some tips
Macmillan Toilet Card
Get a Macmillan Toilet card. Its a green card that you can pop in your wallet or on a keyring. I have used it many times and most of the time in cafes people dont question it when they see the macmillan sign. Also it has been great in the past at festivals as I get to use the disabled toilet without getting hassle. This was obviously after the primary chemotherapy there is no way I can go to festivals at the moment.
Get Macmillan Toilet Card Here
When you dont look ill from treatment you can get some funny looks when you try and use the diabled toilet. People need to be aware that not all disabilities are visable. If I need to go I need to go. I dont use it if I dont need to but get a Radar Key. These can be bought online or in Boots and are the key that you use to open most disabled toilets in the UK.
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Keep on top of the medications that you at given even if you dont think you need them. As everyone is different it may take you some time to find out how much you need and when. If you dont have any medication get some before anything gets so bad from your health care team.
To sooth my haemorrhoids I used a cream. I tried a few different brands but the one I found most effective was Anusol (the name explains it all really!!)
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I spent some time on google trying to find out how to ease the pain of the piles and came across bathing them in Epsom Salts. You could either puts some Epsom salts in a bath or get a portable bidet that goes onto the toilet. This is what I did as I am too weak to get in a bath. I use epsom salt for other things as it is a great product. I was a bit sceptical about this as I was in so much pain but after doing it once it already started to ease the pain so this is something I would definitely recommend if your piles are sore. Also a good tip is to use wet wipes instead of toilet paper it will be a little gentler.
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What else has been happening during this chemo
Well Chemo 3 has had it challenges with other side effects such as dry eyes. Going outside hurts as my eyes stream this is due to loosing eyelashes and a runny noise again due to losing the nose hair. When I had chemotherapy the first time round it was the leg hairs that were the first to go but this time they have decided to stay put and I still have my winter growth. I am slightly apprehensive about getting rid of these hairs as they are the last to remain on my body.
So now I am half way through. It feels like I have been on chemotherapy for ages and I am not looking forward to the next three sessions as they bring harsher or different side effects.
I went for a heart scan as they still need a image to follow to see how the chemo is affecting my heart but due to heart rate being too high I was not able to have it. I have a generally high heart rate anyway I wasn’t feeling anxious to cause it to be so high I think it is just like this all the time. My consultant wants me to try a cardiac MRI which I stupidly did google and if its the one in the long tube then my heart is going to be raising more as I absolutely hate these. I also have my 3 month CT san to see how the chemo is working or not working. I will not get the results of this until after chemo number 4 as it is the day before chemo.
However I have a few things to look forward to this time round. I have been having reflexology which I find is really helping. I went out with some friends and I am going to North Wales to stay in a cheesy caravan park with an old school friend until I start chemo number 4.