How to leave the loo for more than 5 minutes before chemo

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Hi folks

My first post here - thank you to Macmillan for such a great resource and to everyone who contributes so wonderfully.

I was diagnosed three weeks ago - locally advanced rectal tumour, Stage Three, T4, N2. I begin chemo in two weeks, followed by radio.

Before diagnosis I had the usual symptoms - urgency to go to the loo, mucus poo, blood etc. Since then these symptoms have ramped up, to the extent that I need to go almost every five minutes.

I always pass something. But the frequency means I can do almost nothing else. At night I sleep on the bathroom floor - quite comfortably, I might add - but it’s hard to actually sleep much because of the frequency and also the cramping.

When I *do* go to the loo, the contractions I experience are very very intense. They seem to involve my whole body, even my head - I can feel the gains popping out on my temple.

I have taken Lactulose for a few days, in case the poo was backing up, but it hasn’t made a difference. I also follow a Low Res Diet.

So my question is: is there anything I can take, or do, that will reduce the number of times I need to go to the loo? Chemo may make a difference, of course, but that’s in two weeks. Should I get a stoma now, for example?

I would be really grateful (as will my backside) for any advice or guidance you can give me.

Thank you

  • Hi  and a warm welcome to the board. I think you really need to have a chat with your consultant about this? If anything chemo tends to cause diarrhoea. Loperamide/immodium slows down the transit of food through your bowel but, again, I would discuss this with your consultant or colorectal nurse first? It sounds like a stoma may be a helpful option for you and it’s sometimes given before treatment starts to help in situations like this or when there is a danger of the tumour blocking the bowel.

    Have you tried ringing the support desk in the number below and see if you can chat to one of the nurses in the meantime?

    Hope you manage to get something sorted out as sleeping on the bathroom floor is not great and you’ll be feeling exhausted I’m sure

    Take care

    Karen x

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm
  • Thanks Karen. My support nurse has been great, and I’ve just left a message with her to ask about it. She had recommended the Lactulose as a possibility to deal with the cramping. But perhaps it is then exacerbating the endless loo trips.

  • Hello decimus,

    The oncologist recommended that I should have a loop ileostomy prior to chemoradiotherapy for the same reason. It was good advice and I decided to  keep it post-surgery because it makes life so much easier. Takes a little while to establish an effective routine.


  • I was in a similar situation at the time of my diagnosis. I took medical leave from work because the frequency made ot impossible for me to get any work done.

    My care team chose to do combined chemo with radiation therapy first and traditional chemo second because they told me they thought the radiation would give me quicker relief from my symptoms. And my symptoms did improve fairly quickly. I don't know if this would be an option for you or even if it would work the same for yoy but it might be worth asking about.