Constipation can be very uncomfortable, and can cause bloating and sickness. Opioid painkillers, like morphine, can cause constipation. You should be given medicines called laxatives to take with opioids to prevent this. Not moving around or eating much, or being dehydrated, can also make constipation more likely.
Some people get a symptom called steatorrhoea, which is pale poo that floats. This happens if your body can’t digest fat in your food properly – because the pancreas isn’t producing enough enzymes. Taking pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) can help to relieve steatorrhoea.
Diarrhoea can have different causes, including the cancer, some treatments such as chemotherapy, some medicines, or an infection. It can cause dehydration quite quickly, so it is important to drink plenty of water to prevent this. Speak to your doctor or nurse if you have diarrhoea several times a day. They can look at what’s causing this, and how to manage it.
Diarrhoea can be caused by problems digesting food, and pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) may help with this. If you haven’t been told about enzyme supplements, speak to your doctor or nurse about this.
Some people have ongoing diarrhoea that isn’t helped by enzyme supplements. If you have diarrhoea that isn’t getting better, you may have bile acid diarrhoea – which can happen if there is too much bile in the intestine. Or you may have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which is caused by having too much bacteria in the intestines.
Speak to your medical team if you have diarrhoea that isn’t getting better. There are tests that can be done to check for bile acid diarrhoea and SIBO, and medicines to treat them. You may need to see a gastroenterology team, who are experts in problems with the stomach and intestines.