Coping With Diarrhea Related to Chemotherapy
Tips to Help Control Diarrhea
- Drink 8-12 cups of clear fluids a day. This will help replace fluids you have lost through diarrhea. Mild, clear liquids, such clear broth, sports drinks such as Gatorade, or ginger ale, are best. If these drinks make you feel nauseous, try diluting them with water. Drink slowly and make sure drinks are at room temperature. Let carbonated drinks lose their fizz before you drink them.
- Ask your doctor if you should try a clear liquid diet to give your bowels time to rest. A clear liquid diet does not provide all the nutrients you need, so only stay on this diet for the time highlighted by your doctor.
- Eat five or six small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals.
- Include certain foods in your diet, such as:
- Eat low-fiber foods—Low-fiber foods include white bread, white rice or noodles, creamed cereals, ripe bananas, canned or cooked fruit without skins, cottage cheese, yogurt without seeds, eggs, mashed or baked potatoes without the skin, pureed vegetables, chicken, or turkey without the skin, and fish.
- Avoid certain foods or drinks, such as:
- Foods that cause gas (eg, dried beans, cabbage, broccoli, soy products)
- High-fiber foods, which can lead to diarrhea and cramping (eg, whole grain breads and cereals, raw vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, popcorn, fresh and dried fruit)
- Milk and milk products, including ice cream
- Fried, greasy, or spicy foods
- Hot or very cold liquids
- Tea with caffeine
- After having a bowel movement, use care when wiping your anal area.
- Tell your doctor if your diarrhea lasts for more than 24 hours or if you have pain and cramping along with diarrhea.
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/
BC Cancer Agency http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/default.htm/
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca/
Chemotherapy and you: support for people with cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/chemotherapy-and-you.pdf. Accessed May 31, 2012.
Management chemotherapy side effect. Stanford Medicine, Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://cancer.stanford.edu/information/cancerTreatment/methods/managing%5Feffects/diarrhea.html. Accessed May 31, 2012.
Managing chemotherapy side effects. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/chemo-side-effects/diarrhea. Accessed May 31, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 05/2012 -
- Update Date: 05/31/2012 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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