Coping with digestive pain/issues


I was hoping to get some advice from anyone that might have had similar and has anything to share.

Treatment wise for over a year she's been on Irinotecan with fluorouracil (5FU) and for the last 12 cycles also Avastin. While that is typically a bowel cancer chemo, her cancer is terminal ovarian - but a rare type, and they feel this is the best treatment.

All things considered, aside from being very tired after treatment, she's coped rather well. With the exception of 'digestive issues' which is why I wondered if anyone had any advice.

She is constipated following treatment which is a known side effect but she takes laxatives and for the most part has in hand so it doesn't cause an issue.

We've not found any particular pattern, but sometimes she begins to get cramping pain in her belly. So intestinal area. It can sometimes last an evening, sometimes it's days. It's very painful and the hospital has given her morphine for when it's bad.

She also has an issue where that's lots of really loud gurgling noises. While not painful in themselves they can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable and sometimes can precede the pain.

She doesn't drink alcohol and not much caffeine, and doesn't have much dairy. 

Has anyone got any advice to offer on potential triggers (or just one of those things?) and any ways to alleviate the pain?

I have heard about your gut flora being wrecked by chemo, and the hospital said well you could take some probiotics it but there's always some risk as you're introducing bacteria. Any thoughts on this front - anyone else take probiotics?

Thanks for any help in advance.

  • Hi  and I see it's your first post on the Community so welcome. I am sorry to hear about the challenges your family member is having.... wife, sister, mum?

    I had a different journey and my challenges were rather different but let's look for anyone to come along and help out.

    You may want to widen your search for information so why not join our dedicated Ovarian cancer group. This will be a safe place to talk to others who may have a similar diagnosis, treatment experience, to ask questions and talk with others who are supporting family and friends on their journey.

    When it comes to the practical and emotional challenges of supporting someone on their cancer journey you may benefit from joining our supportive Carers only and Supporting someone with incurable cancer groups where you will connect with others supporting family and friends

    You may also find our Cancer Nurse Team in our Ask an Expert section helpful but do allow a few working days for a reply.

    The Macmillan Support Line is open 8am-8pm (timings may differ across services) 7 days a week on 0808 808 00 00 or via Webchat and Email too. This service provides cancer information, practical information, emotional support, benefits/financial guidance or just a listening ear.

    Always around if you need further help in navigating the community.

    All the very best.

    Mike - Thehighlander

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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