Advice for After Colon Resection?

Advice for After Colon Resection?

Posted in the Diverticulitis Forum

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Joy

United States

#1 Jan 9, 2009
Hi All, I am just a month after my colon resection. I has about 12" of my sigmoid colon removed laparascopically. All my incisions have healed beautifully. My problem is I feel horrible much of the time and am having 10+ bms per day. This is not diarhea, just small soft stools. I have become lactose intolerant since the surgery and can only eat very small amounts. I have several days at a time that I have a lot of gas, stomach gas pains, mild nausea, acid indegestions etc. I did not have these problems before my surgery. I would just like some reassurance that this is not a permanent problem but to be expected after the surgery? I cannot go very far from a bathroom right now so am still working from home... also I tire very easily. Can some of you that had the surgery several months ago... or longer... let me know if you experienced this and how long you think it took to feel completely better and have a normal diet? Thanks for you help and advice, Joy
mark

Saint Paul, MN

#2 Jan 10, 2009
Joy at my 5th and sixth week my stomach had lots of gas and would not stop making noises. There was alot of excess gas and I was not hungry for some reason. My bowel movements have been pretty normal through the whole thing. I still have som e lingering pain after a movement. I had a takedown and it took close to 5-6 weeks for my incision to close up. My eating is pretty much back to normal I am at 2 months post op now
Chris

Amity, AR

#3 Feb 28, 2009
I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in my colon and had a colon resection about a year ago. At the time I was 36 years old. I had problems before the surgery having a decent bowel movement, it was always small pieces and I never felt like I expelled everything. The surgery went as well as can be expected I guess, however I Still do not have decent bowel movements. I'm past due for another colonoscopy. Guess I'll find out soon if another tumor/polyp is still blocking my colon. The doctor/surgeons didn't seem to be much help answering my questions about whether things are normal...maybe things are different for everyone. But as for myself, I have way worse heartburn and worse problems trying to deficate. This is embarrassing to talk about, but maybe it will help someone, or they can help me! Thanks.
Joy

United States

#4 Mar 1, 2009
Hi All, I started this string and just wanted everyone to know that I have improved immensely (now at 11 weeks post surgery). Only 2 or 3 bms a day now and can tolerate a lot more foods. Still can't eat cheese and occasionally react to foods when I eat out but I am not sure what causes it! So I guess I can answer my question above that, for me, it was not permananent happily :-) Chris, I am sorry to hear that you are still suffering a year after your surgery. I hope that you feel better soon, Joy
PAKaren

Greensburg, PA

#5 Mar 4, 2009
Joy wrote:
Hi All, I started this string and just wanted everyone to know that I have improved immensely (now at 11 weeks post surgery). Only 2 or 3 bms a day now and can tolerate a lot more foods. Still can't eat cheese and occasionally react to foods when I eat out but I am not sure what causes it! So I guess I can answer my question above that, for me, it was not permananent happily :-) Chris, I am sorry to hear that you are still suffering a year after your surgery. I hope that you feel better soon, Joy
Joy,
Glad all is better! I had a colon resection 2 years ago and experienced the gas and frequent BM`s. I too thought that i was lactose intolerant and that food was triggering it. Turns out that when i went in for my 9 month follow-up colonoscopy.... there was a significant narrowing at the site of the resection. The doctor "stretched" the area with a balloon during the colonoscopy procedure (i was none the wiser). I am happy to report that the very next day i had tremendous relief from the gas and frequent BM`s. I wasn`t lactose intolerant at all!!! My advise is to make sure that you keep up with any follow-up colonoscopies because possibly your symptoms are not food related and possibly your colon has simply narrowed as well.
Joy

United States

#6 Mar 4, 2009
Thanks Pakaren, That is very good information. If I continue to have problems I will definitely follow up with my Surgeon (who has always done my colonoscopies in the past). Chris, this may also be very useful information for you too! Thanks again for posting Pakaren :-)
Fern

AOL

#7 Mar 5, 2009
Chris wrote:
I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in my colon and had a colon resection about a year ago. At the time I was 36 years old. I had problems before the surgery having a decent bowel movement, it was always small pieces and I never felt like I expelled everything. The surgery went as well as can be expected I guess, however I Still do not have decent bowel movements. I'm past due for another colonoscopy. Guess I'll find out soon if another tumor/polyp is still blocking my colon. The doctor/surgeons didn't seem to be much help answering my questions about whether things are normal...maybe things are different for everyone. But as for myself, I have way worse heartburn and worse problems trying to deficate. This is embarrassing to talk about, but maybe it will help someone, or they can help me! Thanks.
Hi Chris
I had colon resection 2 yrs. ago and have a lot of problems which I did not have before like, gas, bloating, nausea, and now pain under right rib. I use to have up to 15 bowel movements (no diarrhea) a day but that is the only thing that has gotten better, all the rest has gotten a lot worst over the 2 yrs. I have not found a doctor that can tell me what is causing these problems. I did find that vinegar in peppermint tea helped some with the problems but is not working as well as it did. The doctors do not seem to tell you of any problems that might happen after surgery. My doctor told me she never heard of anyone having these problems after surgery. Good luck, Fern
Fern

AOL

#8 Mar 5, 2009
Joy wrote:
Hi All, I am just a month after my colon resection. I has about 12" of my sigmoid colon removed laparascopically. All my incisions have healed beautifully. My problem is I feel horrible much of the time and am having 10+ bms per day. This is not diarhea, just small soft stools. I have become lactose intolerant since the surgery and can only eat very small amounts. I have several days at a time that I have a lot of gas, stomach gas pains, mild nausea, acid indegestions etc. I did not have these problems before my surgery. I would just like some reassurance that this is not a permanent problem but to be expected after the surgery? I cannot go very far from a bathroom right now so am still working from home... also I tire very easily. Can some of you that had the surgery several months ago... or longer... let me know if you experienced this and how long you think it took to feel completely better and have a normal diet? Thanks for you help and advice, Joy
Hi Joy; I just read yours and it sounds just like I felt right after my surgery. It has been two yrs. since my surgery and all the rest of my problems has gotten a lot worst except the last month the bowel movements has gotten better down to one or two a day from around 15 a day but them I am mostly on a liquid diet so not much to pass. I can't find a doctor that can tell me what is causing this problem. Anything I put in my mouth even water goes to gas. I feel the gas is causing this. It is like I am not digesting thing right. If I didn't eat things would be pretty good. Let me know if you ever find out what is causing this. It really put my life on hold. Fern
Amy F

Salt Lake City, UT

#9 Mar 5, 2009
Hello all,
I am about 3 months post colon re-section and had about 14" removed. I had a new infection in another section of my colon a month after my surgery which was really disheartening but have not had any other attacks since. I am finally feeling like I have a lot more energy now but I get tired in the late afternoon and evening. I am back to normal as far as BM's, my surgeon said I should expect diarrhea for months but I have lucked out with hardly any. I do get heartburn now which I did not have before and spicy food and greasy food give me trouble but overall I can eat regular meals but I do eat a lot less than before. I hope this helps, I am happy to answer any other questions. I have a really good surgeon who lives close to our house and is always available for calls and questions. He is very pro-active.
Joy

United States

#10 Mar 5, 2009
Fern wrote:
<quoted text>
Hi Joy; I just read yours and it sounds just like I felt right after my surgery. It has been two yrs. since my surgery and all the rest of my problems has gotten a lot worst except the last month the bowel movements has gotten better down to one or two a day from around 15 a day but them I am mostly on a liquid diet so not much to pass. I can't find a doctor that can tell me what is causing this problem. Anything I put in my mouth even water goes to gas. I feel the gas is causing this. It is like I am not digesting thing right. If I didn't eat things would be pretty good. Let me know if you ever find out what is causing this. It really put my life on hold. Fern
Hi Fern, I am almost 3 months post surgery now and am doing much better although I can still only tolerate fairly bland food or I produce too much gas. Also I can't seem to eat cheese anymore which is very frustrating. I have to avoid high fibre cereals and don't seem to do very well if I eat oatmeal. Still, compared to what you are clearly having to put up with I am very healthy! Not sure what to suggest... I started with a couple of "safe" foods... Like plain ham sandwiches with just butter, mash potatoes, chicken breast, cooked carrots, crackers, fibre 1 oatmeal and chocolate (delicious) bars, lactose free milk, eggs, bread, peanut butter, tea.... I know I do well on those foods. I gently introduced a few others, one at a time, and only when I didn't have to go anywhere, and have a decent range of foods now. But I still can't eat spicy foods, pizza, high fibre veggies (like cabbage), high fibre cereals (except in very small portions) etc. Not sure if that will help you but it is an approach that helped me. I also found that eating out was dangerous for me... even if I chose "safe" foods I sometimes would get severe gas, sometimes in my tummy, sometimes in my colon. When that happens I usually take a Gas X and a gravol and go to bed! Basically I stopped eating out much because it isn't worth it! I hope you start to feel better soon. I think sometimes the more things you try based on various doctors and other peoples advice the worse you feel! I just went back to basics and am doing pretty well. I do eat very small meals and snacks and make sure I do not overeat at any time and drink lots of liquids (tea, occasional coffee, water, very little juice). Good Luck, hope this helps, Joy
Kat

Aurora, CO

#11 Mar 10, 2009
I had surgery/colorectal resection right before Christmas - so three months ago - tumor removed from anal canal - I think about 10 inches removed so rectum shorter. I find that I am very gassy when I eat and there is occasional leakage (embarrassing!!). Also my bowels are much more active at night - which can be a drag if you keep getting up. It is very disheartening as I thought I would heal and get better but things have gotten somewhat worse. I will get the Gas X that was mentioned and try eating smaller meals. If anyone finds something that works really well, please post it!
Nate

Dallas, TX

#12 Apr 17, 2009
Hello All,

Wow... reading all of your stories makes me feel both fortunate and silly, as my issues seem to be far less than most. My resection was 6 months ago and I suffered with the same general issues as others described. I have also found safe foods that I prefer to stick with, and avoid others and especially those high in fibre. For example, eating a vegetable salad (love them) is diarrhea waiting to happen, and literally within minutes.(embarassing) My bowles alsl make strange sounds (on regular basis) that can also be quite embrassing. I also continue to have periodic pains in my colon where he (my surgeon)removed scar tissue from previous diverticulitus attacks, and of course, at the site of my incision (had about 8" of sigmoid removed). Sometimes I just feel sorry for my self, but hearing all of your stories, bravery and innovative ways of dealing with your issues really helped me to put it all into perspective.

One last point, and especially to Fern, is that if you still have the same symptoms (or worse) as before your surgery, sit and think about (jot down) things you went right back to doing post-op and after your began to recover. Such as, foods, beverages, medicines, etc. My point is, after another attack, I discovered that my intial problem now appears to be linked with the water supply at work. Whether it be, ice, cold water, hot water, all sources of water at work (I suspect a type of bacteria my system dosen't tolerate well), with the exception of vending machine beverages, seem to bring on attacks and/or symptoms. In fact, it led me to believe that if I would have realized this before I may not have needed the surgery. In any case, just be mindful of your fluid and food intake and it's source.

I wish you all good health and fortune!

Regards,
Nate
Joy

United States

#13 Apr 18, 2009
Thanks Nate, That was very interesting information! I seem to be mostly under control but had a bad bout last week after eating nothing unusual... terrible gas pressure all night (no sleep after going to the bathroom about a dozen times). I always felt that i had problems after eating chicken at some restaurants before my surgery... and this was after eating chicken! I also wonder about bacteria although this is not diverticulitis, just ugly gas and a little nausea which lasted about 16 hours! Not fun because I don;'t know how to avoid it (I eat a lot of chicken and it only happens sometimes) or maybe it isn't the chicken, who knows? Anyway, thanks for sharing :-) Joy
tom

Detroit, MI

#14 Apr 19, 2009
Chris wrote:
I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in my colon and had a colon resection about a year ago. At the time I was 36 years old. I had problems before the surgery having a decent bowel movement, it was always small pieces and I never felt like I expelled everything. The surgery went as well as can be expected I guess, however I Still do not have decent bowel movements. I'm past due for another colonoscopy. Guess I'll find out soon if another tumor/polyp is still blocking my colon. The doctor/surgeons didn't seem to be much help answering my questions about whether things are normal...maybe things are different for everyone. But as for myself, I have way worse heartburn and worse problems trying to deficate. This is embarrassing to talk about, but maybe it will help someone, or they can help me! Thanks.
I never went back to normal bowel movements after 20 years from having my 12 inches removed.

Get a colonoscopy. I had had a tumor form 7 months after my last colonoscopy. Thats how fast they can come back. You could wait though and risk death from colon cancer. Its a very slow killer.
tom

Detroit, MI

#15 Apr 19, 2009
Kat wrote:
I had surgery/colorectal resection right before Christmas - so three months ago - tumor removed from anal canal - I think about 10 inches removed so rectum shorter. I find that I am very gassy when I eat and there is occasional leakage (embarrassing!!). Also my bowels are much more active at night - which can be a drag if you keep getting up. It is very disheartening as I thought I would heal and get better but things have gotten somewhat worse. I will get the Gas X that was mentioned and try eating smaller meals. If anyone finds something that works really well, please post it!
I have had 2 resections. Took me close to a year to get normal movements. Of course "normal" is now different because of your shortened colon.
Be patient, it takes the body a long time to readjust and 3 months is far to early. In the meantime do what works for you until your body
readjusts.
tom

Detroit, MI

#16 Apr 19, 2009
Fern wrote:
<quoted text>
Hi Chris
I had colon resection 2 yrs. ago and have a lot of problems which I did not have before like, gas, bloating, nausea, and now pain under right rib. I use to have up to 15 bowel movements (no diarrhea) a day but that is the only thing that has gotten better, all the rest has gotten a lot worst over the 2 yrs. I have not found a doctor that can tell me what is causing these problems. I did find that vinegar in peppermint tea helped some with the problems but is not working as well as it did. The doctors do not seem to tell you of any problems that might happen after surgery. My doctor told me she never heard of anyone having these problems after surgery. Good luck, Fern
Get the colonoscopy now . Tumors can come back in 6 months like it did on me. Colonoscopy is always
your first line of defense to stay alive and your doctors first line of analysis of your problems.
rocknroll54

Roseville, CA

#17 Apr 23, 2009
I googled to find this forum because I had a colon resection 7 weeks ago and I wanted to see what others have experienced. I have had diverticulitis for several years. I was admitted to the hospital Dec 2008 with the worst attack I ever had and after a CT scan they told me I had an abscess in my colon. After 5 days in the hospital on antibiotics and a drain tube draining the abscess for 2 weeks I felt better but was told I needed surgery. I had a colonoscopy and then had the surgery on Feb 27,2009 and they removed 14 inches of colon. I was up and walking the next day and went back to work after 5 weeks. I feel better than I have in years and have gradually introduced all the formally forbidden food back into my diet. The only problem I have now is I seem to have a lot of gas. It doesn't hurt: I just have to fart a lot. I find myself going outside at work just to get away from my co-workers to pass the gas. I also have like 5-6 bowel movements a day. I'm glad I had the surgery because the pain is gone but I wonder if my current condition is permanent.
Joy

United States

#18 Apr 24, 2009
Hi R&R54, I am almost 5 months post colon resection and I would have to say that I still suffer with a lot of gas after certain foods.... but i am not entirely sure what causes it because it usually happens if I eat out. I think I have become lactose intolerant since my surgery so have switched to lactose free milk and less cheese. I also so have frequent bms, some days as many as 5 or 6 but not always! I can say that I have been gradually improving and able to eat a lot more fibre without having these problems so I think it is getting better for sure! I have heard some people say it takes a year or two to properly adjust so let's hope :-) Eiterh way this is immensely better than the diverticulitis! Joy
rocknroll54

Roseville, CA

#19 Apr 25, 2009
Thank you for the reply Joy. I guess I will just have to be patient and the doctor did tell me it could take several months for my body to adjust. And you are right... this is better than the diverticulitis which was having a large effect on my quality of life. I got real tired of I can't eat that or worrying about every little gas pain or stomach cramp. I have slowly introduced many foods back into my diet since the surgery and nothing seems to make me feel any better or worse so I'll just be patient and see what time does.
Peter

Storrs Mansfield, CT

#20 Apr 25, 2009
rocknroll54 wrote:
Thank you for the reply Joy. I guess I will just have to be patient and the doctor did tell me it could take several months for my body to adjust. And you are right... this is better than the diverticulitis which was having a large effect on my quality of life. I got real tired of I can't eat that or worrying about every little gas pain or stomach cramp. I have slowly introduced many foods back into my diet since the surgery and nothing seems to make me feel any better or worse so I'll just be patient and see what time does.
Hi Rocknroll54,

I'm almost 2 months post surgery,(Lap. March 2), and I am doing and feeling great. I've introduced all foods back into my diet with no ill effects. I don't have the gas that Joy describes, just normal amounts (to my wifes chagrin...). Everybody's different, which I've learned from reading these posts, I'm amazed at the diversity of results from people who have had the surgery. Take it one day at a time and eat small portions; that helped me alot at first.

Good luck

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