Bowel resection

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Bowel resection 10 weeks ago 1/3 bowel removed and 4 layers and 18 lymph nodes removed , still in able to eat a full meal with out having to open bowel 4-5 times is this normal

  • Dear  

     Thank you for getting in touch on our On-Line Community, I’m Sue one of the cancer information nurses on the Support Line.

    I can also see you have joined the Bowel cancer Forum; I hope you are finding both of these helpful and supportive.

    It’s really good that you have reached out for some support, recovering from bowel cancer surgery can take time and it’s not always easy knowing what is normal and what to expect afterwards. I’m sorry to hear you continue to struggle with bowel issues.

    Bowel cancer surgery can cause changes which affect how the bowels work, this can include symptoms of diarrhoea and constipation.

    It can take time for someone’s bowel function to settle down after surgery and become a more regular bowel pattern. This can take a few weeks to months, or even longer, depending on the type of surgery, but these bowel changes do usually start to improve over time.

    Because you are feeling unsure and continue to open your bowels 4-5 times after a full meal, it’s really important to report what is happening to your consultant or clinical nurse specialist at the hospital. They will be able to medically assess you and offer you the right help and advice. There are also medications which they can prescribe to help. They may also refer you to a dietician to support you with your dietary needs.

    Although initially after bowel cancer surgery a low fibre diet may be advised, as someone’s diet returns to normal certain foods may continue to upset the bowel. Everyone is different and it may involve experimenting with different foods to see which may cause problems. Cancer Research UK offer lots of information and tips about this, including keeping a food dairy.

    The charity Bowel Cancer UK also have lots of useful information about changes in bowel habits after treatment, they also offer an Eating Well and Regaining bowel control booklets.

    I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please get in touch by email, webchat or phone. The Macmillan Support Line offers practical, clinical, financial, and emotional support. You can call us free from landlines and from most mobile phone networks* on 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week, 8am – 8pm.

    Best wishes

    Sue -Cancer Information Nurse Specialist 

    Ref: GG/SMG

    Sue Cancer Information Nurse Specialist