Bowel Obstruction, Help please!!!!

Mum 71 is due to restart Taxol chem this Friday after 8 week break from Carboplatin. CA 125 3 weeks ago was 225 today 1220. Mum had been fine just the odd twing of pain. But last night she was up all night long in terrible pain. She called the doctor this morning after she was sick. He advised she had an obstruction. I am so worried now that the cancer has progressed to her bowel, she has been so brave but today she sounded really low, not surprising I suppose due to the pain and lack of sleep. Can anyone offer any advise, am I worrying unduly? Anyone else had a simpilar experience?

Thank you all


18 Replies

  • Hi Sue I've had two obstructions and quite a few semi obstructions. Once I start vomitting I usually can't stop and end up in hospital. I am learning to manage them and my gastro man adviced I stop eating for 24 hrs. Take fluids and pain relief. Buscopan and paracetamol. I have morphine buffet not to take it as this stops the bowel working. If your mum continues to vomit she needs to go to hospital as an obstruction is serious. Let us know how she gets on. Lucy1dog. X

  • Lucy1dog,

    Just spoken to Mum and she is feeling a lot better this morning, I was concerned that she would not be able to have her chemo tomorrow as she said there was no way she could get to the hospital. She has had nothing to eat since 7pm on Tuesday evening, was sick again last night after taking something the doctor prescribed. When you had the obstructions were you about to have chemo? Unsure if this is a sign she needs treatment. Did anyone tell you why it happened? The doctor told Mum it was because she had not been to the toilet properly, that she needed something to soften things up a bit. ( sorry to sound so graphical )


  • Hi Sue I had all my treatment and was really poorly after the chemo and they had to stop it early. My problem was due to the treatment but I am still here and would always recommend the treatment. It doesnt happen very often I was just unlucky. I have a low residue diet and cannot eat anything with seeds or bits. Fruit unless pureed is a no no. I thing your mum's problem is more to do with the chemo and the people to ask are the nurses and may be the dietician where she is haing the treatment. My hospital are so supportive and I am sure once you explain her symptoms they will be able to help.

    let us know how she gets on. Lucy1dog x.

  • Hi Sue,

    I hope you are worrying unduly, but it's impossible to say. Are they investigating, or waiting to see if anything changes? I imagine a bowel obstruction is very painful, so keep pushing to get it explained and treated.

    Very best wishes,


  • Isadora,

    Mum is feeling better this morning, not eaten anything since Tuesday evening, just hope when she does that it does not occur again. Her oncologist is not that forthcoming, we know the Carboplatin did not work although her CA125 went to normal, but because of the short timeframe from treatment they say not to have that again it did not work.


  • I had impacted faeces before my cancer treatment even began last November. (I am stage 3c, having had an op and 8 chemos with some cancer still remaining). The tumour was pressing on my bowel. I was in dreadful pain and so was hospitalized for about 8 days and on huge doses of laxatives which eventually worked. After that I was on medication that helped and now I do not need anything at all. However this may not be the same kind of problem. I agree with Lucy, that if the vomiting continues then she should contact her oncologist, as if there is any sign of an infection this is what you are normally supposed to do.

  • Hi Sue,

    The worst and most painful thing about chemo for me was constipation. I imagine that an obstruction might be extreme constipation. I'm so glad your Mum is feeling much better this morning. When she goes for he chemo, get her to tell the nurses just how bad all this has been as they will give her help with it, and refer to the oncologist if necessary.

    Don't be afraid to press the point with the staff- a friend having treatment for breast cancer has just had a horrible experience in her oncology dept and had to complain. Suddenly, her treatment is better co-ordinated, quicker, etc. As she says 'it's the squeakiest wheel that gets oiled first' (I like that!).

    Best wishes,


  • Carrie, Isadora,

    After Mum finished chemo in April she had been fine, not needed to take anything, she did however have constipation with the chemo and started taking Movicol 3 days prior to each treatment and for 3 days after, this seemed to work. She has found again that she cannot eat fruit, a banana nearly killed her with the pain, so obviously something in fruit that reacts to her. Just a week ago she looked so well, I know she puts a brave face on things, so she must have been really poorly yesterday. Just hope that when she does eat that she is not ill again. I will be going with her tomorrow for her first course of Taxol, I beleive the infusion time is longer than Carboplatin, but how much longer I have no idea?


  • Hi Sue

    I'm so sorry to hear about your mum. It just seems to be one thing after another.

    I'm not sure if this'll be any help but I had four carboplatin/taxol sessions and had quite a lot of sickness and constipation. They told me that when I had my surgery there would be a bowel surgeon on standby incase I need to have a stoma.

    This is what happened to me as they told me I would have had a blockage in the bowel at a future date so I now have an ileostomy (stoma). I read somewhere that quite a few OC patients have to have this procedure. This might be something worth discussing with your mum's doctors.

    I then had another two sessions of carboplatin only.

    If I can help in any way regarding this, please let me know.

    All the best. Cathy

  • Cathy,

    Same as you, Mum was advised this may happen when she had her surgery, it was the only thing that put her off having the op and was the 1st question asked after the surgery. She did not have to have it in the end, but with this flare up so quickly after her last chemo and the problems she is having now maybe it would have been best if she had had it done, although I know she would not agree. Her Mum had this done 40years ago and Mum looked after her and still remembers how awful it was, I have told her things have changed since those days but I suppose it is something that stays with you. Her main dread is having to have more surgery.



  • Hi Sue

    Me again,I should have added that I didn't have cancer in the bowel and it was done as a preventative measure. Cathy

  • Dear Sue

    i am sorry to hear about your mum. I am one of the support nurse at Ovacome Of course it is important that you tell them at the hospital what has been going on as far as the bowel problems are concerned. I have spoken to women who have experienced this problem and it is often as a result of the cancer pressing on the bowel rather than cancer having spread into the bowel itself. As sometimes the medication given to stop any sickness as a result of the chemotherapy can cause constipation and some of the chemotherapies alone cause constipation it is important that they sort this problem out. It may also help discussing witht he doctors about having a low fibre diet when she is able to eat again - this will help prevent the build up of matter in the bowel. Do make sure she is able to drink little and often and if at any stage she is unable to keep things down she will need to be admitted so that she does not get dehydrated.

    Do let us know if we can help further either by email or by leaving a message on our ansaphone 08453710554 and we will get back to you.

    Hope you get on Ok at the hospital today

    Best Wishes


  • Ruth,

    Thank you for your reply. I have called Mum and advised her to let the hospital know. Do you think they may postpone her treatment tomorrow because of this?


  • Dear Sue

    Sorry I'm really not sure - they may want to start treatment so that it can start working and have an effect in reducing the tumour. Do hope she is feeling more comfortable and feeling a bit brighter.

    All the best


  • Hi Sue I am sorry to hear of your mother's bowel obstruction, I have been admitted to hospital twice, and it is not pleasant to sort it out. I have had oc for ten years and I am on my 5th line of chemo,I have stuck to a low fibre diet for the past 19 months and avoided the problem on the advice of a GI consultant. The only fresh vegetables I can eat are root vegetables, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, swede, courgettes if peeled and de-seeded. Avoid all other fresh vegetables particularly those in the onion family as they ferment in the bowel and cause pockets of gas which are incredibly painful. I peel and de-seed fresh tomatoes which is a time consuming task, but it is the only way I can eat them.

    Tinned peaches or pears will continue just as many vitamins as fresh ones.

    Bananas are full of fibre and a definite no no, I compensate by juicing apples and carrots and drinking the juice first thing in the morning. As long as you don't have any fibre you will be ok.

    Sometime the bowel can have areas where the movement of food through the bowel is impaired and you have to avoid foods where this may cause a build up of fibre deposits and cause narrowing, and therefore an impaction. I find that wheat slows my digestion down and can only eat Warburtons Danish which is a light bread, anything containing large amounts of flour such as scones cause me a lot of pain.

    I also take Co-Danthramer as a laxative, this is worth asking your oncologist about, it is a softener and a stimulant. I hope this is of some help to your mother.


  • Jazz,

    Thank you for your mail, I will pass the details on to Mum. Just got back from going to the hospital with Mum today for her 1st Taxol treatment. 1 hrs drive to Mums for the hospital appointment at 12 today 6 hours in the hospital then another 1hrs drive home. Mum was alot better today if anything she has gone the other way but that must be better than being constipated. No problems with the infusion so that is one hurdle over with. You metioned banana's andI know Mum had one a few weeks ago and she said never again it mearly killer her the pain was so bad. She had an apple pealer the day before she had problems so whether that had something to do with it who knows.

    Thanks again, all the best.


  • Hi I have just come out of hospital in for 10 days re Consipation well I thought I was ok in that department but the vomiting was awful I couldnt eat and lost a lot of weight when I admitted myself to hosp I was very dehydrated which they gave me 3 bags of saline they put me on Buscapan for the pain and Docusate to keep bowels open it isnt a strong tablet so ok

    But they have stopped my chemo until I have my scan on Wed 5th I have had 2 cycles of Caeylx which could have caused the problem I had ?? But at the moment I still get twinges and my stomach feels as if its been kicked like a football

    I have had Carboplatin and Taxol and was ok with them could have been a build up of all three ??

  • hi my mom also 71 after severe pain for 4 days she was diagnosed with obstruction in bowel day 5 she had surgery, turned out to be perforated bowel, but bowel had started to heal itself, so surgeon did not remove any bowel. He only had to clean out the wastes and gasses that had escaped from the perforated bowel ......... day 11 she is back home recovering . fingers crossed for you all should go well XX

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