Conventional Cancer Treatments such as Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy unfortunately generally come with a variety of not-so-nice side effects, such as diarrhoea, one of the more dangerous side effects.
Diarrhoea can not only be painful, but it also removes important nutrients, probiotics, and water from the body. As a result, diarrhoea puts one at a higher risk for more trauma from infection and dehydration.
It is important to manage these side effects immediately to prevent further complications that will weaken your body. The best way to heal is to ensure that you eat only healthy foods and avoid problematic foods that are going to worsen your diarrhoea.
Common Causes of Diarrhoea
- Chemotherapy generally kills the fast-growing cells in your GI tract, and this often causes diarrhoea. Chemotherapy drugs can also result in diarrhoea as a side-effect.
2.Radiation Treatments that are targeted at your pelvis, abdomen, or lower back often trigger diarrhoea. This is because radiation damages the cells lining your gut. This can persist for months or years after treatment and can lead to serious health issues.
3. Stem Cell Treatments can trigger diarrhoea if the cells are rejected from the body if it is a donor that supplies the stem cells. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments that accompany stem cell transplants can also irritate the gastrointestinal tract.
4. Cancers such as Lymphoma, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, and neuroendocrine cancers all affect the gut and can result in diarrhoea. The duration of the symptoms depends on the specific cancer involved.
5. Infections are common after chemotherapy and radiation therapy because the billions of microorganisms that live in the gut to aid in digestion and fight pathogens get destroyed. Antibiotics also kill good gut bacteria making you susceptible to infection. It is therefore important to replenish the gastrointestinal tract with probiotics.
6. The Ileocecal Valve is a muscle that closes off the two parts of the intestines to prevent the mixing of substances, and is located between the small and large intestines. It can be irritated by stress and anxiety or too much fibrous food. The valve can get “stuck in the open position” resulting in diarrhoea.
Home Remedies for Diarrhoea
Some of the home remedies for diarrhoea include modifying your diet to reduce fiber, spicy foods, and caffeinated drinks/foods.
If your ileocecal valve is open, you can apply a cold pack to the area. It is located halfway between the belly button and right hip. Keep the cold pack on for 20 minutes.
According to Dr. David Williams you can also try holding the valve shut for several minutes by placing your hand over the valve and while pushing in, pull up toward the left shoulder. Or you can alternate using a cold pack and holding the valve shut.
Dr. Williams also recommends the valve holding technique to anyone suffering from traveller’s diarrhoea.
There are also specific foods that help alleviate diarrhoea that you can add to your daily menu until you recover from cancer therapy. These foods include:
- Liquids: water with lemon juice and sea salt, strained apple juice, and strained broths. You will need at least 10-12 glasses per day depending on the severity of the diarrhoea. This will prevent dehydration and maintain your electrolyte balance.
- Bananas, apricots, avocados, and sweet potatoes are high in potassium and are important for many functions in the body. Potassium is lost during diarrhoea so it is important to replace it.
- Fermented foods will help to restore probiotics in your gut. Avoid dairy products like ice-cream and milk, but whole milk live culture yoghurt is beneficial − especially if you can get it unpasteurized. Also, sauerkraut and dill pickles will restore probiotics − especially if you make your own.
- Fresh (organic) apples and pears are also helpful to stop diarrhoea. Both of these fruits can relieve constipation and control diarrhoea. They are very special and contain many healthy nutrients to increase your energy while building your immune system.