bowel problems from radiation

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Hubby's Advocate
New Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/7/2010 1:43 PM (GMT -6)   
My husband finished his 25th radiation treatment has a week off then 10 more.  He is having pain and burning with bowel movements.  I've looked it up and I think it is proctitis.  The doctor gave him steriod suppository's.  It's painfull to insert them and he's not sure they are doing any good.  Has anybody had this and how long after radiation does it last.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2210
   Posted 6/7/2010 2:21 PM (GMT -6)   
I had loose and frequent bowel movements, but thought that one just a side effect of RT. Last thing I would have wanted would have been a suppository, but your husband just might hace something else. If it's not working have him ask for another medication. Good luck and sorry he is having to go thru that.
Dx with PCA 12/08 2 out of 12 cores positive 4.5 psa
59 yo when diagnosed, 61 yo 2010
Robotic surgery 5/09 Atlanta, Ga
Catheter out after 10 days
Gleason upgraded to 3+5, volume less than 10%
2 pads per day, 1 depends but getting better,
 started ED tx 7/17, slow go
Post op dx of neuropathy
T2C left lateral and left posterior margins involved
3 months psa.01, 6 month psa.4, 6 1/2 month psa.5 on 11/28/10
Starting IMRT on 1/18/10, Completed 39 tx at 70 gys on 3/12/10
6 week Post IMRT PSA .44 a drop from .5 but maybe more
Great family and friends

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 696
   Posted 6/7/2010 2:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes, I did have exactly that.
My doctor prescribed Protofoam, which was much more comfortable than a solid suppository. You might want to ask about it. It should be available in any pharmacy. The applicator barely goes into the rectum, and it delivers a pre-measured shot of the foam, which contains a pain killer and steroid.
For me, it was like a fire extinguisher.

In my case, the inflammation peaked a day or two after treatments ended. I managed the discomfort and painful BM's successfully with Proctofoam and loose stools/diarrhea with Imodium. I also cut down on fiber, switching temporarily to a "low residue diet" which seemed to also slow things down.

The symptoms started to drop off within a few weeks, and a few months later were pretty much gone with the exception of the fact that bowel movements were still more frequent and loose than before. That last problem slowly diminished until now I think I'm all the way back to normal. (I do still seem to have a little trouble with lactose.)

I believe that when a person has acute radiation proctitis, like your husband, it's better than having it appear later. The acute form is more treatable and tends to go away on its own (self resolve).

Best wishes.

Dx Feb 2006, PSA 9 @age 43
RRP Apr 2006 - Gleason 3+4, T2c, NX MX, pos margins
PSA 5/06 <0.1, 8/06 0.2, 12/06 0.6, 1/07 0.7.
Salvage radiation (IMRT) total dose 70.2 Gy, Jan-Mar 2007@ age 44
PSA 6/07 0.1, 9/07 and thereafter <0.1

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 6846
   Posted 6/7/2010 2:35 PM (GMT -6)   

You didn't say if the RT is his first treatment, or if he has already had the prostate removed -

I am having similar issues because of hemorrhoids and some past colo-rectal surgery, but I have also had DaVinci surgery, so this is a second round of treatment.

For my RT, they are having me take stool softeners just to be sure there is as little discomfort as possible. And my usual Rx steroid creme (similar to Galileo's Proctofoam - have used that too) for irritation and pain.

I am at session 32 of 39.

Post Edited (142) : 6/7/2010 2:39:30 PM (GMT-6)

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25355
   Posted 6/7/2010 3:16 PM (GMT -6)   
When I was undergoing my 39 rounds of SRT, had one or two days of the runs, but it never developed more than that. Now, six months after it finished, I am getting more and more bouts of the runs, sometimes lasting 5-6 days at the time. Was given something by my dr for it, but doesnt seem to help.
Sometimes, its almost like having bowel urgency, instead of urinary urgency, if there is such a thing. Will bring it up again when I see my dr. in two weeks.
Age: 57, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 7/08 12.3, 9/08 14.5, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 - 7/7 Positive, 40-90% Cancer, Gleason 4+3
Open RP: 11/08, Rht nerves saved, 4 days in hospt, on catheters for 63 days, 5th one out 1/09
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incontinence:  1 Month     ED:  Non issue at any point post surgery, no problem post SRT
Post Surgery  PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, next one:  July
Latest: 7/9 met 2 rad. oncl, 7/9 cath #6 - blockage, 8/9 2nd corr surgery, 8/9 cath #7 out 38 days, 9/9 - met 3rd rad. oncl., mapped  9/9, 10/1 - 3rd corr. surgery - SP cath/hard dialation, 10/5 - 11/27 IMRT SRT 39 sess/72 gys ,cath #8 33 days, Cath #9 35 days, 12/7 - Cath #10 43 days, 1/19 - Corr Surgery #4,  Caths #11 and #12  same time, 2/8-Cath #11 out - 21 days, 3/2- Cath #12 out - 41 days, 3/2- Corr Surgery #5, 3/6 Cath #13 out - 4 days, Cath #14- 27 days, Cath #15 - 26 days, Cath #16 - 31 days, 5/24 put in Cath #17

Hubby's Advocate
New Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/7/2010 4:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for your responses. I will ask about the protofoam. I updated the profile with his history so far.
Age 61
PSA 4.6 up from 2.something the year before.
Biopsy 4+3 Gleason
January 4th 2010 DaVinci
Gleason 4+3 
Base Margin Positive
Perineural Invasion-Yes
Lymphatic/Vascular Invasion-Yes
Involving 40% of prostate tissue
Nodes Negative
Seminal Vesicles Involved
Lupron Shot March 9th, 2010
Radiation 35 treatments total
1st Treatment April 28th
25 treatments  1 week off and then will have 10 more
Will have one more lupron shot

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 784
   Posted 6/7/2010 7:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Advocate, during my radiation treatment I had to take Imodium, I had frequent bowel movement urges, this slowly diminished, but I am not the same as I was, I "go" up to 4 times a day, mostly in the morning, I put this down as a side effect of the radiation, I also have a lot of wind, I guess you have to put up with these things during the attempt to kill off the rest of the cells, although in my case, looks like a failure, my oncologist wants me to have a colonoscopy, I told him that I am sick of medical procedures just now, I will think about it.

Hope all goes well.

Regards Mal.
age 67 PSA 5.8 DRE slightly firm Rt
Biopsy 2nd July 07 5 out of 12 positive
Gleason 3+4=7 right side tumour adenocarcinoma stage T2a
RP on 30th July,

Post op Pathology, tumour stage T3a 4+3=7, microcsopic evidence of capsular penetration, seminal vessels, bladder neck,are free of tumour, lymph nodes clear, no evidence of metastatic malignancy, tumour does not extend to the apical margins.

Post op PSA 0.5 26th Sept. Totally dry since catheter removed
PSA 23rd Oct.0.5 seeing Radiation Onocologist 31st Oct.
Started radiation treatment on 5th Dec, to continue until 24 Jan. 08.
Finished treatment, next PSA on 30th April.
PSA 30th April 0.4
PSA 30th July 0.5
PSA 27th Oct 0.4 (I am now 68)
PSA 11th March 09 0.5
PSA 3rd August 09 0.6
PSA 25th November 09 0.6 (I am now 69)
PSA 18th Jan 10 0.6

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