Ginny's Cancer Blog

It’s the shits sometimes

I am about 3 months since completing treatment (standard radiation and Chemo), and I am still having “surprise” uncontrollable bowel movements. I could wear adult diapers, but instead carry an extra pair of underwear.  Will this symptom eventually go away?  Anyone know if this is an indication of continued inflammation or just “normal” lack of sphincter control? Feeling desperate and a bit depressed.

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It might be an indication for either one or for both. I've finished my radiation in November'17 but still have problems with urgency and inconvenience. However, some people get their control back.
Maggie likes this comment
Most of us suffer from urgency issues that are ongoing to one degree or another. I take an immodium now and again when needed but I have had accidents on occasion and urgency frequently. Kind of a new normal .
Maggie likes this comment
It gets better, but accidents still happen a few years out. You can wear pads, and just always know where the nearest bathroom is. Sometimes different foods make it worse-for me it’s dairy. But it does improve - hang in there!
Maggie likes this comment
I still have the occasional accident 6 years later. Probiotics help. Dairy and fatty foods are the culprit for me. Most of us keep an "emergency kit" in our car. One person recommended always having a sweater with you, in case you need to tie it around your waist. Keeping a food diary might help to discern what causes urgency. Hope this sorts out for you soon.
Maggie likes this comment
I'm about 8 years NED and still have accidents. It's my crappy new normal. My tumor was big so I had 7 weeks of radiation rather than the standard 6. I've lost a lot of sphincter strength and control. And I think there must be some sensory nerve damage too as I can't always feel when I need to poo before the "gotta run to the bathroom" urgency sets in. I also have irritable bowel syndrome that existed before my anal cancer treatment but has increased since treatment. Basically it's a shitty situation! When I'm having an IBS flare up, I wear Depends that are like underpants. Or I keep a Depends in my tote bag. This week I started avoiding certain foods as recommended by Harvard Health website on IBS: coffee, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, dairy (my favorite foods), plus fried & fatty foods, fruit juice, soda, and sports drinks (no biggie to avoid these.) I'm only on day 3 so can't report yet. Bottoms up, Ginny! Here's the Harvard Health link.
Maggie, Laura like this comment
Me too, on the sensory control. Pelvic all the way down; sometimes it takes a full minute to tell my legs/feet what to do.
I went through the same thing post-treatment. It did go away but when I feel an inkling, I do not ignore it. Keep those extra wipes and underwear with you; I've had a few small accidents where I had to hold my ass until I made it to a toilet (lol).
I wear Depends and carry an extra pair along with wipes. I can never predict when or where. I feel better safe then sorry.
Please know that it gets better. Some foods, some beverages make it worse. I’m 7 years out and always carry an extra pair of undies. Ive never needed them but its good to know you have them. If I’m going to the bathroom a lot never trust a fart! It gets so much better!
Ginny likes this comment
This is a fairly common issue among us, but it does get better with time. Also, diet can play a huge role in this. You might try keeping a food journal to see if you can identify any specific trigger foods. Imodium can be very effective and can be used long term. I wish you the best in dealing with this after effect of treatment.
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It’s been just over 6 weeks since I finished radiation/chemo treatment. I still experience an itchy feelings, and sometimes pain, in my anus. I have also noticed some puss excretions. Is this “normal”? Is this because there is still inflammation? I see my doctor this week but thought I would ask you too.

Thom likes this post.
Laura, Janice sent you a hug.
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I had itching for a few months I think. Hydrocortisone ointment helped a lot. Regarding your puss excretions...Is it a real puss? I had some mucus coming out, and my doc said that it's because of inflammation. You are still in a healing process. Hugs!
Thom likes this comment
I think it is because of inflammation. You are correct. Thanks for you quick response!
Olga likes this comment
Hi Ginny! It doesn't surprise me! I had terrible itching for several weeks while I healed but definitely check it out when you see your doctor. As far as the excretion...are you sure it's not mucous? I had a lot of mucous for the first few has finally subsided after 5 years. Give yourself lots of time to heal. It's a process for sure.
♥️ Sara
Thom likes this comment
Wow 5 years! I am really learning patience, dammit!
Sara likes this comment
Completely normal, based on my experience. Healing can take a few months, so don't get discouraged.
Ginny likes this comment
Congrats on completing treatment. I had pain and mucus for couple of months post treatment not to mention few other symptoms too. Radiation is still emitting therapy so inflammation is there. It will get better Ginny
Ginny likes this comment
Sounds normal. I still have mucous periodically. Thankfully, I never experienced the itching others have described. Full healing takes a while.
Ginny, Thom like this comment
All normal from my experience.
Hang in there.
Ginny likes this comment
Congratulations on finishing your cure. I would just follow-up with your doc and see if ye ole Preparation H wipes will be okay?
Gosh, I would not use that product on radiated tissue! It has astringent, phenylephrine, pramoxine, and hydrocortisone, yikes! we would be using it during treatment if it were a good idea. And since many of us were told we had hemorrhoids, instead of the correct diagnosis, and it delayed our treatment...yikes!
Thom likes this comment
that's why I would definitely ask the doctor, as I am not one, I just know it helps with hemorroids. I hope the doc has some better advice than mine...
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Vital Info


June 27, 2019

San Mateo, California 94403

November 25, 1958

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous cell carcinoma

April 8

Stage 3

4.1 - 5.0 cm



Loss of myself

A lot of people are suffering but keep fighting

Send me positive loving energy every day

Lymph node in hip

Kaiser Northern California

June 14

Anal pain, narrow and frequent bowel movements, leakage, general irritation

6 weeks, very painful skin peeling, bleeding, razor like bowel movements


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