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Coping With Diarrhea Related to Chemotherapy
Tips to Help Control Diarrhea
- Drink 8-12 cups of clear fluids a day. This will help replace fluids you have lost through diarrhea. Clear liquids, such clear broth, sports drinks such as Gatorade, or ginger ale, are best. If these drinks make you feel nauseous, try diluting them with water. Drink slowly and make sure drinks are at room temperature. Let carbonated drinks lose their fizz before you drink them. You can also try oral rehydration solutions (adults) or Pedialyte (children).
- Ask your doctor if you should try a clear liquid diet to give your bowels time to rest. A clear liquid diet does not provide all the nutrients you need, so only stay on this diet for the time highlighted by your doctor.
- Eat five or six small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals.
Include certain foods in your diet, such as:
- Eat low-fiber foods—Low-fiber foods include white bread, white rice or noodles, creamed cereals, ripe bananas, canned or cooked fruit without skins, cottage cheese, yogurt without seeds, eggs, mashed or baked potatoes without the skin, pureed vegetables, chicken, or turkey without the skin, and fish.
Avoid certain foods or drinks, such as:
- Foods that cause gas, such as dried beans, cabbage, broccoli, and soy products
- High-fiber foods, which can lead to diarrhea and cramping. such as whole grain breads and cereals, raw vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, popcorn, fresh and dried fruit
- Milk and milk products, including ice cream
- Fried, greasy, or spicy foods
- Hot or very cold liquids
- Tea with caffeine
- To ease irritation, use moistened wipes or water to clean yourself after bowel movements
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov
BC Cancer Agency http://www.bccancer.bc.ca
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Chemotherapy and you. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/chemotherapy-and-you.pdf. Accessed March 7, 2014.
Understanding chemotherapy: A guide for patients and families. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003025-pdf.pdf. Accessed March 7, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014
- Update Date: 03/07/2014