Diarrhea is the passage of frequent, loose, watery bowel movements. This may be with or without discomfort.
Recommendations for self care:
- FLUID INTAKE: It is important to replace lost body fluids. Drink 3 quarts of fluids daily from the following: Gatorade, tea, juices, bouillon or gelatin. All these fluids are high in potassium which is lost when you have diarrhea. Drinking liquids will not make diarrhea worse.
- DIETARY CHANGES: Eat a LOW RESIDUE, BLAND diet that includes: Noodles, custard, cottage cheese, rice; toast; mild cooked vegetables. Have frequent, small meals. If diarrhea is severe, restrict your intake to fluids only.
- REPORT TO DOCTOR: More than 3 loose stools per day, diarrhea accompanied by fever; diarrhea accompanied by abdominal pain; diarrhea accompanied by dizziness or blood. When you call for help, be prepared to tell the nurse the number, amount and appearance of the bowel movements.
- MEDICATIONS: Kaopectate or Imodium will help with diarrhea, but check in with the nurse before starting them, unless you have specific instructions to start Imodium right away. Some chemotherapy drugs are associated with diarrhea that has to be treated immediately.
- RECTAL CARE: Cleanse the area gently after each bowel movement with mild soap, warm water and PAT DRY, do not wipe. Apply A & D ointment, Desitin or other soothing, healing cream. You can take a sitz bath or soak in a tub for comfort, too.
If you have questions about diarrhea or you have experienced diarrhea more than 1 day call your doctor.
- Aches and Pains
- Anorexia – Decreased Appetite
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Oral Care
- What to Expect After Chemotherapy
- Infection Precautions
- Nutritional Guidelines for Chemotherapy
- Nutritional Information
- Recommended Recipes
- Safety Precautions
- Safe Management of Chemotherapy in the Home
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Glossary of Terms