Diarrhoea may occur due to infection, or a side effect of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, or radiotherapy to the pelvis. Some medicines can cause diarrhoea, and some types of cancer may prevent food from being absorbed properly from the bowel. Sometimes severe constipation can be mistaken for diarrhoea. When the bowel is blocked by constipation, liquid faeces pass around the solid faeces (sometimes called overflow) so it may seem as though the person has diarrhoea.
Helpful tips if you have diarrhoea
- While you have diarrhoea cut down on your fibre intake from cereals, fruit and vegetables. Eat peeled and cooked fruit and vegetables instead of raw ones.
- Avoid milk and dairy products, such as cheese, until the diarrhoea has stopped.
- Drink plenty of fluids to replace the water lost with the diarrhoea, but not alcohol or coffee. Avoid fizzy drinks, which can cause wind and stomach cramps.
- Eat small, frequent meals made from light foods – white fish, chicken, eggs (well cooked), white bread, pasta or rice.
- Eat your meals slowly.
If the diarrhoea continues for more than two days, tell your doctor, who can investigate the cause, and prescribe some anti-diarrhoea medicines for you.