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Unable to eat after Ovarian Cancer Surgery

I know it is early days really, just 8 days since this major surgery was performed. I spent 7 nights in hospital and came home yesterday.

The surgery was a total success, removing every visible sign of the cancer, including vaporising 200 spots on my small intestine, but my bowels and all abdominal organs were cancer free. Just removed my reproductive organs, the omentum and parts of the pertinium.

Eating has been difficult ever since I first became ill, which was only the first of August this year, 2017. And I had to spend a week in hospital during the first round of chemo to receive IV nutrition and hydration.

However, now, it seems that I become ill after I eat the smallest amounts of solid food, with terrible indigestion that is only relieved by throwing up, which defeats the purpose of eating in the first place.

My belly is quite swollen from the surgery and I suspect the swelling is pressing against my stomach. I am pretty sure I am no longer constipated and I drink plenty of fluids.

Is anyone else experiencing this? If you have in the past, do you have a remedy?

Thanks in advance,


9 Replies

Hi there Lindaura and welcome.

I’m sorry you’re going through this. If you’re unable to keep food down, being sick after eating, you should talk to your GP or a member of the team looking after you as soon as possible. It’s usual for a patient to be kept in hospital until they’re tolerating foods.




I'm glad your surgery was so successful. I experienced the same and was re admitted. Please do call the hospital you are a new discharge so they will still be looking after you xx


Do get some advice from the docs I had terrible heartburn, acid that made eating painful and was prescribed some really good relief. I've had a few problems recently and found sipping slim fast shakes a help to get my appetite back, go steady & be kind to yourself X



Yes please contact the hospital ASAP , normally they don’t discharge you until they know you can eat and pass bowel movements and clear bladder . I was on a liquid diet at first and then it was very slowly increased to include more solid food over my 10 day stay .

Love and best wishes Kimx


I had my debulking surgery in Sep this year and was also unable to eat afterwards. I felt very sick but carried on taking anti sickness meds which stopped this. I also had a bowel resection at the same time due to an earlier perforation. I was prescribed protein drinks by my gp. I went 3 weeks with absolutely no appetite and only able to eat the smallest mouthfuls. After 3 weeks that sickness feeling finally cleared and I was able to eat again. I was told it was normal after such a big op and bowel surgery. Hope yours improves soon.


I couldn't eat after my surgery 3 years ago and was vomiting acid, I had ascites before surgery.

I was given a tablet of Omaprizole each day and my appetite returned rapidly.

Get advice from your oncologist,


Carole xx

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I have the same problem and have been on a mainly liquid diet since surgery two years ago. I have experimented with various recipes for soup and now have a freezer full of boxes of soup. I was also prescribed an anti spasm drug, Buscapon and also an anti stomach acid drug.

I was told that the pain is probably surgical adhesions - scar tissue that is clinging tightly to and restricting my stomach and bowel. Definitely worth seeing the GP or nurse specialist


I want to thank you all for your advice.

It turns out that the very next day, the 9th day after my operation, I was able to eat again, digest and keep the food down.

This was most likely because the other end, my bowels, were not truly working until then, and when their function improved, the trapped gas that kept me from digesting, disappeared.

I did follow my nurse's protocol, which was to eat just as little as I wanted to and not to worry too much about adding calories, and to NOT eat fibrous foods, such as bread, and maybe stick to soup for my last meal.

Anyway, because cooking smells still make me sick, I am eating boiled eggs and cups of soup and pieces of mild cheese. All has been fantastic and I have not been sick for 2 days. Tonight I am going to try some vegetables!

Number 1 lesson learned: Don't judge your own recovery by the other ladies having surgery in your ward. We all have different extents to the trauma received by our operations and the amount of meddling, cauterising and handling of our internal organs, which will effect each of us differently.

Because my ward of 4 beds had ladies coming and going and I watched the ladies recovering, and eating with relish, amounts of food I had not managed in ages, I thought there must be something wrong with me, when actually I was just a little more traumatised and my body took that much longer to rebound.

Number 2 Lesson: Be patient. Don't be in a hurry to leave the hospital. Just rest and heal.

Thanks again,



I took a long time to be able to eat properly although I wasn't sick-just couldn't eat more than a few scraps. I was given a " back to eating" diet which helped and was sent home with nutrition shakes.

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