How can you restart a sleepy bowel?

My mum's cancer has made her small bowel go to sleep and the whole thing relies on restarting it even just a little bit and they would start chemo immediately, time is really key here, the doctors are saying we have a matter of days/weeks to get started as she is getting weaker and weaker, If anyone knows anyway of restarting the bowel AT ALL please please tell me

18 Replies

  • This might sound strange...I know I mentioned pears..but they were after I had started bowel movement I took nine movicols (didn't work) but then I hit on the idea of putting an electric massager( shiatsu machine that is meant for relieving back pain) under my buttocks I laid down flat with my feet higher. and it was like a concrete mixture and it worked.. You could try this I was about to go into hospital with a very serious outcome and I was desperate not to...

    Best wishes love x G x :-)

  • Dear Gwyn, your post did make me laugh. I hope you get some help with your mum's problem AmeliaG, and that Gwyn's 'medicine' helped. They do say laughter is the best medicine.

    I'd say pears are good too, or try a Chinese Health shop. They have tea that really makes you go.

    I hope you can sort this out. Xxxx Annie

  • Hi Annie,

    The story gets funnier, as one of my GPs (a Male) rung me later in the day to see how I was getting which I said I'd cracked it...he then asked me how..and I explained (very embarrassingly)and he replied ( in his upper class accent) "eww well done jolly goood, like mixing concrete" (his words not mine)

    He had a very plum in his mouth voice (jolly hockey sticks and all that) and said how impressed he was with my innovation..haha.. he was the one that said to eat pairs cutting them length ways just like a finger buffet..I had already taken nine movacols (over the limit in the space of time)to no avail and after "shifting" (I use this word with caution my iPad sometimes changes my words haha) better word might be "moving" my load I then and now, take pears and haven't had a problem I know other people say fruit but I was already eating grapes, prunes,figs, dates,and other fruit..but not pears..and being the an--- retentive person that I am...I researched pears and found that they were better than most fruit because of their organic nature everything.. even the skin breaks down quicker and don't hang around to ferment (here endeth the first lesson) haha it might have been the laughter that worked teehee love x G x :-)

  • I've only just seen this post Gwyn. It took me ages to pronounce your 'eww .. ' and then I remembered you're Welsh so the W is pronounced 'ooo'. He sounds very posh indeed but has a good sense of humour so he's OK by me.

    I shan't be able to look my builders in the eye tomorrow. One look at their concrete mixer will remind me of Gwyn's 'remedy'.

    I had to laugh at your naughty I-Pad making up rude words. Thinking of which, what did you think of my Goose Neck faux-pas sent in my PM. I couldn't even use the I-Pad as an excuse for that! xxxx

  • Your faux-pas are brilliant...but you don't need an excuse it is a different language being Welsh and SouthWalian at that..... has given me a problem with both Welsh and English I don't speak either of them well... haha..... they cross over to Wenglish (not good) you are write about the "eww" it might be

    "eeooo" not sure? can't write a posh accent sorry!!!! LoL

    Love x G x 8-)

  • I am in fits of laughter here after reading theses posts ladies ..... I am catching up again ..

    Love Jan xxx

  • Wow you are definitely on catch up haha love x G x :-)

  • I'm worrying now we're all giving advice on a blocked bowel. Did they say it's not so much it's blocked, but rather it's not working. That might need another approach altogether. Thinking of you Amie xx

  • Yes that's why I mentioned massage on the buttocks... Just to shift what is lower down... rather than harm in moving something that might already be in the process of on it's way out but further up i.e. In the abdomen I am not sure..but don't forget that Amie did say if they could get it moving then they would give chemo..I feel joking might be a bit hard on her... but I also feel Amei understands as on her earlier post she has added a smiley face.. and she does know we are going through it ourselves and just our way of dealing with this dreadful disease but apologies Amie if we offend and we truly do feel for you your mum and the family love x G x

  • that is fantasic! these kind of ideas are what we need to substitute the medical ones that aren't doing anything thank you so much.



  • Further to Gwyns message I would definately recommend gentle massage over the abdomen area too as well as reflexology on the feet. Drinking aloe vera juice is good to soften stools. Has the hospital given laxatives like senna? I am so surprised that your hospital hasn't advised you and your mum better. Sometimes I think we need to shout louder

  • I agree with lisa I suffer with chronic constipation as part of my cancer and I've recently started suffering again so I've been back on the lactulose 30 ml a day. You could try speaking to Ruth on the ovacome helpline as well

  • Hi...not wishing to go against Lisa's advice..I would excercise caution on massaging the abdomen because I take it your mum has not had an operation?... therefore it would not be wise to massage the abdomen as it might stimulate the cancer...this is why I suggested to use the machine in the way I attempt to soften the blockage further down...taking medication might sit at the top and not move whatever blockage is lower down which is why I thought of the massage....just a suggestion though... and you have nothing to best wishes love x G x

  • Hi, each time I have had an abdo op I have been constipated afterwards. Last time they wouldn't let me out of the hospital till I had cleared it. I had suppositories and enemas, but the only thing that worked, but it was next day was 8 movical taken at once.mind you I had to tell the nurses that's what I wanted, as it had cleared me the last time I had the same problem.i don't know if that works on the small intestine or large one though, but it might be worthwhile checking it out with the medical team.

    Hope you get it sorted soon.



  • Hi, every time I have a chemo my bowels go on strike! I increase the Movacol to try and get then going again, it usually takes a few days on around 3 or 4 a day. Reflexology is also brilliant, and it doesn't involve any manipulation of the abdomen, though its always a good idea to check with the onc first. My reflexologist showed the points on the hand that can help, and recommended doing it while sat on the loo, as it can have quite rapid results. Although it hasn't been that fast for me, I have noticed that when going over tender spots on my hand instantly feeling wind move, which is the beginning of the bowel working!

    Hope your Mum can find something that works and she can start chemo soon


  • Hey Chris, this is really interesting stuff. Nobody had mentioned reflexology to me. I've just googled it and found an interactive hand map at this site. It shows where to massage the hands to help with the colon and small intestine. You can either click on the hands or the organ you want to help in the list below the hands.

    Thanks so much. I'm going to give it a go!!

  • Positive

    I am 61 and have been recently diagnosed with Peritoneal cancer and my main problem has been a very sluggish bowel. I used Flaxseed which you can buy from Amazon and I had good results. If really bad I would get good results from a Dulcolax suppository. I have just had my first chemo and the bowel problems have been much worse, ended up in hospital overnight, but luckily suppositories cleared problem. I am now trying movicol sachets which seem to be beginning to work. I hope your Mum gets sorted out as I know how she feels about needing to get the chemo started. Good luck.


  • Hiya. I have also had a lot of bowel problems since I started my chemo. Has made me watch totally what I eat as I was getting backed up with what felt like rocks everyday. Dr put me on senna tablets which have been brilliant and also another laxative to keep it at bay called laxatol. That helps keep everything going. Also I use a hot water bottle that seems to help too. Hope this combination helps someone else who may get chronic constipation during chemo. Hope all you ladies are doing well x :)

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