- If you have to stay in bed, use a bedside commode (portable toilet) when possible
- Keep a record of your bowel movements ("poops") and what you eat
- It is very important to stay well-hydrated. Talk to your health care team about how much, and what type of fluids you should be drinking.
- Avoid foods that make your diarrhea worse (such as foods high in fibre, fatty foods, hot peppers, drinks with caffeine, and alcohol)
- Keep a list of foods that cause you more problems and try to avoid them
- Eating can often trigger a bowel movement, so schedule your meals to allow enough time to move your bowels (go "poop") before planned activities
To protect your skin, keep the anal area clean with soap and water, or a special cleanser if the skin is broken down. Ask your nurse if you do not know what product to use for this. You can also take sitz baths (warm, shallow baths) to soothe the area.
Medications are available by prescription through your oncologist, family doctor, or over the counter at a pharmacy. Tell your health care team if you are considering taking medication for diarrhea so they can make sure it is not caused by an infection first.
Food Ideas to help with Diarrhea during Chemotherapy
You may find the following nutrition tips helpful:
- Stay well-hydrated drink a variety of fluids daily to prevent dehydration. It may help to sip fluids slowly. Examples of fluids are: water, juice, liquid nutritional drinks such as Ensure®, sports drinks, soups and herbal tea. Limit caffeine or drinks that contain alcohol.
- Eat small, frequent meals and snacks. Try to eat every 2-3 hours.
- Limit high fibre foods such as whole grain breads and cereals with bran, nuts and seeds.
- Remove skins, seeds and membranes from fruits and vegetables.
- Limit corn, broccoli, beans, peas, green leafy vegetables, prunes, berries, dried fruit, beans (baked, kidney), chickpeas and lentils.
- Avoid deep fried, greasy foods.
- If you have severe diarrhea, try avoiding milk and milk products. Lactaid® milk or milk substitutes such as soy beverages may be better tolerated.
- Once the diarrhea is resolved, re-introduce the foods you have eliminated one at a time.
If your symptoms are not well-controlled after following the above guidelines, if you are losing weight and your appetite is decreased, ask to see a dietitian.