- 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.
- Keep a list of foods that cause you more problems and try not to eat them.
- Eating can often trigger a bowel movement. Try to schedule activities so you have enough time to go poop before planned activities.
When you have diarrhea, the skin around your anus (opening to your “bum”), can get irritated and sore.
To protect your skin, keep the anal area clean with soap and water.
If your skin has broken down (you have open sores or chapped skin) you can use a special cleanser. Ask your health care team if you do not know what cleanser to use.
You can also take sitz baths (warm, shallow baths) to soothe the area. Ask your health care team for more information about this.
- You may find the following nutrition tips helpful:
- Drink at least 1.5 – 2 litres (6-8 cups) of fluids every day. This will help keep you hydrated. It may help to sip fluids slowly.
- Examples of fluids are water, juice, liquid nutritional drinks such as Ensure®, sports drinks, soups or broths and herbal tea. Limit drinks with caffeine and alcohol. These can bother your bowels.
- Eat small, frequent meals and snacks. Try to eat every 2-3 hours.
- Try not to eat too many high-fibre foods such as whole grain breads and cereals with bran, nuts, and seeds. Choose white bread or pasta, white rice, meat, poultry, eggs, and tofu.
- Remove skins, seeds and fibres from fruits and vegetables.
- Try not to eat too much corn, broccoli, beans, green leafy vegetables, prunes, berries, dried fruit, chickpeas and lentils.
- Do not eat spicy, deep-fried, or greasy foods.
If it makes your diarrhea worse, do not eat or drink milk and milk products. Lactaid® milk or milk substitutes, such as soy drinks, may be better for you.
If you are not sure what to eat or drink, talk to your health care team.
People with severe dehydration may need to get intravenous fluids (fluids given to you by putting a needle attached to a tube into your vein).
If you follow the instructions in this handout and your diarrhea is still not under control, ask to see a BC Cancer dietitian.
If you are losing weight or you do not have an appetite, ask to see a BC Cancer Dietitian.
You can also call 8-1-1 to speak to an oncology dietitian at Health Link BC.
There is not enough evidence to support the use of probiotics. Although probiotics might benefit you, there is a risk for patients with neutropenia (low white blood cell count).
If you have neutropenia, your immune system is not working as well as it should. The bacteria in probiotics could give you an infection.