Hubble bubble toilet trouble!

I am afraid what I am going to ask is rather personal, but I have turned to this site for advice in the past, and hope you can help again.

Has anyone else found that chemo affects their bladder or bowels? {sorry!} Every morning when I wake up, I feel as though I have a UTI starting. After a few drinks and an hour or so, everything feels fine in that department. Then.......when I have a bowel movement, it takes a couple of hours and about three motions before I feel that I have "finished." This is all new and started in the last week. I am seeing the onc. next week, and of course am worrying that the dreaded C is making its way through my organs.

I suppose all this worry is how it's going to be from now on!

26 Replies

  • Hey!

    You are bringing back so many memories of the bad kind! You will get lots of feed back from this forum on this topic! Chemo played havoc with my digestive system it was the worst symptom and the only one that really upset me! I too had myself worked up into a state thinking all sorts because of it. I am nearly 5 months out it has all settled down now so it will get better!

    I researched it at the time and the thinking was that part of the problem is the anti sickness Meds that you take during chemo! I spoke to the nurse in the chemo ward about it at the time and they changed my Meds to one called Emend and it made a big difference! Also drinking loads of water also helps a lot, I still drink loads of water and it really helps with loads of things from your skin to your bowels!!! Prune juice, pears and kiwis also help! You still might have to resort to laxatives or other remedies but I found most of the time I was ok!

    Hope this helps I really do feel for you as I found this to be most distressing and it really got me down sometimes! Apart from it I did not really experience too many side effects which was great!

    Mind yourself and I hope you get sorted!!


  • My bladder is fine, but my bowels...a whole different story! I have never been constipated in such a big way. I didn't really think about it after the first cycle, but by the third cycle I put 2 and 2 together. I get terribly sick, and have thus far ended up hospitalised twice. I spoke to the CNS before cycle 4 and she prescribed me some Movicol, which I have been chugging down (no hospital stay yet, touch wood!). I must drink about 4 litres of water a day and that doesn't make any difference! I also drink peppermint tea more often now, which is supposed to help with digestion generally, and I do think that has helped a bit. Might it be worth you speaking to your CNS to see if they have any suggestions?

    Isn't it funny what becomes our normal topics of discussion? My best friend will often casually ask after the state of my toilet habits because she knows how sick being constipated makes me!

  • Hi Y I always planned ahead with chemo something I found out same as you. Try drinking Laxido, I had one a day then 2 days before chemo 2 a day for a few days. This really did help me. I also ate Allbran every morning for breakfast. Good luck Michelle x

  • Hi my first chemo did make me feel like I had UTI infection the feeling was dreadful for a few days but passed. I mentioned it to my onc and she wasn't, concerned. I found if I put my microwave bear on my tum it eased it. I think all of us suffer with the bowel problems while on chemo. My tip is drink prune juice from Holland and Barrett at night time and if you see your GP they will give you movicol satchels or something similar.I got sooo constipated during chemo even though I took senokot , which the chemo ward told me to take, but it wasn't enough adding Movicol did the trick.

    Hope this is helpful to you. XX 🌷

  • I tend to yoyo constipation and diarrhoea 😖 The pain is awful coupled with a lot of Hubble bubble... Glad I'm at home because I don't think I would cope otherwise. I do also have to go two or three time some days too. I didn't like the peppermint tea as I felt it tasted like drinking hot chewing gum lol. I ask I get cystitis type symptoms on occasions so the bowel and bladder situation is far from normal 😭😭

  • its such a horrible feeling to be constipated, as the ladies said its the anti sick meds but also pain killers can cause havoc with that end. i suffer from constipation too and I find the tinned prunes the best of all. You can also get lacose across the counter and its very gentle but very effective.. I hope you get relief soon

  • I was told from day one that the chemo plays havoc from mouth to bum and in fact that is true as we all know at this stage. I found tinned prunes in juice, cns recommended eating a kiwi half an hour before food, I also did this. Pear Juice from the baby isle . One nurse recommended mix milpar with duplac or lactose and add hot water. Milpar is no longer available but I would imagine Milk of Magnesia has the same ingredients so mix both together in hot water and that did work. I would have had a tiny amount of cystitis but nothing much really to be honest. I really felt this was the worst part of the chemo because you couldnt budge from the house just in case you needed a loo.

  • Thanks for your advice ladies, but the thing is, I don't have constipation. The motions are normal{!} but I am unable to evacuate as before. I go, and then an hour later go again, then after 30 mins manage to complete. No sign of constipation, in fact inclined to be looser than before.

    It takes me ages to get out in the morning as I know that I need to wait around for a couple of hours!


  • Hi Jenny,

    That sounds like me! I go when I get up, after breakfast and about 30 mins later.The problem is when I have to go out,I would never have emptied my bowels when out, but now have no choice and Im done with being embarrassed.

    I was told that when having a major op like we've had and interference with the bowel (I had a bowel surgeon involved)it can take years to settle.I would rather be regular than be constipated as it makes me grumpy and can lead to other problems.

    Lovely subject,but do you feel we've lost all modesty? LOL

    Carole xx

  • hi Carole, sorry to hear that you have this problem too, but so pleased to hear that I am not alone in this. (charming aren't I) it's so good to have this site where we can discuss all these intimate little problems that we don't want to force on our nearest and dearest.


  • Absolutely!and you and I realise we are not alone,better out than in as they say. Sure we will return to normal in the future,

    Carole xxx

  • Hi Jenny,

    Maybe a 'gravity' issue? Things not flushing out as efficiently as they should.

    Chemo plays havoc with the workings of the bowel and can make it lazy..

    You could maybe try to sit at a 35 degree angle (sit with a box under your feet so as to lift your legs) if you think about it, that is a more natural position ..

    Debs xx

  • Thanks Debs. I will give it a go and see if it makes any difference.


  • I find having a toilet which allows you to lean back so that your body is at an angle really helps rather than sitting bolt upright. I also say the word 'push'!

  • Morning 27-359,

    I experienced this inability to 'evacuate' properly, needing up to four visits to the loo - as you'll agree, so inconvenient etc when going out and friends or family waiting,. The turning point for me was finding 'Kefir', a fermented intensively probiotic milk drink from Eastern Europe. My understanding is that the gut and bowel flora can be decimated by the chemos we have and cannot always regenerate, so regular intake of probiotics can help. Tablet form is expensive, whereas this liquid form is about £1.30 per litre from our local Sainsbury (but, I suspect only because I live in an area with a high Polish migration for our local industries). I drink about 200ml each evening and bowel movements have been much more normal. Otherwise 'google' sources? Actually, when I look at the cost, maybe tablets won't be expensive?

    The other thing which I take to help is half sachet Movicol (or Laxido) daily and one to two tablespoon of ground linseeds sprinkled on cereal or yoghurt for breakfast. These three things, daily, Kefir + linseeds + Movicol are working for me...three years since last chemo so I've accepted this regime is 'for keeps'!

    Hope things improve and you rebuild steady pattern which feels healthier.


  • Could I ask Lesley, do you just sprinkle the Laxido sachet contents on your cereal or do you mix it first and if so with what? Watery muesli doesn't sound too appetising and I try to minimise dairy intake so sometimes use almond milk on the oats. This has been a bit of a struggle as I grew up on a dairy farm, consuming gallons of fresh unpasteurised full fat milk for years. It even took a while to convince myself that supermarket semi skimmed was actually milk but I've never yet found a substitute that even comes close to the taste and creaminess of the real thing. So I don't know how I'd get on with kefir but willing to give anything a go. What does it taste like and is it made from cow's milk?

    Beth x

  • Hi Lesley. Lots of useful advice there. We have quite a lot of Polish shops in this area, so I will definitely look out for the Kefir.


  • Hi Jenny, Polish supermarkets are cheaper and usually have a choice of 'brands', so that is good. I hope it starts to work for you. Ground linseeds can be bought from health food shops, or if you have a grinder, then you grind linseeds yourself.


  • Hi, I've had similar problems, some times but not always accompanied by constipation. My oncologist told me that the bowel can get sluggish and not work so efficiently as before. She recommended a regular Laxido, keeping well hydrated and to avoid straining at all costs as that could lead to haemorrhoids - and who needs another problem in that particular area!

    On a related embarrassing bums topic, excessive flatulence remedies anyone?

    Beth x

  • Yes, everything slowed down for me too.

    I can no longer live without an apple a day!!

  • Doxil is affecting my bowels so any spicy food has me staying close to the loo the next day, not diarrhoea just lots of urgent small poos. The anti sickness meds give me constipation for a day or two.

  • Hi there

    Sorry for being so late replying but you have touched on a subject that we all suffer from but we don't really talk about.

  • There are many OTC things that typically used like Benefiber, Imodium, and others but ask your oncologist what he recommends try different things until you find out what works for you. I am praying to The Lord to help all of you in Jesus' name.

  • Sorry. Last reply went too soon. I do think that for most of us the most distressing aspect is bowel problems. The disease itself affects the bowel and then as soon as you are on chemo and pain killers its a double whammy. You are just given a list of laxatives and hope for the best. I really find it the most distressing of all symptoms and if someone comes up with the perfect remedy for that part of it i for one would be over the moon. It is one of my main worries as I go back on chemo next week. I would be interested in what your oncologist days on the subject. Take care


  • All the contributions lead to a great understanding of the causes of constipation. There is just one to add...lack of estrogen..This is required for all smooth muscle activity (inc.bowel) and it's complete elimination contributes to bowel sluggishness. I am on my 4th first line cycle and keep a diary for 10 days after each cycle. I realize my bowel movements are not constipated just the bowel is slow to move them along.i have changed my diet a little and actually reduced fibre as it can make the stool very bulky and hard to pass.i try and go at the same time every day .I bring a book to the loo and just sit until the earth moves. I find the diary very important and great to refer to each month...good luck

  • This is really interesting to read others have a problem going. When I told my oncologist I had trouble going to the loo and asked if other ladies had a similar problem, she laughed at me and said it was probably an age thing and anyway it's not something people like to talk about. So I was left to sort the problem out myself. I feel kind of relieved to read I'm not the only one.

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