Oesophageal Patients Association
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Diarrohoea problems post surgery

Has anyone had similar problems ?

Since my surgery in December 2015 where I had part of my oesophagus removed , I initially didn't have too many problems when eating( although plenty of small meals little and often).However over the last two months I have developed diarrohoea which happens after every meal ( sorry to mention this but it is mainly watery !!) .I am in constant dialogue with the nutr

itionalist and surgeon but so far , nothing seems to work . I have been given Creon tablets ( anyone taken these ?) however I have had to stop taking them as they are making me feel worse ( diarrohoea worse ).

I feel I recovered quite well from my operation initially but now wonder what the solution is .

I would be very grateful if someone has any thoughts who been through a similar situation to myself .

Thank you

4 Replies

Hi Griffo 105.

I'm over 9 years post op and it took me quite a while for my bowels to get back to anything like "normal". Iv'e had the runs, then constipation, then both. If you will pardon the awful pun its a pain in the bum at times, these things take time and as you are in touch with your surgeon at least you know it is nothing to worry about.

Kind Regards



Hi Griffo,

I am now nine months post op for Ivor Lewis oesophagectomy and I think we have followed the same path.

I recovered well from the operation and up until last Christmas everything was very positive until the dreaded runs struck!

They have been with me ever since and like you I was prescribed Creon which only made it doubly intensive, needless to say I stopped taking Creon.

The only way I can control it enough to keep on going is by taking Loperamide, which is the active ingredient in Diocalm and other diarrhea remedies.

I take 2 number 2Mg tablets in the morning after a small breakfast and normally at least 2 more during the day, sometimes I take more, but take care because this is not a cure it is a sticking plaster as the problem still exists.

If I don't take the Loperamide the runs return almost immediately and the medical profession don't seem able to do anything about it.

The other thing that I have had big problems with is food dumping, which is very disabling but I have been concentrating on making up a list of foods which don't cause dumping or discomfort and sticking to them.

I am fighting to get my weight above seven stone to no avail, and unfortunately I look like a victim of extreme malnutrition, I hate it, this is the worst year of my life.

Although my surgery was an absolute success, the aftercare has been utterly abysmal and I am now more or less on my own with trying to find ways of maintaining my body weight.

One of the specialists did explain to me that Loperamide is quite safe because it doesn't enter the bloodstream and stays within the digestive system, what it does is help to remove the liquid content of the bowel thereby stiffening up the stools, but be careful because what I have found is that you also get severe blockages and constipation if you take too many Loperamide.

Good luck with it and look to your diet, and let me know if you are getting food dumping as well.



I'm taking creon 25000, 2 tablets, 3 times daily. I find they help a lot. However, I'm not sure they are necessarily related to loose stools, Instead they help to break down foods whilst transit what is left of my stomach (approximately 50% remains) in an attempt to help me digest more nutrition from my meals.

I did suffer from loose stools initially and, some 18 months post-op still do have an occasional bout (perhaps once a fortnight) bit think this is related to composition of diet, volume of food eaten and frequency of eating. It's a complex relationship and I'm not sure I understand it yet.

Initially, post op I became incredibly lactose intolerant. Anything milky resulted in a nasty bout. That has resolved itself over time. If what I'm eating is too rich, this causes issues (I ate spare ribs last night and suffered very quickly). Too much dense meat (red meat like steak or veal) is bad although minced is better. Too much fried is bad. Sushi is almost always good. Too much rice is bad. Mashed potatoes are bad. French fries are ok. A little chocolate is good. Too much is bad. Beer is almost always bad. Red wine is not. Pasta is good if it's small pieces I.e. A fine gauge spaghetti but dense pasta like a fusilli is bad. Fruit first thing in the morning is good as are 1 poached egg. Chilli and hot chillie sauces are almost always good in moderation. Indian food is bad. Thai food in moderation is ok as is Vietnamese. Chinese not so good.

I find that there is a relationship between all of this and pain in my right shoulder area and around the site of my stomach. My surgeon says I'm imagining this - he is wrong!

There is also a cycle here. If I manage to get myself into a bad day it takes me a few days to get back into a good rhythm again.

Was your veygus (spelling) nerve severed? Mine was not! Was yours a two or three site Ivor lewis?

Fundamentally everyone is different. Fundamentally the old adage of everything in moderation is perhaps more true for us than others.

Have you tried keeping a food diary? I have not but suspect I should....

I'd be interesting in hearing other experiences...


My husband had the same problem for 9 months after his operation. He takes Loperamide Hydrochloride 2mg capsules. He has 2 tablets 4 times a day and this seems to have stopped it. They are similar (in fact the same ingredients) as Imodium which you can buy from the pharmacy, but you get Loperamide on prescription from your GP. Choose whichever way is cheapest, so if you get free prescriptions go to your GP.


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