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.
Source: UI Cancer Information Service
Last Reviewed: March 2011