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Bowel issue-has anyone ever had this?


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I know, it's not a great topic, but I am so tired of this. My Docs have no idea what it is and it may not have anything to do w/ the cancer, but I doubt it.

CT scans w/ barium showed nothing-MRI of liver/abd/pelvis showed nothing, kidneys, liver, pancreas are okay. It also started a week before I got re-diognosed so its not nerves or being upset.

Every morning for 7 weeks now w/o exception I have diareaha(1-5 bouts). Mostly water, bright yellow. Have not had a solid BM this whole time.

Left sided flank pain, hurts more w/ diareaha is happening. Comes and goes the rest of the time. It can go from no pain at all, to screaching pain.

On and off low abdominal/pelvic pain in the front.

No appetite the whole 7 weeks and this is not like me at all.

Nausea on and of not related to chemo.

I thought I would go to the experts and see if anyone else has had this or has a clue. I have never had GI/Bowel issues so I have no experience.

Thanks for responding if you have some idea.


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Do some research on IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and colitis.

irritable bowel syndrome


A disorder characterized by abnormally increased motility of the small and large intestines, producing abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea. Also called irritable colon, spastic colon.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Main Entry: irritable bowel syndrome

Function: noun

: a chronic functional disorder of the colon that is of unknown etiology but is commonly considered to be of psychosomatic origin and that is characterized by the secretion and passage of large amounts of mucus, by constipation alternating with diarrhea, and by cramping abdominal pain —abbreviation IBS; called also irritable colon, irritable colon syndrome, mucous colitis, spastic colon

Source: Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

irritable bowel syndrome

n : recurrent abdominal pain and diarrhea (often alternating with periods of constipation); often associated with emotional stress [syn]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

(I have done searches on dictionary.com, you can also look up conditions on WebMD.com)

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Gotta ask...have you had a colonscopy? Maybe it's time you did? Diverticulosis/diverticulitis might be an issue too.

The flank pain seems associated with all of this. And I will tell you, that although I don't have the flank pain you do - at various times during the chemo cycles -I have diarrhea...but it usually resolves itself rather quickly and before I need to resort to immodium.

There are only so many things it can be, I would think. The fact that it started a week before the re-dx doesn't necessarily mean that it's not partly nerves, Jen, or tied to emotions. It might only mean that symptoms got more severe once you knew of the recurrence.

Hope you get it figured out. Have you seen a gastro-enterologist?

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Thanks for the reply. No, I have not had a colonoscopy. I asked and onco and PCP both said MRI and CT would have shown something large enough to cause symptoms. Drinking the barium night before and morning of is to give them good shots of all the bowel loops etc.... Also said polyp etc... tends to do the opposite, constipated and or obstruction.

Also dont have Gastro Doc as I have never had any problems before to have one. I was told to do colonocopy at 45.

I have friends who have huge bowel issues and tell stories that I can't believe they can even function. So, my Morning only diareaha thing doesnt seem to be alarming to them or my Docs.

I know me. I know when something isn't right. In fact, I have actually never been wrong even if it took a year to get an answer (my lc misdiognosed). So, I just feel like they arn't listening. It doesnt have to be a cancer issue as I know we can all still get regular stuff on top of the cancer stuff.

This groups listens and its such a diverse group that I thought maybe somebody would write me and say, "Yup, had those symptoms an this is what it is". Still hoping.


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hi Jen,

Coming from a family the suffers from Crohns Disease, I really think you should get a colonostomy. From what I am told, there are things that cannot be seen with a CT Scan etc.. only a colonostomy. You really are presenting with alot of the symptoms of something in the IBD family.

After everything you have been through, I am sure you are not looking forward to yet another test, but if you could get rid of your flank pain??? And a colonostomy would most likely be a walk in the park for you.

Please tell your sister that I miss hearing from her. How is she doing? I have been watching for your posts, please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Lisa

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I know you were talking earlier about arthritis.. if you explore this, you will find that there is a huge association between inflammatory arthritis (many types) and colitis. In fact, I had a lecture by my rheumy about getting on some antibiotics long term to calm the flora down in the colon..

If the hat fits, wear it. If it don't, throw it.

Cindi o'h

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I am not an expert, but my guess is a paraneoplastic syndrome. Check out carcinoid syndrome. Or maybe there is some opportunistic parasite if you immune system is compromised from the chemo. Certain medications like an anti-depressant may cause loose bowls

What Are Paraneoplastic Syndromes?

Paraneoplastic syndromes occur when a cancer produces one or more substances that circulate in the bloodstream, such as hormones, cytokines (a type of protein), or other proteins. These substances can affect the function of other tissues and organs, resulting in a variety of symptoms termed paraneoplastic syndromes. Some substances damage organs or tissues by causing an autoimmune reaction. Others directly interfere with the function of different organs or actually destroy tissues. Symptoms such as low blood sugar, diarrhea, and high blood pressure can result.

Polyneuropathy occurs as a dysfunction of peripheral nerves, resulting in weakness, loss of sensation, and reduced reflexes. Subacute sensory neuropathy occurs as a rare form of polyneuropathy that sometimes develops before the cancer is diagnosed. It causes a disabling loss of sensation and incoordination but little weakness. Subacute cerebellar degeneration occurs in women with breast or ovarian cancer. This disorder may be caused by an autoantibody (an antibody that attacks the body’s own tissues) that destroys the cerebellum. Symptoms—unsteadiness in walking, incoordination of the arms and legs, difficulty speaking, dizziness, and double vision—may appear weeks, months, or even years before the cancer is detected. Subacute cerebellar degeneration usually worsens over weeks or months, often resulting in severe disability.

Spasms of the eye and muscles and lack of coordination of movements can occur in some children with neuroblastoma. Uncontrollable eye movements (opsoclonus) and quick lightninglike muscle contractions (myoclonus) occur in the muscles of the trunk, arms, and legs.

Subacute motor neuropathy occurs in some people with Hodgkin’s disease. The nerve cells of the spinal cord are indirectly affected, weakening the arms and legs in a pattern similar to that due to polyneuropathy. Polymyositis occurs as muscle weakness and soreness resulting from muscle inflammation. When polymyositis is accompanied by skin inflammation, the condition is called dermatomyositis.

Eaton-Lambert syndrome occurs in some people with lung cancer. This syndrome is characterized by extreme muscle weakness caused by lack of proper activation of the muscle by the nerve.

Hypertrophic osteoarthropathy can also occur in people with lung cancer. This syndrome alters the shape of the fingers and toes and causes changes at the ends of long bones that can be seen on x-rays.

Other paraneoplastic syndromes linked to lung cancer include the following: small cell carcinoma may secrete corticotropin, causing Cushing’s syndrome, or antidiuretic hormone, causing water retention and low sodium levels in the blood (hyponatremia). Excessive hormone production can also cause the carcinoid syndrome—flushing, wheezing, diarrhea, and heart valve problems. Squamous cell carcinoma may secrete a hormonelike substance that leads to very high calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcemic syndrome). High calcium levels may also result if the cancer directly invades bone, thereby releasing calcium into the bloodstream. As a result of the high calcium levels in the blood, the person develops confusion, which can progress to coma and even death. Other problems include breast enlargement in men (gynecomastia), an excess of thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), and skin changes, including darkening of the skin in the armpits.

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Not as long-term as yours, but for the past 4 weeks or so I have had chronic diarrhea. 6-7 times a day (and night) accompanied by chronic flatulence and belching. It seemed that my system was just one big gas factory for several weeks. This came even though I'm taking morphine ER daily causing constipation which I've had to take Senna and Glycolax to relieve.

The doctor and nurses had no answer why this was, they'd never experienced it as a side effect to the Carboplatin and VP-16 chemo I'm taking. After 3-4 weeks the symptoms (diarrhea) disappeared and I'm back to regular old constipation. I wish I could help you with the "why" of it - but at least you're not alone.

Hang in there and try to stay away from any open flames.

"Uncle" Doug

Tacoma, WA

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Perhaps this is your body's natural way of trying to get rid of dead cancer cells or purifying itself of chemical toxins. Protocell, a natural alternative, causes large amounts of fluid to be excreted from the body. continuing in prayer for you pammie

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