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Thread: Bowel problems after colon resection

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Top User Baz10's Avatar
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    Bowel problems after colon resection

    There have been many posts highlighting the problems that can occur after Colon resection surgery.
    These can be
    Bowel not working (Ileus) causes nausea, unable to eat, eating and then vomiting.
    This is generally caused by the bowel going into trauma following surgery, where the muscles become paralysed due to shock.
    The digestive system is a shy organ, it does not like to be disturbed, handled let alone someone taking a scalpel and cutting it in possibly 3 places. Then being joined up or having having a temperary or permanent Stoma fitted.

    This is called Ileus, where the bowel goes on strike (Stops working) for a number of hours or days or in my case 17 days following surgery.

    The bowel transfers digested food in a series of wave like actions where the muscles relax and contract forcing the food through the colon. This happens in waves (Peristaltic action).

    When the bowel decides to recommence working in effect it has to relearn its function and how to cope with being shorter, let alone the trauma of being operated upon.

    Where exercise is tolerated it is important to at first gently walk as much as possible as this aids both healing and getting the digestive system working and helps digestion.

    If there is concern in taking exercise then this should be discussed with the doctor or physiotherapist.

    Generally following surgery liquids and then soft (sloppy) food is given to get the system used to processing semi solids.

    I have known patients that have been released from hospital before the bowel has started to function. To me this is totally unacceptable, in fact there has been a number of posts on here to this effect.

    Problems can either get better or worse on discharge, primarily with eating and diarrhoea and large amounts of gas.

    Diarrhoea and gas is normal as the colon is learning it's new role, albeit it is shorter therefore it does not absorb both the liquids and digestive gases in the slurry received from the small bowel. Further the colon can go into spasm and start to overwork (as I describe go into overdrive).
    If this condition persists then one should talk to your doctor as medication may be prescribed to calm the muscle action and slow the transfer of food/waste.

    This can be in the form of over the counter remedies such as Immodium or compounds that contain codeine or an opiate such as cocodomol etc.
    but it is Stressed that these over the counter medications should be cleared by your doctor as opiates in any form can semi paralyse the bowel and one can become constipated.
    Something that is definately not advised following a resection.

    Food
    Now I've heard and read on here many times that doctors have said to eat anything,
    Really, try introducing broad leaf greens (cabbage, lettuce etc) or tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli and just see what happens, this goes for any vegetable apart from potatoes.
    Vast amounts of gas, cramping and diarrhoea are the consequences.

    To be honest I have met many doctors that know diddly squat on post resection diet.

    My surgeon was just the opposite and sat with my wife and I and went through the do's and dont's of what and what not to eat.
    Within the first 2 weeks no greens to be consumed, Full Stop.
    No spicy or hard to digest foods, keep the diet as bland as possible. Boring yes but it works until the digestive system starts to learn its new role.
    Then gradually increase the type of food, what doesn't suit you, will definately let one know very quickly.

    It is all about common sense and having a little knowledge of what food is easily digestible and what is difficult.

    The main thing to remember is there's no dietry panacea, some foods are tolerated by people well where in others it may cause severe effects.

    Stay with easily digestible foods and don't try and force the digestive system too quickly.
    It takes time, may it be days for some, weeks or months and in some cases years to let the system adapt.

    What is certain is that it is always a process of trial and error.

    Bland, bland and more bland in the first few weeks, it may just pay dividends in the long term.

    If eating remains a problem following discharge there are supplementary liquid or yoghurt type based drinks for people with compromised digestive problems so talk to your doctor or dietician.
    They are easily consumed and being a liquid or semi liquid can be taken even if the bowel is not working.

    Ensure or Fresubin are two well known medically formulated supplementary drinks for people with compromised eating problems.

    A word of caution.
    All supplementary drinks contain medically formulated nutrients that provide the essential life sustaining nutrients and chemicals, However they also contain a high fat content, some up to 35% so use should be restricted to the period where the bowel is not working correctly.

    They are NOT to be used on a permanent basis unless prescribed by a doctor.

    And please remember if you use this type of product one should ensure that following consumption large amounts of water should be drunk.



    Any other dietry advice please feel free to post.
    Good luck
    Barry
    Last edited by Baz10; 08-13-2014 at 09:03 PM. Reason: Addition
    Diagnosed stage 3 March 011
    Radical resection April 011
    Restaged 2b April 011.
    12/09 Colonoscopy clear but picked up hospital infection.
    Aorta & femoral arteries occluded.
    Clot buster drugs put me in ICU with internal bleeding. 9 blood units later they got it under control.
    Aortobifemoral surgery 5th May. yughh.
    PET scan indicates clear
    DEXA bone scan clear
    13/5 CT showed "unknown" but no concern from docs.
    Inguinal lymph nodes and severe groin pain.
    Ultrasound and MRI show no nasties. Pheww
    Groin pain and enlarged lymph nodes still there.
    October -still the same pains but under semi control.
    Additional chest CT scan ordered for 11th November prior to surgery.
    Sinus surgery done and dusted.
    July 2014 PSA at 5.10. 2months of antibiotics in case of UTI, jan 2015 PSA at 7.20.
    Prostate Cancer confirmed Gleason 3+3.
    Active surveillance for time being.
    Just a little recurrence and another 20 cm of colon vanished under the knife.

    Not all's rosy in the garden, but see following.
    Stop grumbling Baz, your still alive and kicking so far.
    Age and illness doesn't define who we are, but more what we are able to do.
    Motto
    Do what I love doing, when I can until I can't.
    and dodging bullets in the meanwhile.

  2. #2
    Senior User Doug K's Avatar
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    Dec 2014
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    Columbus, OH
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    Barry, I appreciate your description posted here. How nice it would have been to have had that info following resection. I have, via blundering ahead, just gone ahead and eaten pretty much what I wanted. I don't think there are any difficult problems (fortunately) from my blundering. I have always been a "daily and predictable" bowel mover. The surgery has certainly changed that.

    I have control, but have what has been described as LAR syndrome. Lots of small discharges. It means knowing where the nearest bathroom is most of the time. I have used Imodium to stop the spasms with good success (Dr. Suggested). My latest "treatment" (suggested by my surgeon's former nurse who also had LAR) is to have 1/3 cup of Kelloggs Bran Buds daily, ease up to the 1/3 cup. It goes great on cottage cheese or yogurt. It seems to have given my stool some substance, without stopping me up.

    Ok more than what you might be looking for on this thread. I attend a monthly CRC support group at the hospital/cancer center where I have been treated. That group discussed "poop" for about 40 minutes last week. It was a great discussion. Mostly for me, I learned that what I am experiencing is pretty much how it goes. Takes time! My grandson is just beginning to "eat" (swallow) solid foods. His bowel (eight months old) is discharging about what I am... seems we're both learning.

    Hope this is helpful to someone.

  3. #3
    Regular User
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    I have learned that "what goes in has to come out"!!!
    For the first couple of weeks after my resection, I relied solely on white bread toast and baked potato. As mentioned, bland, bland, bland. This was in combination with a loperamide tablet each morning and help to bulk things up.
    After these first couple of weeks I occasionally ate something with a bit more flavour with a 'blow the consequences' attitude - however, once the 'consequences' started, I always regretted not sticking to the bland diet. I do try to find a happy medium and sometimes it is a toss up between the desire to eat something nice and the need not to spend hours on the loo.
    I never received any diet advice from the hospital, getting most of my info from the internet.

  4. #4
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    My dad had this problem for 3 weeks..we thought there would be no end in sight.....his bowels starting working.....seemed like forever. ....

  5. #5
    Senior User Sue_2015's Avatar
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    Good info here. I'd like to follow along as I'll be having a colon resection one of these days and forewarned is forearmed as they say!

    Thanks everyone!

  6. #6
    Regular User
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by Baz10 View Post
    There have been many posts highlighting the problems that can occur after Colon resection surgery.
    These can be
    Bowel not working (Ileus) causes nausea, unable to eat, eating and then vomiting.
    This is generally caused by the bowel going into trauma following surgery, where the muscles become paralysed due to shock.
    The digestive system is a shy organ, it does not like to be disturbed, handled let alone someone taking a scalpel and cutting it in possibly 3 places. Then being joined up or having having a temperary or permanent Stoma fitted.

    This is called Ileus, where the bowel goes on strike (Stops working) for a number of hours or days or in my case 17 days following surgery.

    The bowel transfers digested food in a series of wave like actions where the muscles relax and contract forcing the food through the colon. This happens in waves (Peristaltic action).

    When the bowel decides to recommence working in effect it has to relearn its function and how to cope with being shorter, let alone the trauma of being operated upon.

    Where exercise is tolerated it is important to at first gently walk as much as possible as this aids both healing and getting the digestive system working and helps digestion.

    If there is concern in taking exercise then this should be discussed with the doctor or physiotherapist.

    Generally following surgery liquids and then soft (sloppy) food is given to get the system used to processing semi solids.

    I have known patients that have been released from hospital before the bowel has started to function. To me this is totally unacceptable, in fact there has been a number of posts on here to this effect.

    Problems can either get better or worse on discharge, primarily with eating and diarrhoea and large amounts of gas.

    Diarrhoea and gas is normal as the colon is learning it's new role, albeit it is shorter therefore it does not absorb both the liquids and digestive gases in the slurry received from the small bowel. Further the colon can go into spasm and start to overwork (as I describe go into overdrive).
    If this condition persists then one should talk to your doctor as medication may be prescribed to calm the muscle action and slow the transfer of food/waste.

    This can be in the form of over the counter remedies such as Immodium or compounds that contain codeine or an opiate such as cocodomol etc.
    but it is Stressed that these over the counter medications should be cleared by your doctor as opiates in any form can semi paralyse the bowel and one can become constipated.
    Something that is definately not advised following a resection.

    Food
    Now I've heard and read on here many times that doctors have said to eat anything,
    Really, try introducing broad leaf greens (cabbage, lettuce etc) or tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli and just see what happens, this goes for any vegetable apart from potatoes.
    Vast amounts of gas, cramping and diarrhoea are the consequences.

    To be honest I have met many doctors that know diddly squat on post resection diet.

    My surgeon was just the opposite and sat with my wife and I and went through the do's and dont's of what and what not to eat.
    Within the first 2 weeks no greens to be consumed, Full Stop.
    No spicy or hard to digest foods, keep the diet as bland as possible. Boring yes but it works until the digestive system starts to learn its new role.
    Then gradually increase the type of food, what doesn't suit you, will definately let one know very quickly.

    It is all about common sense and having a little knowledge of what food is easily digestible and what is difficult.

    The main thing to remember is there's no dietry panacea, some foods are tolerated by people well where in others it may cause severe effects.

    Stay with easily digestible foods and don't try and force the digestive system too quickly.
    It takes time, may it be days for some, weeks or months and in some cases years to let the system adapt.

    What is certain is that it is always a process of trial and error.

    Bland, bland and more bland in the first few weeks, it may just pay dividends in the long term.

    If eating remains a problem following discharge there are supplementary liquid or yoghurt type based drinks for people with compromised digestive problems so talk to your doctor or dietician.
    They are easily consumed and being a liquid or semi liquid can be taken even if the bowel is not working.

    Ensure or Fresubin are two well known medically formulated supplementary drinks for people with compromised eating problems.

    A word of caution.
    All supplementary drinks contain medically formulated nutrients that provide the essential life sustaining nutrients and chemicals, However they also contain a high fat content, some up to 35% so use should be restricted to the period where the bowel is not working correctly.

    They are NOT to be used on a permanent basis unless prescribed by a doctor.

    And please remember if you use this type of product one should ensure that following consumption large amounts of water should be drunk.



    Any other dietry advice please feel free to post.
    Good luck
    Barry





    This is a great info. Im wondering if have you heard about IBS? would love some info about it, been searching seems be so complicated. I am guessing my husband is developing IBS, and he hates colostomy, and severe IBS the only option for it is colostomy.

    Thanks a lot.
    Ailyn

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Top User Baz10's Avatar
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    UK
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    Ailyn,
    Although the above is specifically aimed at those having had a colon resection, in part it does apply to those with IBS as well as Other bowel disease.
    One thing I have just leaned is eating brown bread containing whole grains can cause problems in that the seeds are not completely broken down in the stomach and gut and can lodge in the small and large bowel.

    Our daughter in laws father has had a lot of bowel problems which has developed into full blown IBS and due to his other health problems the docs are limited to what they can do, a colon resection is completely out.

    So Pete was told ages ago to cut out normal bread and eat whole or cracked grain brown healthy bread.
    Over a few months his condition worsened dramatically and was sent for a emergency colonoscopy which revealed partial or whole grains had lodged in the pockets in his colon causing serious inflammation.

    Since stopping eating so called healthy whole grain his IBS condition has stabilised somewhat.
    Maybe it works or not, all I know talking with him over last weekend is that since he stopped his IBS is back under control.
    Any questions I suggest should be taken up with a doctor.
    Diagnosed stage 3 March 011
    Radical resection April 011
    Restaged 2b April 011.
    12/09 Colonoscopy clear but picked up hospital infection.
    Aorta & femoral arteries occluded.
    Clot buster drugs put me in ICU with internal bleeding. 9 blood units later they got it under control.
    Aortobifemoral surgery 5th May. yughh.
    PET scan indicates clear
    DEXA bone scan clear
    13/5 CT showed "unknown" but no concern from docs.
    Inguinal lymph nodes and severe groin pain.
    Ultrasound and MRI show no nasties. Pheww
    Groin pain and enlarged lymph nodes still there.
    October -still the same pains but under semi control.
    Additional chest CT scan ordered for 11th November prior to surgery.
    Sinus surgery done and dusted.
    July 2014 PSA at 5.10. 2months of antibiotics in case of UTI, jan 2015 PSA at 7.20.
    Prostate Cancer confirmed Gleason 3+3.
    Active surveillance for time being.
    Just a little recurrence and another 20 cm of colon vanished under the knife.

    Not all's rosy in the garden, but see following.
    Stop grumbling Baz, your still alive and kicking so far.
    Age and illness doesn't define who we are, but more what we are able to do.
    Motto
    Do what I love doing, when I can until I can't.
    and dodging bullets in the meanwhile.

  8. #8
    Regular User
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    15
    Thanks Baz.
    We are now able to control it. it was a lot of trials and errors when it comes to food.
    But we able to balanced it and now he can eat regular food. we still not tie advantage of it because we are scared that his gut will be irritated again. but we are happy that we can able to get through it.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Top User Baz10's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    UK
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    Pleased to hear you have it under semi control.

    I would suggest staying with a very bland diet, boring yes but better than the alternative.
    Good luck
    Barry
    Diagnosed stage 3 March 011
    Radical resection April 011
    Restaged 2b April 011.
    12/09 Colonoscopy clear but picked up hospital infection.
    Aorta & femoral arteries occluded.
    Clot buster drugs put me in ICU with internal bleeding. 9 blood units later they got it under control.
    Aortobifemoral surgery 5th May. yughh.
    PET scan indicates clear
    DEXA bone scan clear
    13/5 CT showed "unknown" but no concern from docs.
    Inguinal lymph nodes and severe groin pain.
    Ultrasound and MRI show no nasties. Pheww
    Groin pain and enlarged lymph nodes still there.
    October -still the same pains but under semi control.
    Additional chest CT scan ordered for 11th November prior to surgery.
    Sinus surgery done and dusted.
    July 2014 PSA at 5.10. 2months of antibiotics in case of UTI, jan 2015 PSA at 7.20.
    Prostate Cancer confirmed Gleason 3+3.
    Active surveillance for time being.
    Just a little recurrence and another 20 cm of colon vanished under the knife.

    Not all's rosy in the garden, but see following.
    Stop grumbling Baz, your still alive and kicking so far.
    Age and illness doesn't define who we are, but more what we are able to do.
    Motto
    Do what I love doing, when I can until I can't.
    and dodging bullets in the meanwhile.

  10. #10
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Baz10 View Post

    ...Diarrhoea and gas is normal as the colon is learning it's new role, albeit it is shorter therefore it does not absorb both the liquids and digestive gases in the slurry received from the small bowel. ..

    ...
    Food
    Now I've heard and read on here many times that doctors have said to eat anything,
    Really, try introducing broad leaf greens (cabbage, lettuce etc) or tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli and just see what happens, this goes for any vegetable apart from potatoes.
    Vast amounts of gas, cramping and diarrhoea are the consequences.

    Barry
    I believe, the diarrhoea and gas after the operation, at least partially, are due to the fact that your normal bowel microflora is completely decimated after recent colonoscopy, diarrhoea problems before the opp, operation itself. So from the day one after the operation (sigmoid colon resection) I used a supplement bacterial culture to repopulate my guts with the right bacteria (vitally important for the correct digestion). I've used 'Bio-Kult' advanced multi-strain formula which is available over the counter in Boots.
    I've hardly had any problems with digestion after the opp.
    I eat just about everything without any problems: broccoli , green beans, spicy food, wholegrain bread, etc..
    I might be just lucky in this respect, of course. But I believe that the supplement helped me a lot to bring my digestion back to normal.
    It certainly did no wrong to me whatsoever. It is very harmless supplement, basically the bacteria strains that you find in live yogurts, just in more concentrated form. So I would say it is worth to give it a go.
    Last edited by TamTam; 11-30-2016 at 01:02 PM. Reason: sorry for poor spelling :-)

 

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