On my 4th cycle (2nd time around) of chemo and unfortunately I'v had constipation for 3 days, had the glycerine suppostries and finally went yesterday but boy am I exhausted, been in an out of bed for 2 days up now but not feeling too good. It seems to be the tablets one takes for 3 days after the chemo that bring it on and although I drink plenty and eat fruits and the correct foods nothing seems to help, any suggestions please?

19 Replies

  • Hi linja I have microlax enemas from Gp works much better for me. Hope it helps

  • Thanks peanut2 for your reply, I doubt if my GP would know of anything like that but I will ask. Enemas seem to have gone out of fashion nowadays.

  • District nurses administer the enemas! I nicknamed them Dynorod! it was they who recommended movicol!

  • Hi Linja, Its definitely the tablets as I ended with constipation when I had my first infusion. I had my second infusion on Friday and prepared myself this time, lots of fibre in the days leading up to my treatment. I ate bran flakes every morning and lots of fruit and salad during the day. This kept me regular so that by the time I went for the chemo my bowel was pretty empty, sorry if that's TMI. The day after the chemo I took a couple of over the counter laxatives and drank plenty. My appetite isn't good as it never is for a few days after chemo so I've been trying to eat little and often. So far my bowels have been much better this time. I also cut down on the steroids this time, this was my personal choice, as I really struggled with lack of sleep last time. I'm not suggesting you do this as you may suffer more nausea side affects but I decided to give it a go. I've also been keeping a diary of my chemo treatments so when I have my next treatment I can refer back to see what I did to make it easier. Good luck, kerry x

  • Thank you, Yes I should have done all that you did I think I become a bit blasé as I was very bad the first time I had chemo and had to go into hospital for 2 nights but fine from then on as was with the first 3 of this round. I will try and do all of that plus the diary idea is a very good one as one does forget various symptoms. Thanks Linja x

  • Hi linja

    I had huge problems with constipation following my first treatment of first line therapy. This appeared to be caused by the anti-emetic Ondansetron which I was advised to take for 3 days post chemo. I discussed with Consultant who suggested one dose of Ondansetron pre chemo and then changing to Domperidone as required for the days following treatment.

    I was lucky in as much that I didn't suffer from sickness (apart from the one time that I left off the pre dose Ondansetron) so that worked for me.

    It did take a while to get things going initially, but once things started happening, I've found that Laxido as necessary has kept things manageable. I certainly don't want a repeat of what I went through, I've never felt so I'll.

    I do hope you can get some relief soon and find a regime that suits you. Wishing you all the best as you continue your treatment. X

  • Hi Linja. Here's a copy of my post to Carolyn recently:

    Constipation was a big problem for me for around 6 days following chemo. Agony, it has to be said. I feared the straining might cause me to do an Elvis and die on the loo ! Apparently the constipation isn't caused by the chemo drugs but by the anti nausea drugs we're given. Initially, I tried Senna, pears, kiwi fruit, etc, but it laughed at those. What was needed was an industrial strength laxative. I used Actilax. Not sure if you have that (I live in Australia) but Movicol has been mentioned and that was also available & it's probably similar. I had to begin on the day of the chemo - no time to lose. I took 20ml mixed with 30 or 50ml lemonade or lime cordial (something to disguise the taste). Suggest you don't choose a favourite drink, or, like me with orange juice, you may end up hating it for a while. I took it after brekky and after my evening meal for 6-7 days. If I forgot, I was in for it. It's not much fun is it, so good luck with that. Pauline

  • I was advised to take movicol with lots of water the pack advises 125 ml but the nurse recommended a full glass (about 200 ml) and that dilutes the taste!

  • When I was very, very constipated (just before diagnosis) my Dr prescribed Lactulose, which was incredibly sweet and awful to take, but it did the trick. I always called that "the big guns". The constipation continued for years after surgery, so I took one Sennakot tablet and a stool softener daily. That did the trick until the last year or so, when the constipation I'd had all of my life, simply disappeared and I haven't needed to take anything.

  • I got a blockage following my 4th cycle. Thereafter the consultant instructed me to take Dulcolax starting day before chemo cycle, and continuing through for about 10 days after it. I did and had no further problems. Constipation is awful, it is so debilitating, really wears you down. Ann x

  • Thanks Ann for that advice, I will ask my dr on Thursday when I see her it sounds good advice, yes this is carrying on longer than usual. Take care, Linda x

  • Definitely a tricky subject. What works for one doesn't work for another. Had my 2nd Rotterdam treatment last Thursday and only managed to go properly this Tuesday. Only Movicol seems to work and even then I have to take extra. Hospital gave me Dioctyl capsules to take alongside morning and night. So floodgates opened yesterday (sorry about that) but I do feel much better now. Just wondering how to proceed before Thursday. It is such a juggling process isn't it? Patx

  • I had sachets of movicol or equivalent to take. 4 days before chemo I took 1 then next dsy 2, then 3 4th day was chemo day and I took 4 for next 3 or 4 days, took me ages to work this one out but it worked for me. Hope this is some help Marilyn

  • Thank you totty I will be asking my Dr for this prescription.

  • When I had my first course of chemo, I was advised to start taking laxatives in the evening of the day I had each infusion, before constipation set in, to help cut down problems.


  • Hi

    After trial and error on my first line chemo I took a more scientific approach. I kept a diary of bowel movements along with tablets taken and how I felt. I was able then to predict the problem approaching. I generally found that if I took stenocot the night before chemo and following night it kept things moving. But if not my rule was if no bowel movement in 36 hours I took a sachet of movicol. Waited 4hours then another. I found massage of tummy helped.


  • I had a terrible time also with constipation after 1st chemo session.Didnt know what was going on the pain was so severe.I was prescribed Movicol and boy! Was it a life saver.Like Totty I worked out my Movicol regime also.My treatment was on Tuesdays so I started taking the Movicol on the Friday (1sachet) and on the Monday I take 2 sachets lots of fruit ans water.I hope this helps.

  • This post couldn't have come at a better time though I wish with all my heart all your ladies hadn't had to suffer so much. It's my first experience of the dreaded c. 2 days after my first dose of carbo-platin and taxol with the additional steroids and anti-sicks. I've never experienced it before with the previous 2 lines of chemo. Does your abdomen bloat and it really hurts quite high up under and to both sides of the belly button.

    I've tried Laxidol, drinking pints of water, juicing pears and lemon, and walking round as much as I can.

    I wonder if I need to see the doc to get some of the stuff you ladies are mentioning.

    love and sympathy. xx Annie

  • Its good we can all talk about this subject .I have found the Movical to be good.

    My Dr gave me a script for 90 sachets God help me! hope not to use all at once!

    I find the best thing is to take one on the day of chemo in the morning before I leave for the Hosp.

    love to all Georgie

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