Managing Eating Problems During Cancer Treatment: Diarrhea

Loose watery stools can be caused by some chemotherapy drugs and cancer medicines. Radiation to the abdomen and pelvis can also cause diarrhea. Some things to prevent diarrhea are:

  • Increase soluble fiber intake such as unsweetened applesauce, oatmeal.
  • Avoid raw fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Drink more fluids than usual to replace what is lost through the loose stools.
  • Drink liquids at room temperature.
  • Drink fluids between meals rather than with meals.
  • Eat small, frequent meals to avoid becoming over full.
  • Avoid gas-forming foods.
  • Limit milk and milk products to two cups per day.
  • Eat and drink high-sodium fluids and foods, such as bouillon and crackers.
  • Eat and drink high-potassium foods and fluids, such as fruit juice, potatoes, and bananas.
  • Ask the nurse or doctor about medicine to help control loose stools.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of sweetened beverages.
  • Avoid greasy, fried, or very rich foods.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid large amounts of sugar-free candy and gum that contains sorbitol.

UI Cancer Information Service