Tenesmus

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Hello All, 

I’m new to this forum. I’m in Canada, was diagnosed with anal cancer and am in my second week of treatment… after today I’ll have had 10 sessions of radiation with 20 more to go. 

I’ve been dealing with a lot of different symptoms, but the one that drives me crazy at times is this almost constant feeling of having to poop. 

Wondering if and how anyone on here may have found relief from this? 

P

  • Hi there,

    I think you'll find this starts to resolve itself quite soon as the radiation starts to break the tumour down. I'm not medical at all but I guess this feeling is the tumour pressing down and making you feel like you really need to go, so hopefully you'll get some relief soon. You could also mention it to radiotherapists, they may well have come across this before and know of some way to help.

  • Hi Donk,

    Interesting you should ask, and I don't want to sound discouraging but.....I'm over 2 years out of treatment and spent a very busy day out and about (starting with my 6 monthly checkup with my gastroenterologist!) and almost all of it was uncomfortable due to that exasperating feeling.

    When I finally got home? It went away before I could go.

    Fortunately this is pretty rare this far out. When I was at your stage I was really anxious about it. 

    I found the symptoms cycled in and out pretty quickly while I was in treatment. Eat lightly, drink all the water and wait a day or two. This one will recede a bit, but something different will probably come along.

    I love that I didn't know this beautiful word before, and now I want to put glitter and rainbows on it so it's not sad that it means....this.

    I'm sorry if I'm coming across as flip. None of this is funny while you're going through it. If it persists, see what your team can do for you. 

    Hugs

    Suz

  • Hello Pbedonkadonk

    Your nether regions are taking quite a beating from this treatment and can result in all sorts of symptoms that weren't there prior.  When I think back, (although not as early in the treatment as you) the major effect for me was being unable to 'read' my bowel signals.  So I would get the urge, and I didn't know if it was wind (terrified to pass that in case it wasn't) needing a bowel movement or just my back passage protesting at the treatment.

    That didn't last forever, fortunately and I hope it is the same for you.  And mention it to your treating team, it is best they are aware of anything different and they may be able to reassure you even if they can't help.

    And keep counting off those days - you will be surprised how quickly they pass.

    Irene xx

  • Hi, I am three years post treatment and when I was at your stage I certainly felt the same way. As mentioned you are going to be rather inflamed down there and can have the tenesmus symptoms. Early days after treatment I had to continually go to the toilet and this makes you sore. I had to change my diet and the hospital put me on a FODMAP diet which did help with the frequent bowel movements. I do more or less eat normally but still can’t eat citrus fruits, chocolate only in moderate amounts and lacto free milk. If I have something organised for the next day and don’t feel I have performed on the toilet completely I use a glycerin suppository which helps remove stool stuck in the anus. It’s a way of life and sometimes adapting your diet helps

    Julie

  • Appreciate your reply. Thank you 

  • Thanks for that, Julie! I can't believe I never thought of that.